Thursday, May 14, 2009

Good News!

Winter has arrived and with it the cold and flu season. We are giving alot more food out this winter than last thanks to an increased contribution from a donor. I enjoy the winter much more than the summer, but that is because there are no leaks in my roof. Many many people here have water coming into their shack, it is close to impossible to stay warm when you are wet. I am hoping that some of the teams that come out to help this winter can water proof shacks for us.

If you have not heard, I have purchased a car!!! And it has truly changed my life in many positive ways. I am able to help in many difficult circumstances and seem to be using it daily to help individuals and families in the community. It, of course, helps me as well. Because I live in the same community I work in, getting a real break is very difficult. Having the car lets me participate in church stuff, dinner with friends and has generally made life much easier than it has been. Having the freedom to go to the beach on Saturday or the doctor any time I need to. There are thousands of ways that it has and will help me and others. I am excited that people feel free to request things from me when they need them, this shows that they are comfortable with me and I am really grateful to have the means to help them in this way.

The work here is still eternal, in more ways than one : ). We are going to open a safe house for teen girls the first week of July. This is very very exciting. As you know I have experience working with teen girls in difficult circumstances and have wanted to see this happen in Kayamandi for more than a year. The home that opens in July can accommodate six girls. It will be the first of six homes to be built here to give shelter to children and youth that have no other alternative. We have been working closely with Child Welfare and liaised with other more experienced organizations to ensure that the set-up of the homes is done well and according to government regulations. With the help of child welfare and our own program managers we have found four girls for the house as well as safe temporary placement for them until we are ready to move them in. We have also secured a special caregiver for the girls. I have had the opportunity to work closely with three of the four girls and hope to continue to build a relationship of trust with all the girls who we have in the home.

In addition to other projects, I am currently writing up the policy and procedures for the safe house as well as behavior agreements/contracts for the girls and job description for the caregiver. Things are always busy and there is never enough time, but I continue to enjoy what I do, rain or shine and am grateful to be a part of the lives of these people and to have them a part of mine.

New Happenings

This was written at the begining of April, but I could not get it to post!! So here it is...

Just a brief update regarding what we have been up to at Kuyasa in the last few weeks. Most of you know that I was given the opportunity to go home and visit as well as speak at the Women’s retreat and Bible study in February. From this ministry and time of connection there have been approximately 720 Bibles donated for youth attending Kuyasa programs.

This has been a very special gift to the youth here. Many have never had the opportunity to own their own Bibles. Bibles are considered books for adults only and a child or young person is considered ridiculous and thinking too highly of him or herself if they are wanting a Bible of their own. Bibles are used primarily by pastor’s but some “spiritual men and women have them. Some of the kids are hiding their Bibles so they are not ridiculed in their home, but they are so glad to have them.

We have been running summer camp here in April, the last few weeks of the hot season. The kids are out of school for the Easter holiday and we have had up to 300 per day on site for games, food, art and craft projects, dramas and puppet shows. It has been a mad and crazy fun filled time! Our new sports fields are also under construction ( not the best mix with so many children!) we have poured the cement for the new basketball court and are excited to open things up soon and get as many youth here making use of them as possible.

We have found a new assistant for Pumla with the sponsorship program and are making quick headway on the development and administrative details regarding the Safe House for teenage girls that will open in the first week of July. We have a strong candidate for the house mother position but are still really struggling to find funding to pay her. We have the house, land and construction paid for (donated) and there is a great need for girls to have a safe place to stay, but without a caregiver we will be unable to open. Please pray that we will find the right girls, that are truly in need and that our partnership with the child welfare department will continue to improve.