Winter has arrived here in Cape Town with storms and rain. After several years of drought, it is good that the dams are filling up again and most of the water restrictions have been lifted. However, it does mean that there is significant flooding in the informal settlements as there is no adequate drainage or sewers. We currently have regular outages of electricity and no water for days at a time, but we have a wood burner so are kept cosy and dry and are acutely aware that we are a part of a small minority of this city who have these luxuries.
When we returned to Cape Town in January, we were hoping that some of the travel restrictions might be lifted by June so we could return to Glasgow to see our family but unfortunately, this is not going to be possible. The covid numbers although significantly less that the UK are increasing here, and we are now officially having a 3rd wave and many restrictions are back in place. We are both able to continue to work but no other socialising either indoors or outdoors, nightly curfew, alcohol ban and travel ban. The vaccine rollout has been very slow partly to do with the poor health systems in place but also there has been lots of false reporting and conspiracy theories which many people believe. To date less that 1% of the population have been fully vaccinated. We have both been able to register in the last week and are hopeful to receive an appointment soon as the vaccines roll out.
When we started this adventure in 2014, arriving in Cape Town in January 2017, we always thought that we would be here for 5 to 6 years. Our latest visa expires in 2022 and it was our intention to return to Glasgow in June/July 2022 for good. However, our dear friend and landlady Christine has made a particularly good decision for her personal circumstances and decided to sell the property which obviously includes our lovely room above the garage. The property sold very quickly but the entry date is not until end of this year. This made us reconsider our own plans and given that we will be back for Christmas and then to celebrate Don’s 60th in January we had decided that we will finish our time here at the end of this year when our current lease expires. We were both desperately sad to think about leaving but excited for the next chapter of the adventure, whatever that would look like.
Our path to come here was so clearly laid out by God and we have been praying that God would make the path back home as clear. And then, when we began to consider what we would do to support ourselves upon our return, a job opportunity jumped out at Don on LinkedIn, something he has not paid attention to for 5 years. The long story feels like yet another God-event in our lives, but the short story is that Don has secured an amazing post at Glasgow School of Art as a Project Manager for their Capital Works programme, starting in October. This is very fresh news so there is a lot to organise here as we seek to leave well, dispose of our accumulation of things, including Peaches, our adorable cat, and transition back to Scotland, with all the quarantine restrictions etc. to consider.
As all this has been happening, the programmes at NewDay United have been continuing, all be it, with Covid restrictions and there has been many exciting developments and partnership working. The local high school has opened the school playing field to allow all our after-school children access to play sport on a weekly basis. The local neighbourhood watch group have ensured the short walk from the church to the school is safe by escorting us and being a visible presence in the area. The school has also given us a large piece of unused ground to develop our Foodscaping project and we have been approached by community leaders who want to partner with us and will provide the labour through job creation schemes to help prepare the ground for planting vegetables. Lorna is delighted with the way the Foodscaping project has “grown” but it feels like the right time for her to step away and for NewDay to employ a local person, who understands the culture and multiple languages to liaise with the community and develop the project further.
As Don prepares to back away from UBU, the team find themselves in a season where they are actually juggling work with several projects underway and with more on the horizon. For the first time, UBU has a group manufacturing at the base, and others building on site at the same time. It seems that this is a real opportunity to consolidate and grow the sustainable social enterprise that they have been dreaming of.
It will be incredibly hard to leave our places in these groups and our relationships with these dedicated people but suffice to say that we will be keeping in touch with progress and offering the emotional and prayer support we can from a distance.
We are so thrilled that, our son, Mark and Cheryl recently got engaged and are delighted to welcome Cheryl officially into the “McLean Clan”….. and she is well up for the challenge.
The next couple of months are going to tough as we say farewell to our new friends-for-life, colleagues and adoptive family here but after the sadness we can look forward to the joy of being reunited with our growing family in 3D rather than 2D.
Papa and Gogo are coming home!
‘Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let your petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.’
Philipians 4: 6-8 (The Message)