June, and it’s now Winter in Cape Town! No big deal, you may think, you’re in Africa, but for those of you used to cool or freezing nights in Scotland, give thanks for your heated houses.
We have been saying to each other that it’s high time we issued another update and looking back on the last one we realise that it has been 3 months since it was sent. But time is flying past with lots happening and both of us have been busy in our workplaces.
There is so much to share but we will try to give you a little bit of information on everything!!!
We had a great time in March with Alison and John who made the long journey from Glasgow to see us. Their visit coincided with a long weekend which gave us the opportunity to travel to a game farm, wine tasting and an outdoor concert, not to mention several braais. They were able to visit both Khanyisa and Sweet Home Farm to meet our colleagues and get a better understanding of the work we are involved in.
NewDay United continues to grow and develop educational programmes at Khanyisa Church and Lorna has been able to fit back into the team with ease as her energy and general fitness has continued to improve. There have been several highlights in the last few months, one was a 2-day course for teenagers aiming to help them be confident in their sexuality and empowering them to make informed choices about sex. The other was a 12-day job-readiness course, called ‘Work 4 A Living’, which will be repeated on a monthly basis. This challenged the learners to understand the skills required for employment and enterprise in order to support themselves and their family.
Lorna also continues to support the Hluma children on a weekly basis by providing a focus in life skills, health education and discipleship. The library has at last been completed and the books brought out by the team from Bearsden Baptist Church last year are now being enjoyed by the children. Katie Morag adventures are a particular favourite, it is only a coincidence that they are one of Lorna’s favourites too.
A new and exciting development and an answer to prayer is the potential for Lorna to commence the wellness clinic in Khanyisa together with two local ladies who have nursing training and have expressed real interest.
At Sweet Home Farm, however, even since before we returned to South Africa in January, there have been many dark days. It seems that a very small minority of young men involved in gangs have reacted badly to the improving access, by virtue of new roads, for police and other services. What should be seen as a dawning of light in the community has become a huge increase in violence and fatalities, targeted at community leaders and those who oppose the gangs. More recently, people at high risk of attack have, hopefully temporarily, left the community, including Siya and Nobonke, the leader and his wife. As far as UBU is concerned it has meant lack of access to our base at the Process House for manufacturing and meetings for safety reasons. Only a couple of days ago, UBU left Sweet Home Farm for the foreseeable future, with all our equipment, in order to continue functioning elsewhere. As for Lorna and NewDay, it has meant that the development of a much-awaited health programme, which had only just got started, will have to wait for better times.
Not least, it goes without saying that the Community Hall project at Sweet Home Farm remains on hold for now.
Despite all this, UBU has remained busy on other fronts, principally in Mshini Wam in the North of Cape Town. The Technical Team there, having done extensive research, settled on sandbag technology for a pilot project intended to build 15 or so new homes, funded by the Western Cape Government. While preparing for this with workshops and costings, two shacks there burned to the ground, and UBU were asked to initially concentrate efforts on rebuilding these as a two-storey demonstration project. Only Six or seven weeks later we are complete, and the occupants have moved in. The pressure is now on to review that project and scale up to move on to a larger cluster of new housing.
There is so much more we could say as this last period has been pretty much full on with no respite, but we are now looking forward to a short break in Scotland to spend lots of time with our grandchildren and wider family. Facetime is amazing and we don’t know how we would cope without it…but it doesn’t do hugs!
‘Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fuelled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.’
Romans 12:11-12 (The Message)