Many of you who have been following our blog will know that as of our last communication from Cape Town, ‘No Longer Slaves to Fear’, Lorna had been through surgery for breast cancer and we were awaiting the results of a genetic test. Unfortunately, the test eventually indicated that Lorna is ‘high risk’ for return of the cancer and this resulted in chemotherapy being recommended by the oncologists. We decided that return to Scotland to be with family for Lorna to face this challenging time was the wisest course of action. Lorna returned to Glasgow at short notice in the middle of July in time for her first appointment at the Beatson Centre, with Don following a week or so later.
The transfer of medical oversight went very smoothly, and Lorna started a 4-cycle course of preventative chemotherapy on the 27th of July. Despite all the expected and unwelcome side-effects, this appeared well underway when, at the second treatment Lorna had a rapid and severe but temporary allergic reaction to one of the drugs being administered. This has resulted in an alternative drug being prescribed. However to be fully effective, six weeks in to the original twelve week course, Lorna has had to start the 4 cycles of treatment again! With the radiotherapy following on, this now severely challenges our intention to return to Cape Town in mid-January, with the prospect that Lorna will feel unwell for much longer.
Prior to all this going on, Lorna was able to remain in Cape Town until the team of young people from our church, Bearsden Baptist in Glasgow, had visited to run the holiday club at Khanyisa. Their main purpose was to train the local teenagers there to hopefully be more involved running and organising their own holiday clubs in future. This was a challenging and intensive week with about 150 children in the morning sessions, 80 teenagers in the afternoons, over 200 fed at lunchtime and as if that wasn’t enough, de-briefing sessions in the evening. It was a challenging experience, but the response from the young people at Khanyisa was very encouraging and made a return trip quite likely in the future. The more relaxed conclusion of that week was a pretty informal, but enthusiastic, ceilidh at Connect Church with a very mixed group including many of our friends and colleagues. We taught the locals how to ceilidh dance and they taught us “sokkie” an Afrikaans dance style and we really enjoyed a warrior dance from a group of young girls from Sweet Home Farm. It really was an evening of cultural fusion enthusiastically enjoyed by all.
Exciting things continue to happen in our absence reminding us it was never about us! Classes continue to turn out enthusiastic graduates on the computer course at Khanyisa. There are two exciting developments starting through church contacts in Cape Town. Firstly the sewing enterprise ladies have their first opportunity to showcase and sell their products commercially at a market stall in Kirstenbosch Gardens and secondly, a co-operation has commenced between NewDay United and Imandi Developments to support an entrepreneur baker from the community with a new oven with which to develop his business.
At Sweet Home Farm things have been more challenging lately as the first major phase of the road and services contract struggles to complete through a dense area of shacks. This is testing both the community members and the leadership as decisions are made affecting how people who need to move to facilitate roads are relocated. On a more positive note, the UBU team are active in manufacturing frames and sandbags as the build of a beach house for a paying customer commences, providing much needed employment for our team. This is the first of a few ‘micro’ projects, which will also eventually include an Early Child Development centre at Khayelitsha and the Community Hall at Sweet Home Farm, building experience and knowledge in the team.
We reported that the funding has pretty much all been raised for the Community Hall in our last blog but it is true to say that the speed with which money was raised has caught out the process of briefing and design within the community which is still at a very early stage, particularly given the disruption currently being caused by the road works. We hope to report more on this soon.
As for us, we continue to try and input assistance when able over the considerable distance and keep in touch and up to date as much as possible. Lorna has been able to participate in the weekly team call and Don is in regular touch with the UBU team. We simply must hold to the truth that the work going on there is far from dependant on our involvement. Our current focus must be on Lorna getting through her treatment successfully and making ourselves available for a return to South Africa as soon as is wise. We have realised more than ever before that God’s plans are not our plans, and His wisdom is not our wisdom. Ultimately, trust and total reliance on Him is all there is!
‘In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.’
Proverbs 16: 9 (NIV)