A Girl With No Name
Today we had an in-depth tour of the Maubane Community Center we were at yesterday for children’s church. The community center started with Pastor Norman and a small tent. Ten children originally attended. Along the way Pastor Norman has moved from the tent to a building, a home and then finally to the grounds the community center is on now. And through it all he took 22 orphans off the street (at different times over the years) and raised them as his own sons and daughters. We asked him his vision for the property, and his response was he has a vision to transform the community.
One of his sons, Terry, currently helps at the community center leading singing, playing piano, helping with the kids, digging ditches—doing whatever is needed! When we asked him what his vision is for his life is, his response was that he wants to transform people. For many of us advocates, it begged the question, how many people do we know who would have that same answer?
One of the first things they added to the property in the past few years was the playground that Lisa Jo Baker had the vision for!
They also installed two toilets on the property. The Take Action team did a lot of research to get something that would be efficient and not cause more work or problems for the community. The team chose to install the Enviro Loo which creates stabilized waste that is odorless and free of any health hazard. And you don’t have to empty it – ever! They have a pretty neat how it works video and explanation on their website!
The basketball court is used for both basketball and netball. Netball is a version of ultimate frisbee and basketball. The girls netball team is becoming really good and it is a great way to get girls participating in the community center, plus it keeps them off the streets.
The ECD (Early Childhood Development) Center is in the process of being built. As soon as they finish the building, they can start receiving grants based on how many kids are learning there. Once the building is completed, they can also get stipends for caregivers, about $1.60/day/child support, and even receive teacher training and other furnishing necessities like chairs and fire extinguishers.
When we were in the building they asked us to imagine their vision as they mapped out where the kitchen would be (to make the porridge I showed you yesterday), the pantry (to store the bags of pooridge), a roll-up window where they can serve the food, and a large open area for the learning center.
To give you an idea of the numbers, they need $35,000 to complete the building, and $12,500 to purchase the furnishings including cubbies, chairs, etc.
Currently they are using a small room to get an ECD class started. As we talked about yesterday, it wouldn’t be good in their culture to give anything out for free, so the class has started with about a dozen kids who pay $15/month. Parents who send their small children to other daycares, if they would send them at all, pay $20-40/month.
Linah and Letty are the teachers. Linah lives about a 5 minute walk away from the community center and has two children of her own. Neither of the ladies have any training, but are being trained by the Take Action team slowly, and were asked to be teachers based off of their involvement in the children’s church and how their heart for the children is already showing there.
The team is really impressed with the ladies. Every time they are given a note of improvement on what they are doing, they have put it into action the next time the Take Action team comes back to visit! For instance, last time Take Action visited they asked the ladies to get down on the floor and do puzzles and play with the kids. Today when we peeked in the classroom, that’s exactly what they were doing!
(South Africans don’t naturally stimulate their kids, so this is a process of transformation that Take Action has a vision to help them with!)
Each member of the advocacy team a little gift box to give each of the children. I gave my box to a sweet little girl and helped her open it. The teacher later told us that this little girl had just showed up to the class this morning. They didn’t even know her name or where she came from, but they took her in as part of the group for today. We were able to determine that her name is Dineo (pronounced ‘deh-nay-o’). They will find out later who her parents are.
After we left the community center in Maubane we headed to the Take Action Distribution Center. This is where they receive all the items that are passed their sell-by-date from the grocery stores, the bags of pooridge they distribute to all the different communities like Maubane and more.
Here’s a quick and neat God story for you! The center received a fridge donation a few months ago after stating their needs in a business meeting. A few weeks later, the center was asked if they could use even more grocery store donations. Yes of course they would take them!!! That very next morning, without anyone else even knowing about their sudden increase in donations and need for more refrigerator space, that same local business called them and said they had another fridge they weren’t using. God at work!
We had planned to enjoy our evening at a nearby game reserve, and on the way there we saw these alongside the road! Then we had dinner just before the safari tour and found these roaming the grounds!
I learned so many interesting facts about the animals on our safari, like how it takes 4-5 lions to kill a buffalo, but you can probably look up those fun facts online. And since it is 11pm here and I need some sleep (we are 6 hours ahead of you in EST), we’ll keep the facts short. Perhaps when I get home I can write a post on the blog with some of those details and the photos I took with the telephoto lens!
Just to keep you excited, we saw elephants, giraffes, monkeys, zebras, buffalo, impalas and more!
Pssss…Crystal shared a video of the elephants on her instagram. My video didn’t turn out so well because I kinda dropped the phone as it got close to our jeep and we weren’t sure if it was going to charge us or not! 🙂 You can see my jeep in the background at the end of the video clip.
South African Words I Learned Today
“buck – ee” – pickup truck (in Afrikans)
“robot” – traffic light (in Afrikans)
FYI: I am not going to try to spell the actual word in their language!
Just pronounce it like I wrote it above, and you got it! 🙂