So my last couple posts have been a little depressing. I don't want to give anyone the impression that we aren't still having a wonderful time here in SA, but it is hard to say good-bye. There are a lot of things that we won't be seeing again, for now. The Kolonnade mall, more specifically the Mugg and Bean where we spent a lot of time on-line, Temba Baptist Church, or any of the churches we've visited,
McDonalds's of Montana, where our kids made lots of friends and expended a lot of energy, the block yard. The list goes on and on. We've started saying good-bye to people as well. Tonight we went to TYB to say so long to Fetsie, who will be going back to school on Monday for the week. We are leaving tomorrow for Pilanesburg and won't get back until quite late in the day on Monday. That means we will have a lot of good-byes to make on Tuesday. TYB in the morning to play with the kids, one last trip out to Mama Catherine's in the afternoon, and we're planning on one more trip to Tamboti to say good-bye to Derrick and Pixie (and I need to have one more helping of Cape Malva Pudding!).
While we are starting to feel a bit sad about leaving, we aren't just sitting around and moping. We have been out to MC's a lot. I actually should call it by it's actual name, Tshwaraganang, which means Come Together. We went on Thursday morning, with one of the volunteers from TYB, to work on the shower and also look into other areas where we could be of assistance. Darin and my parents have been back there two other times to help out with some projects. There has been such a huge outpouring of support for Mama Catherine and the work that she is doing. My parents came with financial gifts from several friends, family, and church members. We were able to do so much with these generous donations. One concern that has been so heavy on MC's heart was that she did not have sufficient funds to buy uniforms for all of the children in her care. On several occasions she spoke of how she hurt because the children without uniforms could not go to school. Now those children will be able to go to school. MC was SO proud to show off the shoes, dresses, shirts, sweaters, pants and socks that she had purchased, all the right color and style that each school required. There were enough funds given for uniforms that MC is able to set some aside for the children who are too young to attend school this year, and also for those who will be going on to highschool next year. In addition to the uniforms, we were able to purchase a clothes washer, a refrigerator, a gas tank for cooking, new window glass to replace several windows that were broken, and two grocery cart loads of groceries. We also have given MC money to purchase a water tower (a huge need as they were without running water two of the days we were there), kitchen items, such as knives, cups, and kettles, and a few months worth of electricity and some gas for her truck. We are leaving some money with Mark Harding, who will be finding an electrician to bring power to ALL of the buildings on the property.
We are also excited that there are others who have expressed an interest in helping MC, both with ongoing financial needs and also with hands on interaction. On Tuesday afternoon, Bethuel's (from the block yard) wife, Julia, will be going with us to MC's. When we went to dinner with them on Tuesday night, we found out she is in the process of getting her social work degree. When she heard about what MC is doing, she was very excited because she has an interest in finding out what needs are in the community and what is being done to meet those needs. Both she and Bethuel were also excited because their church has been looking for an organization to get involved with in a more physical way. It would be great if MC could have more resources channeled her way, and I know that she will also make others aware of the greater needs in the entire community, not just at Tshwaraganang. Darin and Bethuel also talked about the possibility of using the Innotec blocks to build some more permanent structures at MC's.
We have also been going to to TYB to visit with the Hardings and play with the kids. Yesterday, Chris picked up a 4 month old baby, Lerato. She is the baby sister of Nozepho and Sibusiso, however, neither of them know she is their sister. She was thrown in the garbage by her mother when she was born, which was the reason the other two children were taken out of her care. For the last four months, Lerato has been in the hospital. I was able to hold her for a few minutes today and she is just the most precious little thing ever. Makes me miss having a baby! As soon as Jori saw me holding her, she came rushing over to say “My Mommy!”. She got over her sour mood very quickly when she saw I was holding a baby, and not one of the bigger kids. Then she wanted to hold the baby too.
Since my parents have been here, they have been taking the kids on lots of walks (don't worry, the rhino's haven't been spotted in this area, yet). They've gone over to Tamboti to collect porcupine quills and they've been out hunting for hornbills too. Tyson loves to go out with Grandma Willie and look for “bad guys”. I think they pretend to be police officers and the bad guys are breaking traffic rules. Today Grandma Karen was one of the “bad guys” who got pulled over for hitting a rhino and yesterday Grandpa Rick was driving too slow. They were both given a “ticket” by Tyson, one of the many leaves he collects along the way. I am not sure if he decided to throw you guys in jail or let you go! Today, he only gave me and Darin tickets, but Papa had to go to jail.
So, I just wanted to let everyone know we really are doing well. Sad about leaving, but still enjoying life in SA. Tomorrow morning we are heading out to Pilanesburg bright and early. We are hoping to see lots of animals and Tyson can't wait to go swimming. On Monday, we'll go for a game drive early in the morning and then stop by Chameleon Village for some shopping and I am really hoping we can stop at the elephant sanctuary to walk the elephants! Sorry for the lack of pictures lately. We'll try to get some up before we head to Cape Town, but you never know.