We have already completed the first quarter of this year and it went so quickly. There has been some exciting developments and we continue to see God’s hand even though there were also some disappointments. Two of our long standing children have re-located to different areas and we miss having them around. However we have admitted three new boys and they are adapting and fitting in well. We have also opened a residential facility and employed a lovely housemother and we have four boys sleeping over during the week and going home for the weekend. Two of these boys attend the Bulwer Special School and our facility has made it possible for them to access this facility. We will admit another three next term . This of course, is adding to our expenses but all along we have felt that with the facilities that we have at the Centre and with Eric our manager now living on the premises we could extend our service as there is a great need for this. But we will expand slowly as funds and staff and red tape allow. So far so good, though…
We continue to assist where we can in the community. Last year Sipho found a very ill lady, Joyce, in the community. She had suffered a stroke and was not being properly cared for. We were able to get someone in to assist her, by paying a small stipend and we sourced a bed and mattress and slowly but surely her condition has improved. We have brought her into the centre to see Philippa our dear volunteer Physio who visits us regularly and so a routine of exercises has been set up. She now sits up in a wheelchair and has started walking and her confusion has cleared. The best part of the whole thing though, is to see her face smiling and clear and happy and full of hope again.
Then we have Nondumiso, right, a young girl with Cerebral palsy and severe dystonia. She is only able to lie on her tummy and has limited speech but is very intelligent and an absolute joy despite the hardships she has to endure. At first we brought her in to visit us just to socialize but slowly with Phillipa’s guidance we have managed to get her lying on her back again for short periods on a huge bean bag that we purchased specially for her and which was worth every cent. We now have hope that she will one day again be able to sit in a wheelchair and this will improve her quality of life tremendously. The introduction of this young lady into our lives has blessed us so much and we again realize what a privilege it is to work with such special people.
Another severely physically disabled old gentleman Thokozane comes every Thursday to join in the classes and just be part of our activities and theme teachings. Although he is with the younger people he doesn’t mind and as he is treated with great respect because of his age he loves being with us. We often send him home with a packet of dehydrated soup mix which he loves.
We continue to be blessed by Container Ministries who supplies us with this soup so we never go empty handed when we visit our clients. We have received three loads of foodstuffs from them this term, the soup mix and mealy meal and Dorcas boxes of “goodies” to hand out to the needy. Container Ministries is a mission outreach from Grace Church in Umhlanga and have long supported us in our community work. We are so grateful to them for this.
This last week we said goodbye to Tholane who has been with HNO for 25years. She is retiring to a well deserved rest and fortunately we won’t lose touch because her foster child Sindi, will continue to attend our centre. She has cared for this young lady since she was about 4 years old when she was found abandoned. Tholane worked for Esther Alm and so was there right at the beginning. She has seen many changes over the years and could tell one a story or two. But as she shared at her farewell party, she has seen the Lord working in her life through HNO throughout all those years .
Andy, our Chairman, hands over a gift to remind her of us and on the right Tholane (centre sitting) with her colleagues, the HNO staff. We wish her all the best for her retirement years. We also say a sad goodbye to John Robbins who has been involved in HNO for many years on and off as Chairman and putting his back and prayers into the organisation. Poor health has forced him to say goodbye to Pietermaritzburg and his precious prison ministry and he and his wife have moved to Pretoria to be closer to their family. We wish him a good recovery and pray that Pretoria will be a blessing to them.