We were unable to have our usual year end braai but we still had lovely cake donated by the ever faithful Ixopo Spar and Chris, as well as chips, fizzy drinks and a gift for each child that were donated by special friends, Brett, Joan and Robyn. A very big thank you to all of you. The children certainly deserved it because they worked so hard to put on a lovely Nativity play, choreographed, produced, directed and filmed by Mary. That’s right…nothing small about HNO…we have our own single handed production company.
Above: The shepherds, angels and kings all following the star to Bethlehem singing at the tops of their voices.
Then we had some visitors: Santa himself in all his porcelain beauty (thank you Dennis) and Andy Munro, our chairman’s grandchildren Kitty, Jono and Debi, together with Peter Irons our vice chair.
A great time was had by all, as they say in the classics.
LOOKING BACK AT 2016
In some ways it has been a hard year, especially financially (yes, sorry, that is a hint…can’t help myself) because the residence has drawn a lot of extra expenses and we are waiting with bated breath to see if the Department of Health will be renewing our contract for funding. We had hoped that we might get a bit more because of the extra service we are now providing with opening boarding facility but it seems that is hoping for a bit too much as the grant funding might stop altogether. Your prayers in this regard will be greatly appreciated. Our fuel bill has also been rather “eina” and the vehicles are getting a bit long in the tooth and we are now needing to replace at least one of them.
Such are the woes of the NPO world. But never do we forget that we serve a wonderful God and He has never let us down.
There have been other sadnesses too, especially in our community work. Sometimes we can help ease a burden, other times we just cry inside. There have been so many suicides by young people especially boys. Some of them have just written matric and without even waiting for the results decide to end it all. We hear of cases of neglect and abuse. We come across grandparents who are left alone with nobody to care for them and families who have been orphaned and have no means to apply for grants to sustain their living expenses. Our three community workers visit and support as much as they can but there is so much need out there.
Sometimes it becomes a bit overwhelming…but then something special happens and we realize that even if we, as an organisation, cannot claim huge numbers of success, every individual is important and there is so much to be said for every one person whose burden can be lightened in any way.
We have visited, counselled, and/or assisted more than 160 families this year, some once off, others with many follow up visits as the need arises. Here are some individual stories from HNO’s community work:
Eric heard of a lady whose adult son became very ill and then died in hospital. She was not someone he knew personally so had no direct contact with her. But after about 3 weeks he realized he had not heard anything about a funeral so he went out of his way to visit her. There he found a mourning, desperate mother who had no means or support in any way to bury her son. Although the municipality would provide a coffin and a food voucher for the funeral, she had no way of fetching the coffin, getting the food and collecting the body of her son. She had no family members that were able to help and she was desperate. Eric stepped in and in this way HNO assisted her to put her son to rest.
Last year we came across a young boy whose mother had abandoned him when he was little and who had witnessed his father committing suicide. He was left behind to be taken care of by his aunts all of whom were battling financially and had quite a few of their own children. He had learning difficulties at school and was aggressive and difficult to deal with. The teachers felt he should attend a special school because he was simply not progressing in mainstream education. HNO offered to take him into the residence and facilitate his attendance at the special school. He joined us this year and at first he was difficult and aggressive and uncooperative. But with patience and love Nokwazi worked with him and prayed for him and he is a different child today. He still has a lot to learn and many hurts to work through but we have great hope for him now. He has settled with the other boys and enjoying school for the first time. The only heartache is that he doesn’t want to go home for the weekends because he doesn’t get enough to eat there.
Sipho came across a very very old lady whose pension had stopped for no reason. The Taxi drivers refused to take her to the local SASSA office because she was very incapacitated. He spent the whole day driving her down and assisting her to get the issue sorted. Eric did the same this year for a young family who had lost their grandfather, their only caregiver, and who was now being taken care of by a neighbouring granny who was a distant relative. However she had no means or ability to try and apply for the foster grants.
Mlu spends every Friday visiting our stroke patients in the community. He brings them in to see Phillipha our dear physiotherapist friend, and she sets specific exercises according to each ones specific needs. He then follows up with visits to their homes and encourages and pushes his clients to do their exercises, and the improvements we have seen has been amazing. Without this help these clients are unable to regularly go to the clinic for the physio that they so desperately need because the public transport system is firstly too costly, and secondly the drivers are not willing to help anybody with a serious disability because it simply is not cost effective for them.
Once a month Sipho, Mlu and Eric deliver food parcels to destitute families. This is an ongoing ministry and is supported by specifically donated gifts from individuals especially a very special group of people from Boise, Idaho called Small Village Foundation who continue to be hugely generous, and also from Grace Church in Umhlanga through their Container ministries, who regularly give us mealie meal, and dehydrated vegetables for soup. At this time of the year we also get special buckets from Grace Church as gifts and once again one family from Waterfall gave us a box of biscuits for each family to bless their Christmas time.
We wish all our friends and supporters a Happy Christmas and blessed New Year.
We are deeply grateful to all of you who are part of the team and part of the work we do by either supporting us financially or in kind or with encouragement and prayers…or all of the above.
May God bless you all at this very special time when we remember the one who showed his great love for the poor and vulnerable and for all of us, by being born in poverty and want. May that be an inspiration for all of us to continue to reach out to all who are in need.