Greetings to all our friends and supporters and a sincere hope that it has been a good year for all of you.
We are doing well, opening the year with a full complement at the centre and lots of community work to keep us out of mischief. We did say a sad farewell to one of our long standing community workers, Sipho Mkhize who has completed his studies and will be entering the larger job market. His contribution over the years has been greatly appreciated but we also know that there is a season for everything and we wish him well in his new endeavours. This does mean that there is more pressure on our remaining community workers, Mlu and Eric but they soldier on.
There are so many sad stories out there, that come back to us through Mlu and Eric, and it is a great privilege and honour for HNO to be able to assist in some of these cases and often it feels like the proverbial drop in the ocean, but every person or family we can help makes it worth while.
Running an organisation like ours takes a lot of planning and routine work and, at the same time, being ready for the unexpected. As you can see above…our busy bees, different therapies happening at the same time, at the centre itself.
But I thought I would share one or two stories from our experiences in the community. Every week brings a new need or drama that we have to problem solve or work around.
Towards the end of last year Eric Ntuli, our general manager, was asked by a local counsellor to assist a family who was in need. This family was out of area of both Eric’s congregation and HNO but he decided to visit the family. What he found there was absolutely heartbreaking. A mother of the 5 children had just been cold bloodedly shot by a perpetrator who had broken into their homestead and attempted to assault the oldest 18 year old daughter. The mother intervened to protect her daughter and the perpetrator pulled out a gun and shot her at point blank range. He then ran away leaving devastation behind him. One cannot begin to imagine what those children must have suffered.
When Eric visited it was a few days later. The 18 year old daughter now was the head of this family and had no means of retrieving her mother’s body for burial. They have no extended family except one aunt in the Cape who was unable to help. HNO then assisted with the fetching of the body and the funeral. Subsequently he helped with food parcels and Eric proactively managed to get a magistrate involved to sort out grants for the family so that they can continue to survive on their own. Eric has continued to keep in touch with them with prayer and counselling. The perpetrator is still at large and the young girl is too frightened to give evidence and she is now the caregiver of her younger siblings.
Mlu has a client in the community whom he visits regularly. The client is a 40 year old man who is mentally ill and who lives on his own. For many years his sister took care of him from the grant money she received for her children. He refused to be seen by doctors or social workers so that she received no extra funding for his care. We put him on our vulnerable family list and supply him with a food parcel every month. Fortunately he is able to cook for himself as his sister has now moved to her husbands family as is the custom in these areas.
Last year he suffered from a stroke and although somewhat recovered from it now, he is refusing to take his BP medication. He is a big man, with a gentle disposition but very stubborn. Mlu now sits on tenterhooks praying that this dear man won’t suffer another stroke. He checks up on him as often as he can. There are no institutions or community assistance available for cases such as this man.
I share these stories so that you too might be touched by the need out there and be blessed for the contribution you make to the work, whether it is financial, in kind or with prayer. We are in need of all three.