MEA CULPA!!!! I haven’t written in such a long period of time that I am hoping you don’t think we have left the country. This is entirely my fault and I will soundly blame two of my daughters who produced my beautiful new granddaughters who were born recently and required personal introductions to granny in Cape Town and Kimberley (sorry, can’t resist the bragging!!). But all is well at HNO in Bulwer under the very able supervision of Mary and Carol and Sipho and Mlu.
After the last newsletter we had a very gracious response from a few readers who have taken on the responsibility of sponsoring some of our new children. We do thank you so much for your kindness and it has meant that we have been free to do some extras that needed to be done, like getting one of the very little ones to a private doctor to try, once and for all, to sort out her bronchitis. I will be posting the first reports to these sponsors in the next few days. In the meantime I would also like to honour a group of people who have been quietly and faithfully sending support for some of our “older” children for many years now. This group from Germany call themselves “ HIlfe fur Isinqobile” and twice a year they send us money to assist with the care of “their” children. They also are very interested in the progress and want to be kept informed regularly. They conduct their affairs with typical German efficiency, and I love the email correspondence we have with Martin and Armin around our very special relationship with people who live so far away and yet care so much for children who themselves are not even able to fully comprehend what love and support they are receiving. I was thrilled to receive a picture of some of the members of “Hilfe” taken at their last AGM and it now hangs in a prime place at the centre. It really tickles me to think that in the northern hemisphere every year a meeting takes place discussing us and our needs and progress, and if I could attend I would not be able to understand a word of what they were saying. HNO receives only R17 500 from the department of Mental Health every month, which is only 25 per cent of our monthly expenses (on a good month) and all other support comes from private donors and so you can imagine how much this support from Germany helps us. Our other overseas friends from the UK, Clare and Marc Barton have also made a huge difference to our budgets and with the exchange rate those pounds and euros work magic.
At the same time we are also very aware that every cent that comes in from local supporters adds up and still continues to be the back bone of the services we try and render in the community where we come across hunger and sickness and other needs.
THE BAD NEWS TURNED INTO GOOD NEWS…
You will remember I gave you the bad news of the theft of one of our vehicles last month and how this affected our transport situation…………… well all is well that ends well. We have been given a little Nissan bakkie which, though no creature of great beauty, is economical and is being used to do all the “running around” on smaller errands, saving the bigger fuel guzzlers to do the transporting of the children and longer trips. On top of that our insurance brokers, Woollam and Associates (they deserve this bit of advertising) very efficiently and quickly sorted out our claim on the stolen vehicle and that money has now gone into the Kitty for repairs and maintenance.
THE OTHER GOOD NEWS BECOMES EVEN “ GOODER” NEWS…
In Pietermaritzburg Andy and Xolani continue to report positive responses from Prison inmates who have attended the “Choice” courses. It is almost as if, after much chipping away for many years at a very hard wall, the dam has burst in recent times. Here is an example.
I wish I could print all the letters that Andy and Xolani have received after their visits to the prisons in the last few months. These courses often consisted of intense three days consecutive teaching and the responses from these forgotten men have blown us away. It begs the question: how many young men who have turned to crime for whatever reason just need some love and input and guidance to help them become aware that they still have choices and that these choices can turn their lives and relationships around. On top of that or more importantly the knowledge that God has not forgotten them and that indeed they are the very ones that He calls out to and longs to have a relationship with, must bring such a sense of forgiveness and hope and joy. But as Jesus so rightly said, the harvest is ready but so few harvesters, and Andy and Xolani are but two of those harvesters, and are greatly in need of your prayers.
Even though the day care centre has taken up much of our attention with the new changes and the new admissions we have continued to go out into the community to reach out to those in their homes who are in need of assistance, provisions or just plain love and attention. As many human beings as there are, just as many stories of human drama in all its forms are out there to be “discovered”. On one of our visits a few months back we came across an old granny who was taking care of twin girls of about 3 years old. The mother has abandoned her children in the care of the paternal grandmother. One of the little girls is strong and developing well, running around and active but her little twin sister is lethargic, unable even to sit on her own and suffering from severe mental retardation, as well as recovering from TB, or trying to. All day long this old lady who should be sitting in the sun gossiping with her neighbours reaping the benefits of retirement, is carrying the burden of raising two children, one of which has severe problems. We offered to admit little Mihla into day care to try and see if we can help with stimulating her development. The granny was overwhelmed especially as this would not cost her anything. She just had to bring the child to the road for our transport to pick her up. This alone is not easy as they live at the bottom of a long hill. Mihla has been coming ever since and we have been blessed in that a very kind friend is sponsoring her care so we are able to really go the extra mile with this little one. She is still very weak but we have been rewarded with little smiles and we continue to pray for her improvement. In the meantime the granny has the mornings to take a bit of a break from a job that is 24/7.
What touched and humbled me so much was that when we entered this home on our first visit the granny sat down on the floor with the twins and made us sit on her chairs. In every way I can honestly say that we have been very blessed by getting to know this family and being able to help in a small way.
Well for now, Auf Wiedersehen. I will not wait so long before the next newsletter………….. I hope.
Regards from all of us at HNO.