Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Johannesburg Zoo

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Today we took 21 of the 29 permanent Lambano kids to the Joburg Zoo. A company was taking kids from various homes around the area for charity and Lambano was one of them! I got to go because I was one of the drivers. Woke up to an overcast sky :P Had to be there at 9am so we were getting ready to leave by quarter past 8. One problem, our gate at 82 wouldn't open. The night before we got a horrendous storm it poured for over an hour and flooded everything, and started leaking into my room lol. But anyways because of all the movement of water with all the mud and sand it was preventing the gate from opening. We finally got it open and it was already 8:30. Sibylle (long term volunteer from Switzerland) was to drive the Blue Kombi and I was to drive the White Kia. And 2 of the house mothers were coming with us to help with the kids. After getting the gate open we only discover that the Blue Kombi wouldn't start. So we drove to the 36 house to get Jenna's car and try to fit as many as we could between the Kia which seats 12 and the car which seats 5. Jenna was out with the car so Siyblle went to go get the yellow car, she came walking back at 9 saying that the yellow car wouldn't start either. By then Jenna had returned and Siyblle took her car with 5 kids and I drove the Kia with 16 kids. The 2 mamas had to stay home. I asked them before we left if they could tell me what car manners were and why it was important. I was following Siyblle who knew how to get there but still needed not to be distracted since we were going on the highway also. Not that I'm not used to driving a car full of noisy kids ;)
We got to the zoo and it was almost 10 but the other kids from other homes were still lining up, getting wrist bands etc. so it worked out fine! We had 3 people from the company assigned to our group to help and off we went. It was a really nice zoo! Compared to the zoo back home this one was much more open! Not so tightly locked up and caged. Like if a person wanted to they could basically get into were the animals were! We saw most of the main animals except the tiger which the kids were a bit disappointed about. I liked seeing the Pumba! Like from the Disney movie the Lion King..don't think I've seen one before at a zoo :)
At noon we met back with all the other kids and we given lunch a burger and chips, then they had a little show for the kids and ice cream. By then it was after 2 and we went to see the snakes and I went around and they had signs up telling which ones were poisonous and what would happen to you if you got bit and where they were located in Africa. The worst one I can't remember then name was extremely venomous and if bit your kidneys etc would start shutting down, eek!
We got back to Lambano and it was almost 4. I had a really great time. I haven't been to 34 and 78 houses very much so it was good to hang out with those kids and get to know them better. The next 2 weeks are holiday from school so I won't be as busy with school runs and such, probably will spend time at the hospice mostly and then just relax :)

So excited :P
Wouldn't wanna fall down there!
Lookin at the lions

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Went to Katlehong today to take some baby clothes to a family and get some pictures to send the sponsors. The baby I'm holding belongs to a 14 year old girl. Her older sister who is 18 is due with a baby in September. The family lives in the township and there are 4 sisters living with there mother who is HIV+. She has went out to find a job since there is another person in the household and another on the way.
Yesterday was crazy...had to make a trip to Katlehong to take a dietitian who interviewed some of the kids at the schools and was following up on them since they have been on a food program. Got back to the office and then went to Fruit and Veg to buy for the 5 houses, right after that went on the school run. Was able to have a quick lunch then took Lambano's dog to the vet. After that I went to the mall and found a power cord for my computer since mine doesn't work anymore. Then I went home with a headache and went to bed!
Tuesday night our cell group (bible study) made gatsbys to eat which is a loaf of bread stuffed with chips (french fries) and fried hot dogs and boloney with tomato sauce (ketchup) and vinegar. Very nutritious haha. Then Kerry-Ann who been a professional dancer gave us all ballroom dancing lessons. We learned the cha-cha! It was super fun! 

This coming Saturday a company is taking Lambano to the zoo, I'm going as a driver. Should be fun!
The last few days have been hot which is quite a change from the weekend at the conference when it was cold and rainy! Hey, I'm not complaining :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The Baptist Youth of South Africa (BYSA) conference was amazing. It rained most of the weekend, but despite that the sessions were so great and the worship was awesome! It was also a good time for me to rest and recover from being sick. I went on a jog on Saturday morning and felt ok so thank you for your prayers for my health. I wish to write more about the conference, but I don't have time right now. My laptop power cord doesn't work anymore so my computer is dead, so I only have 30 minutes to use the office computer most times.
This is the last week of school until school holidays for 2 weeks!!! Today my roomate Miriam is going home to France. It looks like I will be the only volunteer here besides Jenna and Sybille the long term volunteers until June...so not sure what my schedule will be once school starts again on April 11. There are the school runs and the schooling with the hospice kids and homework with the permanent kids.

Friday, March 18, 2011

His plan

I've been absent my blog this week because Tuesday night I got sick with a stomch flu that lasted into the better part of the night and drained me to the point of still effecting me now. I was so weak and tired that I was in bed all of Wednesday and most of Thursday. As soon as I was able to keep things down I started mt Reliv shakes again and hope to gain back my strength soon. I still feel tired and lightheaded. So prayers for continuing recovery are welcomed :) Lambano has covered my school driving duties up until the end of the week. This weekend I am off with the youth from the church and some volunteers at Lambano for the BYSA (Baptist Youth of South Africa) conference until Monday. Staying there for the nights too!
I didn't eat anyhing that made me sick we know that much because my roomate ate everything the same as me. Lyn said that is was probably a flu bug going around and the change of seasons etc. I sure don't remember a time when I got that sick...so it has been awhile anyways if I had!
As I lay in bed those couple of days drifting to sleep off and on I thought, how can I be glorifying God when I'm to ill to even get out of bed!? How can I be using this situation for the furthering of His kingdom!? It was quite trying when I came here to give care and end up receiving it...the most I could do at that point was pray and read. A quote by John Piper comes to mind something about God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. Can I be satisfied in God even when I'm sick? All I could do in those moments of pain was call out to Him. I'm have not studied much the book of Job, but it has caught my interest...I know everything was taken from him including his health. I don't have answers for my questions, but it something I'm thinking and praying about.
While I was sick here in South Africa, back home in the USA my sister was in a car accident, she hit black ice and the car flipped over and was totaled. Give thanks to God she is alright, but it still shook me...What if my family was calling to tell me something else besides asking if my sister could drive my car now!? God is good all the time, all the time God is good. When I was younger I wrote a song... My desire is for God's will, His Sovereign will. His plan for me will not be thwarted; I put my trust in Him. In whatever happens I can find joy; Cause my desire is for His will.

Can I still cling and live by those words I so innocently sung as a child now that I'm older and understand more of the hard cruelness of life in a fallen world of sin?


I know that You can do all things, that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. Job 42:2

Friday, March 11, 2011

Week Reflections re: life hardships

Tuesday I woke up feeling awful. I managed to take a Reliv shake and start my day. School went well with the hospice kids. During our management meeting Lambano has every Tuesday at lunchtime many things came up about the government and healthcare here. Many stories disheartening. It's always interesting the type of topic talked about, but mostly about Lambano. I look forward to the meetings every week. Just to become less ignorant of the way of life here and also it is always encouraging when we pray together...for each other, the kids and this country.
In regards to driving I've become pretty comfortable and confident driving a manual and on the left side of the road and in kilometers. Have to always be wary of taxi drivers...they are crazy. Taxis here aren't like a small car like at home. They are as big as the Combi I drive, like a small bus a big van. They are crammed full of people and you won't catch someone like me one them either, not a good idea. Anyways they own the road expect them to do anything. Another thing is motorbikes. They speed in and out and between traffic. I think I've mentioned the massive speed bumps in residential areas...yeah if you don't slow down you might break your car.
Like I said I may have gotten to comfortable, I don't know, but picking up Nellie on the school run on Tuesday I was waiting for a group of kids to move out of the road so I could pull off to the side. So I didn't realize that I was too close to an already parked car which I hit in the process of moving off the road. Most all damage was done to her car unfortunately. She was quite cross at first, but then was asking me if I was okay and saying that it was just an accident. Didn't make me feel any better. When I got to the office, the stress of the day was building and I had to take a moment to collect myself before doing speech therapy with Thandazo and homework with Nellie.
Martha, Miriam, and I went out to the movies to see the King's Speech that night. It was so wonderful to go out and to such an excellent movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Wednesday I was woken up early because Uncle Philemon was sick and so I was asked to do the school run. When I got back to the hospice supervised the kids to make some little cakes. Biscuits (sweet crackers) crushed up and mixed with condensed milk, butter, and chocolate powder. Put a marshmellow in the middle each ball and roll in coconut. That was fun. Tshitsi, Nombolalo, Boutimelio, and Cina are very good bakers :)

Martha then asked me to drive her to Katlehong township to 2 schools there where she was to take some garbage bins to one of the school and take pictures of both for a report for a company in Germany that donates money for the school through Lambano. We planned it to get there for lunchtime. The first school Mogobeng Primary was a well kept school compared to the one we went to next. That one was even newer than Mogobeng and it was in worse shape. All the kids that go to these school are mostly poor. All students at all the schools in South Africa wear uniforms. For these kids there uniforms were probably the nicest clothes they had. We arrived at the last school right when the bell rang for lunch and kids poured out of the buildings running for food, maybe the only thing they get to eat all day. When the kids saw the cameras they would act all silly and goofy. Martha said they would probably act up anyways seeing how I was the only white person walking around.

When we got back I had a quick lunch and then off too pick up the kids from school. I've been doing speech and homework this week in the afternoons because Jenna is on holiday. Well I was falling asleep by the time I finished up with Nellie so I went back to my room for a nap before church that evening.
I was not feeling quite up to par for evening service that night and was debating with myself whether to go or not, especially since I was to get up at really early to go to the hospital the next morning. I did go and was so glad I did. Pastor Lance had a pair up with someone at least 15 years younger or older than our age and talk for 10 minutes to get to know each other than pray for the other person. I met the lady named Deidre. She became a Christain in her 40's...none of her 4 children are saved. Just to hear her story in the time that we had was a great blessing. Then we both prayed for each other and the needs that we shared. I was greatly blessed and thankful that I went!
  Thursday I woke up at 5am to go with Sibylle to take Tshtsi to Bara the biggest hospital in South Africa. She had a check-up at the HIV clinic. The way it works here is not by appointment but whoever get in the cheque (line) first. They open the doors at quarter to 7 and start checking people in at half past. We got there at half past 6 and were second in line. Didn't see the doctor until 10. Brought a book and finished it by that time lol. The waiting room was full up by 8...people sitting and standing. When we got into see the doctor just talked about the medications Tshtsi needs to continue to take. The doctor went over her story of how she got to Lambano. She is from Zimbabwe. Her parents died when she was young and she lived with her granny. She ran away from her home because of an abusive uncle and made her way to South Africa to find her older brother. She has been through a lot and the mood turned sober as they talked about it and a few tears as well. The doctor explained the importance of taking her medicine and how she shouldn't try to run away. Tshtsi is 17, but her emotional mentality is that of 10 because of what she has been through.
Thursday night was touch rugby again and Miriam came this time! Martha had a last minute meeting come up so she wasn't able to go. Had a great time again and played until it was too dark to see the ball. Had a collision with one of the guys that knocked to wind outta me for second lol, but other than that it was awesome!
The reason I went with Sibylle was to know the way to Bara so I can take Tshtsi to her counseling sessions this morning. We left about half past 9 and her session was at 10. But traffic was backed up on the highway because a semi truck had ran into the cement barrier and was blocking most of the road. It took an hour to get there and we were late, but it was okay because it turned out that she had someone at 10 and thought Tshtsi was to come at 11. I was able to sit in the room with them...I read a little and listened. It was interesting to her how the counselor approached the various topics that happened in Tshtsi's life. There were tears shed again about missing her family.
On the drive back I found and english pop music station and Tshtsi was able to experience the crazy side of me dancing while driving...which I say crazy because that is what my siblings think when I do that lol. It was hot so the windows were down which is ok on the highway for no fear of a getting car jacked going 100k. So windows down, radio up, we went...me a crazy white girl singing and dancing to the music. It was great to hear her laughing at me. An Usher song played and she freaked out because she really likes him I guess. She asked if I knew him since I lived in the USA and I said and that seemed to surprise her :)
Thinking back to the topics discussed at the Tuesday meeting and the things that Deidre and I encouraged each other with on Wednesday and now with Tshtsi's story...life is hard.
We live in a fallen world of sin and evil.
One thing that brings comfort is that...this is not all there is! I have hope in something more...an eternity with my Savior!
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavering to keep the unity of the Spirit  in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Ephesians 4:1-6

Monday, March 7, 2011

Last Week

Saturday, March 5, 2011

So on Thursday evening I went to play touch rugby! It was the first time hehe. Martha came to and it was her first time too. I absolutely had a great time, it was so fun! And I guess I played pretty well because they said I have to come play every Thursday evening.
Friday was pretty relaxed day. Two of the staff in the office were out sick so it was just Martha in the office most of the day. In the morning the massage students came and we got 30 minute back massages. The girl that massaged me said that I need more than a half an hour massage because there was so much tension built up in my neck and shoulders. Oh well if I can get at least one a week I think that'll help. They come every Wednesday and Friday mornings. Friday night I went out with Martha, Miriam (volunteer from France) and Megan (girl from church who is a teacher) to Montecasino. We dressed up and went to dinner to a Thai place that was very yummy! Montecasino was a really cool place...it was like being in Italy with the streets lined with restaurants. The ceiling was painted to look like the evening sky! Us single girls had a great time out.
Today Miriam and I woke up early to take Nellie (10 years old) one of the girls from House 36 to an assessment in Randburg about 20 minutes drive away if the highway is not backed up. I never had been there and had pretty good directions because we didn't get lost. Nellie's assessment was to be 2 hours long so Miriam and I drove to the Rosebud Mall not far from the place where an African Craft Fair is. That was interesting. Miriam was really good at beginning with people. I just observed at first. Basically they give you their price and you ask for a way lower one then you go back and forth for awhile. Sometimes just say I think I'll see what other vendors are offering and they might accepted your offer then. Haha. I got a few things for gifts for people back home and I think I got the hang of bargaining...it was actually quite fun :) Plan to go back before leave or at least go to the other closer to Wychwood.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Second trip to Katlehong

March 2, 2011
I can't believe it's March! I will have been her 2 months already next week! It's starting to really cool down a lot at night and the leaves are starting to change color on some of the trees...autumn is on it's way.
Today felt like non-stop from 8 to 5. I did school with the hospice kids. Then went at 10:30 with Martha to a warehouse store, kinda like Costco. When we went to Katlehong last week (the township) we learned that one of the families that Lambano sponsors was having some family problems, and anyways the granny ended up leaving 2 kids without care of food. One of the neighbors that Lambano also sponsors was caring for them and here own kids. So we went and bought at least 3 months supply of food for all of them. Got back just in time for me to go on the school run and then right when I got back we drove out to Katlehong. They are doing construction on the highway so traffic was backed up for awhile.
When we got to the shacks to find out the granny had gone shopping so we took the 3 girls that were there with us to go find her so we could drop off all the food. We couldn't find her and the oldest girl of whose granny left told us that they had run out of toiletries so we went to the store to buy some things for them. Martha said you are in for an experience. Lol. Yeah, so we went to the shops and I was the only white person and got quote a lot of interesting looks. The store was super busy too. The 2 younger girls were holding onto me the whole time while the older girl and Martha shopped. It was interesting and I did enjoy it. I just smiled as some people stared...like why is this crazy white girl here!
When we got back to the shacks The other granny returned and we were able to unload all the food for them. So I was able to see inside the one room shacks. The sights and smells of this place where they live are hard to think that people live there lives there.
One of the mamas that works at Lambano lives at a squatter camp really close by to where I'm staying. We drove by it once and I was surprised that is was so close to where wealthy people live. I'm sure that that place is even worse then the place I saw today.
Well we were able to help 2 families today with what we could.