Well, the past three weeks since we returned from a wonderfully refreshing holiday down at the coast (thanks to 2 special friends!) have been very interesting firstly in terms of relationship building and secondly, in getting our volunteer flat ready to be used.
In the first week, 10 -16 September, we successfully tried out the Hillbrow clinic with 2 of our kids, and had 3 significant visits from people coming to see what we were up to. The first was from some church leaders from Fourways and Durban, with whom we did a bit of a Hillbrow walkabout, meeting and praying for a group of car guards and municipal workers, as well as telling the story of our move. The second was by one of Nigel's great inspirations in the area of juvenile justice, Advocate Ann Skelton and her delightful husband, Peter, who visited us on a rather cold Saturday for lunch and tea. Peter will be giving us perspective on lighting in both flats. (Peter, 69, is planning his golden wedding anniversary when he will be 90 years old, and aims to play a few more musical instruments by then too! - love his enthusiasm for life!) And finally, a 3rd very brief visit that week was from a lady working at the Constitutional Court who googled the words "Hillbrow" and "volunteer" and found us! She plans to help us with some afternoon volunteering with the kids from our block, and wants to encourage all her friends and work colleagues to do the same!
In our second week back, 17 -23 Sept, we began a very sweet if tender relationship with a school close-by who needed some support following the death of one of their Grade 1 pupils. This culminated with us and a group of visiting church friends joining them at their memorial service held at the school on Tuesday 18 September. This was a very meaningful experience for all present. We look forward to future partnerships and projects with them. On this same day our group of friends from Nccb came over to our building to help move in a number of furniture items and kitchenware into our downstairs volunteer flat. This immediately transformed it from an empty (though beautiful) white shell into a place where volunteers can come and stay for any length of time, and where school students can come and get help with various subjects.
So this last week, 24 - 30 Sept, started off with a Heritage Day braai hosted by Let's Go Jozi on top of their building in Harrison street, where we met many people from all walks of life interested in developing Joburg's inner city in some way. (A few of them recognised us from our Carte Blanche story the night before.) We spoke to a young man who heads up a basketball team which also shares its skills with inner city youngsters. He promised to come and train the kids in our group of buildings managed by Connaught Properties. We also viewed Let's Go Jozi's sewing project downstairs, where they are training people to make clothes, a very exciting initiative. On Tuesday a friend came and delivered a big bookshelf for the proposed library downstairs and on Wednesday we received our first donation of books towards the same library in the volunteers' flat, and almost immediately some enthusiastic kids started reading through them. Thank you Sonja and Mark! Then yesterday, Friday, Jethro, one of our first friends in the inner city area, went to see one of our first Nccb friends from Bryanston, Dr Pierre Vercueil, at his rooms at the Sandton Eye Clinic for a free assessment.
It is exciting to realise that most of these stories I have just summarised are about a meeting between rich and poor, the "haves and the have nots" so that "those who had much did not have too much, and those who had little, did not have too little"! (2 Cor 8) Looking forward to so much more of these...
Roselind reads the first book!
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