On road blockades, graduations and chieftain meetings …

Ekukhanyeni_Zinhle_Graduation-DSCN2387-16x9

(This is a translation of the German blog post „Von Straßensperren, Studienabschlüssen und Häuptlingstreffen“ from July 31, 2016)

 

Where shall I start? I almost used the headline “Road Reconnaissance Report”….. Why? This “report of the roads” very often jumbles my whole day´s plans – and causes a lot of trouble.

This so beautiful and rich country just does not calm down. In August 2016, there will be elections again – and the different parties canvas as they do in the whole world…. Currently there are a lot of protests, which are directed against the ruling system. They burn tires, chop down trees to lay them over the street, or move big rocks to make a barricade. Dancing in a rage it very often ends in violence. That resembles the former system of apartheid, but now from the “other” side. Schools are destroyed, hospitals and a lot of other academic institutions to get noticed and to reach the public. But in doing so, they don´t see, that they burn their own future and income (if they have a job….They ruin their own education, which is so necessary for their future. They put it at risk…. As always this is a minority, but they keep the whole nation in suspense. They attack farmers – murder is the order of the day. To be careful and cautious is abolutaly necessary !

So I get an update every morning to my cellphone which streets can be driven, and which ones I shouldn’t use. These are the reasons, why my daily plans change from one moment to the other. Sometimes my nurses give me a call or send a “WhatsApp” to tell me to stay away and not to come to the meeting rooms or the Day-Care Centers.

Telephone lines are stolen (they need the copper) and, caused by that, the public network is nearly broken. Even on the red and white striped towers, which guarantee internet and cellphone, the metal is stolen. That means, we are not connected, although the lines are installed. Many things get more complicated and inconvenient.

In summary, this might sound negative, but it describes very good the “circumstances of life” in this “Third World”.  Either people try to accept this kind of living or they leave the country.

I myself try to arrange with that and it doesn`t prevent me from my working for and with the coloured people!

If everything would be right in this country, if the resources of this big country would be dispensed in a fair and equal system, a lot of helping people – like me – would be superfluous in this country.

Just yesterday one of my students told me, that his whole family is praying for me to be protected from any accidents. Because they need me – and my help. I only try to do good; I´m not born in South Africa. I pay attention to all people, I give audience and I listen to them and their problems. I bring food, clothes and the chance of education. While doing these things I feel safe, protected, guided and borne.

 

So, after this long introduction, time to give you an update on my work here. All 4 Day-Care Centers and the Soup Kitchen are running well:

KUYASA :

Supported by Government with food 3-4 times a year and approved as NPO (Non – Profit Organization). But we can´t rely on the regular protection, because very often the money for foods or the foods themselves disappear on its way to us……. The care for children is very good and educational for the kids.

NDUNDWENI :

Runs well. Unfortunatelly in this Center we only have one nurse. She is very enthusiastic and tries to do her best. Next year we want to change the situation and try to give her more support.

GQUGQUMA:

Here we have enough nurses, but cleanliness remains to be a problem. But all these problems are compensated with the warmth and cordiality of the nurses. We are thinking about a new housing in this place, because the Community Hall we are using is also used by other organisations. That hinders our work for and with the children.

Each of that mentioned Centers cares about 20 children.

OSWATHINI :

In Oswathini we support a soup kitchen, where we feed up to 50 children a day in the afternoon, when they come from school.

Also in Oswathini, there is our showpiece creche.  Both nurses go to school once a week, alternating. They are educated as Child Care Workers. In July they have had their first graduation. Now they go on to be teachers for first-formers.  Both are very good and  teach the children in an exemplary manor.

Every day they care about 30 children. Our house is bursting at all seams. And, as a second point, this house can´t be used any longer in future. Unfortunately there is, at the moment, no other option for a bigger house in this place and area.

A few days ago I had – after a long time of waiting – a meeting with the chieftain (“Induna”) of this area. We had the handover ceremony for a piece of ground. This ceremony is called UKUBHEKWA. The land is taken out of the Africa Trust and is given to our Project “Ekukhanyeni”. It is to be mentioned, that all land is sampled in this “Trust” and is assigned to the people.

A funny story! Yes, it is! When we met, their first question was: “Do you have the alcoholic beverages?” All neighbors were invited to this ceremony by the chieftain to witness that he, the “Induna”, hands over the property to me. He asked me about our intentions. I answered, that we will build up a new Day-Care Center. “Induna” then walked along the demarcation and all witnesses acclaim to the handover ceremony as a sign, that everything is well done. We stroke the deal with a handshake and with a plastic cup we toasted!

The content of our cups? Brandy, Whisky, Vodka, beer and – very special – a hand-brewed Zulu-beer! Hm!!! And  soft drinks….

During the ceremony I payed 540 Rand to “Iduna” and the former “owner” of the land received 1.500 Rand. All witnesses saw this and acclaimed.

The size of our land is that of a trapezium. In summary 600 qm.

Das Grundstück in Oswathini, auf dem der neue Creche entstehen soll.
Das Grundstück in Oswathini, auf dem der neue Creche entstehen soll.

The ceremony ended at that moment, when all Brandy, Whisky, Vodka, beer and soft drinks were eliminated (and most people were drunk). I offered the chieftain to drive him to his home. He was happy and proud and agreed together with another 3 men.

All that happened in the descripted way – and, believe me, this is the official way! Totally normal…..

Now we can start with planning for the new Day-Care Center . We hope to start as soon as possible. But… there is the special way of living in Africa…. a little bit slower than in Europe…..

Drawing must be issued, quotations must be calculated, materials have to be bought and experts must be found! (They are all experts and everybody makes clear, that HE is the best and most perfect for the job!)

Now the first thing to do is to protect the ground with a fence or a wall to protect all materials from disappearance. And it must be done before the ground-breaking ceremony!

Before calculating all ideas to build up the new Center I thought about our money on our donation account. A lot of things had to be balanced: Will any other project be neglected the moment we start building? How long can I stay in South Africa with my current Visa?

I promised  the nurses of Oswathini: If I get a new 3-year-Visa for South Africa, then we start the project!

And here we are: I got a Visa until May 2019! (This also is a story for itself.…)

Just at that time we started the Center Project we had a big surprise – a very big donation on our account showed me that we are on the right way! Now I know, that I am in the right place as well!

Thanks a million to GOD, who is our father, who covers our projects and me. And a million thanks to our donators, that trust in my work. Without them my work would not be that successful.

I promise to apply the money in places where it is most needed.

 

But…, there is more to be mentioned, more to it than that:

Meanwhile I report about 8 students. They get tuition fees, laptops, money for transport and travel, and their nutrition. Four of them graduated, three now have a driving license and the others just star with education:

  • Sanele now graduated as a lawyer.
  • Zamile and Margret now are Child Care Workers; they go on to be teachers.
  • Zinhle has been at the college to be governess. Now she starts to get Computer Clerk.
  • Pilani now has the driver’s license for lorries. He is the driver at the hospital to be closer to his 3 younger sibs.
  • Kansas is owner of a driver’s license as well, working as a newly educated Security Worker!
  • Noxolo will start at the college in January 2017 to be a teacher. Now he is in a practice. That shortens the time at the college for a year!
  • Andibe is busy in Agri-Culture and possesses a driver’s license as well.
  • Amanda Madlala is also at a college to be a Hospital Nurse.
Kansas hält erstmals seinen Führerschein in den Händen.
Kansas hält erstmals seinen Führerschein in den Händen.

Each student gets roundabout 100 € a month, payed by Ekukhanyeni.

The costs for a drivers license are 300 – 500 €, depending on the kind of license. And with all the activities we don´t forget their families in the background with all their troubles, problems and the lack of food.

Each student – I asked them to do – has written a resume, a “CV”, with all familiarly backgrounds and their wishes for a better future.

Last but not least, a big and warm “Thank you” to all inhabitants of Harburg and Warburg, that help(ed) us with second-hand clothing, toys, and a lot of other needful things, big or small, that help children and adults in the same manor!

Thank you! And God bless you!

Helga Josche

 

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