I've been quite busy as usual at The Village of Hope over the past week and a half. A week ago, Grace and I visited one of Thembalitsha's other project's called 'Bosom Buddies' in Somerset West. The project makes and provides goodie bags for new mothers who have just given birth. The bags contain items that we often take for granted but that for these mums are very useful and not so easily accessible: a baby gro and a little hat, nappies, baby wash etc. Volunteers go into the hospital and talk to the women who have given birth or are just about to give birth. New life is not always something that is celebrated in the local communities, and women often go into hospital alone, so part of what Bosom Buddies does is to affirm these women as new mothers, and to celebrate their baby's arrival into the world. There were some tiny tiny babies, so I was in my element. Didn't get to hold one though!
On Saturday, Grace and I ventured east over the moutains, and were confronted with a starkly contrasting landscape to what we've seen so far. The Elgin Valley, where Grabouw is situated, is very lush and fertile, with green forests and vineyards, framed by mountains. Over the other side of the mountains however, the land is pale, yellow and dry, with mile after mile of flat fields and the mountains crowned against the sky in the distance. It felt like we were in a different country. We visited what I can only describe as a cafe in the middle of an antique/food/homeware/vintage/clothes shop. It sold the most random assortment of practically everything: jam, cheese, spices, teddies, chandeliers, pots, pans, doorknobs, clothes, hats, shoes, wine, stationary, jewellery, tables, chairs, tins, woven baskets, you name it! It was amazing!
On Sunday, a group of us attended a little church in the township called The House of Prayer, on invitation from one of the Thembacare nurses. It was held in a room at the bottom of a house, and the six of us comprised about half of the congregation. The electricity was down, so the band couldn't use the keyboard, but I've never heard worship like it. The women sang with such power, rawness and intensity. They welcomed us and involved us in the service, asking us to give our testiomines about how we gave our lives to Jesus. The presence of the holy spirit was overwhelming in that place of worship. Materially these people have a lot less, but spiritually, they have the unspeakable, deep joy of knowing Jesus, and of being released into the abundance and fulness of life which He brings. They are poor in the worldly sense, but so wealthy in the Spirit! You rarely witness this in Western culture. It's not that they are simply happy- happiness is dependent upon circumstances, and their circumstances are often difficult. Instead, it's the fact that their hope is rooted in the unshakeable love and grace of God in Jesus Christ, and this instills a joy within each person which is unchanging, and which radiates from them :-)
This week I've helped the house mums implement the 1:1 development activities for the children, spent time with the children and have prepared with Grace for the Rainbow Smiles club on Friday. There are now nine volunteers, as the weekend brought the arrival of Katia, followed a few days later by Heather. We're all the same age, and all sharing one room. It's quite a squeeze! But so far it's working well. I forgot to mention that I borrowed Emily's fairylights a while ago, so our room is so pretty! My bunkbed is splurge of pinkness, although thankfully no one seems to mind.
Anyway, I could write more, but I'll save it for my next entry as I've got the school run soon. Love xxxxxxxxxxxxx