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Showing posts from June, 2011

Pray constantly

Thankfully we have had a quiet week at HH so far. Calm visits to the ward with some bags left-over at the end, the nurses seem relaxed and chatty and the patients are well looked-after and content. Most importantly: no babies born sleeping. The hospital gave us statistics of approximately 8 to 10 stillbirths per month and so far we have experienced just that – about 2 per week. Last week was particularly bad with two in one day. Two such different experiences!

The first mother was in the overfull ward, sitting on a chair with newborns suckling on their moms all around. She sat in the corner, invisible in her misery in pain. Her sister was not allowed in the ward and was sitting outside on a bench, waiting for any news. Mom is called Julie and from Zimbabwe. This is her first baby, a baby boy born at full term, but something went wrong and he didn’t make it. She is married, 26 years old and was so excited about having this son. Julie asked me to dress her little boy in his going-home o…

small change....

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yesterday we were joined by a new longer term volunteer, katrin, all the way from switzeland, via guernsey. she has come to help out in the children's unit and our sports outreach clubs. katrin's boyfriend is from grabouw and she returned with matthew with a wonderful donation from his employer in guernsey.

staff at the praxis group collected £450.00 of loose change and the wonderful management team at the company then matched that so we were blessed with a total of £900. have a read of the article about this venture from the local guernsey newspaper here and see how any small change can be made for good!

newcastle team arrive

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last week we were delighted to welcome back joe williams, who volunteered with us before the whole of the village of hope was set up in 2008. joe spent three months with us on that first visit, but has bought six of his home church friends with him this time.

the team are from jesmond, newcastle, and they will be with us for just over two weeks. they are all very keen and will be helping out with the children in our unit and some of the holiday clubs that we support during this three week winter break. they will also start painting the new office space, which maz is very excited about.

winter arrives with avengence

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on tuesday afternoon we were basking in temperatures in the high 20's and could hardly imagine that within two days we would be sitting with frost on the ground and the need of a fire to keep warm. not only have the temperatures dropped but the amount of rain, falling as snow on the high mountain tops that surround the village of hope and the town of grabouw, has washed away the roads and caused some homes to become very unstable.

this community sits with a real conundrum, the winter weather which is much needed by the local farmers to send the apple trees and vines into hibernation comes at a price for those living in the townships and squatter camps, these people who live in little more than 'garden sheds' with no electricity or even basic sanitation have a tough time even in the summer months. it is hard to imagine how these people survive these harsh days.

we are able to do a little bit to help, every friday we collect soup from a local restaurant and next week we are go…

assi in again....

sorry that these updates aren't about better news but we must remember that most of the children that we provide a home to here at the village of hope are either infected with HIV and or TB, others like our wonderful 11 year old boy have even more complex medical conditions.

unfortunately the news on assi isn't great, after being discharged from the red cross children's hospital on his last visit, he was placed at our thembacare unit in athlone, cape town, which cares for more chronic cases, however his health has deteriorated so much that he has been readmitted to the hospital for further care and tests.

we are now in a place where we are asking what is the best for his future and although we never want or wish for any of our children to pass away we must ask God to hold him in His hands as we are coming to the end of our understanding of his case and we don't want him to suffer much more.

please pray for us and for assi who is a dear dear boy...

June News

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June is Happy Birthday month for 4 out of 5 of the staff so they were making full use of the 'Happy Birthday hat' Zoe bought back from the UK on her last trip home!! The children also love to wear the hat on their birthdays and enjoy the special feeling it brings.

The preparations for the library are fully underway. Leon (premises manager) and Zoe and Andy (long term volunteers from the UK) have been hard at work. We expect to be up and running when the children return after their school holidays.
We are hoping to have an 'official' opening ceremony so watch this space!!

We also have a lot of thank yous this month: We received plastic motorbikes and blankets donated by Mr. and Mrs. Van Schalkwyk via the Farm Association. Melissa and the folk at Woolworths donated some nutritious snacks and food. Ronel has donated a bed for the sick room. Seaton Farm donated a dreinerings klippe and Azalea Court provided us with some fresh soup and bread. We are so blessed by these items a…

June News

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There is a moment, a period of a few hours after the birth of a baby that is extremely unique. The mother and baby are surrounded by an invisible bond- a cloud of adoration and devotion between mother and baby. I have attended some difficult births and without exception the only concern of the mother is for her baby. One such mother took her baby on her chest after she had a long, difficult labour and delivery and her first words to her baby was “sorry baby, sorry, sorry. I have met mothers giving birth to their tenth or more babies that have this same look of reverence when they look at their newborns as the mother of a first child. This is by far the best part of doing what we do, to share in this, to meet these women at this vulnerable, gentle time, to encourage them and congratulate them.

I have often wondered if any of the moms we meet at Helderberg Hospital or Macassar end up abandoning their babies. We have all heard of the dreadful statistics of abandoned babies in the Cape. In…

June News

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Tim and Maz were away in Europe for two weeks during the month where they not only had chance to meet their new Grandson, Elijah, but also took time to visit the building/architect students in Stuttgart, along with their professor, which was great.
The remaining team headed up by Mel, Rob and Em did a fantastic job of ‘holding the fort’ but had to face some tough challenges especially with one of our children who was very sick.

Children’s Unit
During the month two of our nine children have been in hospital for long periods of time. Our wonderful 11 year old boy had a relapse and ended up back in the Red Cross children’s hospital in Cape Town where he received wonderful care to stabilise his lung condition. Unfortunately for us we felt it unwise to bring him back to the Village of Hope in Grabouw, based on our colder winter weather and higher altitude that could affect his health, but he has found a temporary home at Thembacare Athlone, which is one of our other Thembalitsha projects so w…

saying goodbye on youth day

yesterday was 'youth day' here in south africa, a day off for the school children and a day where the nation remembers the events of june 16th 1976...see last years post here, this year we were part of an outreach at a local farm where around 200 children joined us for some fun, sports games and food, however the weather put an early end to our day.

it was a bit of a mixed day for us as we said our sad goodbye's to our latest wonderful dutch sports students from the HAN university. we have been so blessed by the help we have received from djuri, jasper and talitha who have not only enabled us to continue the wonderful work of our sports outreach into the community each and every afternoon but they have developed our lifestyle (healthy living) programme which now sits within the daily programmes that we run with the children aged between 9 - 15 in 5 different areas of grabouw.

these guys will be sadly missed but we trust that they will succeed in all that they plan to do in t…

fathers day gifts?

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if you are anything like me, no not in the way that i am a tall long haired hippy who lives in south africa but some one who finds it really hard to find a suitable present for fathers day, then we have the answer to your problem.

the amazing uk marketing team (yes those 3 part time volunteers) have come up with a wonderful way to save a long and unsuccessful trip around your local town centre and have put together some very imaginative presents for you to purchase for your dad to help him realise he is someone very very special.

..now we must state that your dad won't actually receive the present, we will!, however if he wants to check he could get on a long flight to cape town to come and visit, which we would love for him to do, but we will promise that with the money raised from the sale of the items that appear on our thembalitshauk facebook site will go directly to the children that we are helping.

if you follow the link from our facebook page you will then see the items rangin…

more crazy fundraisers!

it seems that the summer weather in europe has encouraged a few more crazy people to step up and raise funds via different means for the work that we are doing out here in south africa....please visit the following links to the justgiving pages that have been set up to support the work that we are doing with children infected or affected by HIV, AIDS and TB.

andy and harry have set up two separate pages, no competition then guys! to raise funds as they ride from calias to laussane see harry's page here and andy's here.

mark lucas is walking up the three highest peaks in the UK in under 24 hours (or so he hopes), that happens this weekend so please visit his page here, with a wonderful photo of mark!

and some other crazy people are running the london 10k in july please visit and donate to their page here.

thanks to everyone who supports us, whether that's via a fundraising event, a one off donation or monthly giving, your money really does make a difference.

wanderers return

tim and maz have arrived back at the village of hope project after their short holiday in europe where they enjoyed catching up with family, meeting their new grandson, eli, and visiting the ukuqala team in their university city of stuttgart in germany. thankfully they didn't eat any cucumber whilst they were away but it now seems that beansprouts were the things to avoid anyway!

they arrived back to find a busy village of hope, during their time away two girls from england, both called rebbecca, a young lady from the USA who is going to be working with thandi at thembacare and returning volunteer tyler had arrived. unfortunately one of our new little girls had been taken into hospital with TB meningitis and the team have been running around trying to care for her and her mother who is also very sick with AIDS.

the village of hope is also once again without internet, the phonelines were stolen at the end of last week so our updates and replies to emails will be limited (i am current…