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Showing posts from July, 2011

soccer balls supa quick!

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over the last few years we have been blessed with a constant supply of soccer balls, we have received them from various different sources, FNB (first national bank), BP (petrol station) and various donations from volunteers, this has meant that we have never been in desperate need. however with around 150 children benefiting from our sports outreach programme each week we do tend to need a huge amount of balls, especially if we are doing drills where each child has their own ball. with that and the fact that we do like to bless our most regular kids with a ball that they can play with on the days we aren't in their area, so our 'stocks' tend to deplete very quickly.

at the back end of last month we were discussing whether we needed to set aside some of our cash to go and purchase some balls from the local sports shop to restock our bags but as i was buying some tyres from the local supa quick in grabouw i got chatting with the manager there about how they could help us as w…

precious 11 year old boy returns to village of hope

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for those of you who have been following the story of the village of hope since the beginning or if you have ever visited our project you will know of our wonderful 11 year old boy who seems to capture every ones heart. his story is one that could be made into a movie, he has complex medical condition (which has been documented in an up and coming book about paediatric palliative care) and since arriving at the village of hope in may 2009 from our thembacare unit in athlone he has been in and out of the red cross children's hospital in cape town with various problems.

yesterday myself (tim) and maz had a 2 hour meeting with the various paediatric, infectious diseases and pulmonary doctors at the red cross hospital who are still very concerned about his condition but were happy to allow us to take him 'home' for his ongoing palliative care. he still needs to be given oxygen 24/7 but we feel that we can maintain his medical needs and are so happy that he is back with us.

he sa…

first day at school (for our 4 year old)

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this time last year we were able to providing a home to two brothers who had been staying at our thembacare unit in cape town, there was hope that these two could have been reunited quickly with their sister, who is staying at another care home, however as with many of our children's cases these things don't happen as quickly as we would like. their mother is now very very sick and it looks like we might be responsible for these two precious boys for a lot longer than we first thought.

as we didn't expect to have them for so long we held back from placing the oldest one at the local preschool as we didn't want to take up a space that could be used by another child who would be in greater need, however with the change of events maz felt that it would be best (not only for the 4 year old boy who is getting extremely bored by having to stay at home at the village of hope all morning with all the babies when the other older children are at school, but also for our house mom…

It does matter.

Remember the granny I mention in my previous blog? She is raising twin boys and had to give up her job in order to take care of them. I admire her love and dedication. She has since legally adopted the two boys and so the mother has no claim on them. This is important for the security of the boys, but also for the woman (and her husband) raising the two. They are giving them their all – all the love you and I can imagine that anyone will have for their own children and so much expense too, and the risk that maybe one day they can lose them is just agonizing. So the boys are now officially theirs, with all that entails.

Granny left the hospital with some gifts from Bosom Buddies, including a bucket with 10 organic cotton nappies. As we all know, disposable nappies are very expensive and also not great for the environment, so we thought it pertinent to rather give them cotton nappies as a gift, plus some etra clothes, blankets and products. Since they were premature, they stayed, with th…

fence and post stolen again

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have you ever heard the term 'don't bite the hand that feeds you', well that's exactly how we were left feeling over the weekend as we once again found that our fence and posts had been stolen from the southern edge of our property.

the people we serve have desperate lives, which drive them to seek out anything that they can sell for food, drink or drugs to take their mind off the existence that makes up their lives...however what is very hard for us is that it seems like we give with one hand and they bite the other.

i am sure that this is nothing vindictive, but the money that we will now have to spend on replacing the fence, which we installed to provide us and the children we look after with some protection, could have been spent on staff wages, kit for our sports outreach clubs or food for the children!...it's a tough call and a tough world...

mom's plea as home burns down

we have had a sms (text message) from a mom of one of our 'discharged' children to say that her tin shack burnt down and she is now staying with neighbours. the winter weather, wind and rain has returned to grabouw and people are struggling just to keep warm.

this mom lost everything in the fire, clothes, food, bedding etc, these people have such tough lives anyway without this kind of thing bringing more pain and misery to their lives. we (voh) will be helping out where we can with a small food parcel and some new (second hand) clothing but this type of event is a daily burden that we face....please stand with us as we seek the best way to help those infected or affected by HIV, AIDS and TB.

arron and tyler start the plastering

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after a succesful test patch we are now confident that the lime, sand and straw plaster mix is ready to be applied to the inside of the new house built by the team from stuttgart university earlier this year.

arron and tyler are now busy getting their hands dirty and applying the mix onto the straw walls. this might take some time, but we hope that once this is completed we will be able to re install the kitchen and then start moving rob and emily (our long term volunteers) into their new home. thus freeing up space in the short term volunteers accommodation.

mid-cities team enjoy their week long trip

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last saturday morning we were joined by 7 young ladies from the mid-cities church in midland, texas, joined us at the village of hope for a week long stay, during the week they were able to bless our community in many different ways, on wednesday afternoon they lead the service at thembacare, grabouw, and gave out goodie bags to our staff, they also helped out with a sports outreach in iraq squatter camp, played with our wonderful babies and children in the unit and completed some much needed maintenance around the 'farm'.

for some of them it was their second visit to work with thembalitsha and for others it was their first time, we were once again sad to say our goodbyes as they made their long trip home, but we hope to see them again in the very near future.

Themba Training: July 2011 News

by Francois Heunis, Project Manager at Themba Training

On 1 April this year, I joined the Themba Training staff as project manager. I have enjoyed getting to know the staff of four musketeers – John, Patson, Lionel and Mali. We really are a Rainbow Nation team! But, sadly, John will be leaving the team in August.

During the first six months of 2011, we have continued to train small business entrepreneurs using the Micro MBA course. At the end of May, we had much fun at the Mfesane venue in Old Crossroads as we celebrated with those who successfully graduated. Patson and Mali have already started training the second intake of students for the year.

In August, Lionel will train a group of about 16 men (between ages 18-25) from the Salesian Institute in Green Point Cape Town. The Institute exists to train young men who were either in prison, have no homes, or live on the streets. They offer training such as carpentry, metal work, etc. – many of these men won’t find jobs unless they start…

July News

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After the relative austerity of the June exams, the School of Hope has been at the epicentre of a whirlwind of activity.

The drama team, who has been practising daily, on weekends and after school, was invited to perform their play …. at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The play, written by our own isiXhosa and Arts&Culture teacher, Sibongiseni Myana, is a moving tale of a young girl’s spiritual journey. It is also a challenge to Africa to return to the spirit of ubuntu. As I write this, the group of five learners and three educators have settled into accommodation in Grahamstown and have spent the day marketing their play in the town centre, in preparation for their week of performances.

Most touching is the effect this venture has had on the learners involved. Lindsay Henley, director of BethU’riel, home to one of the young men, Xolani, said she has never seen him so enthusiastic and committed to school since his involvement in the play. Shy and reserved Grace and soft-s…

July News

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I know it often seems that we are having a terrible time and that each visit to the hospital is wrought with emotion, pain and sadness but we visit new mothers, and that in itself is filled with joy and hope.


What I find the most incredible of all, is that these women, these mothers, are so overcome with love, awe and affection for their newborns. God and nature are such an incredible force that the love we all have for our babies is instant and overwhelming and pure.  But so is the anxiety and fear and anger when things go wrong.


When I meet people without children, it is hard to explain this wonderment and love to them. I know women who have adopted and their love is by no means any less than those of us who have ‘natural, biological’ kids. The only thing they don’t experience is the birth, whether by caesaerian or natural, and with it, that first few hours of getting to know the new baby, this human being that has for 9 months lived inside of you and is a WHOLE person. That’s incredi…

July News

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The roles were reversed this month as Tim and Maz took over from Rob and Em who, along with their two children, made a 4-week trip back to England. Mel, Arron and Johan also maintained the balance of the Village of Hope and we were joined by two longer term volunteers from USA, Britton and Tyler as well as two mission teams. The first team were from Jesmond, Newcastle, England who stayed with us for just under 3 weeks or other team, made up of 7 ladies were from the Mid Cities church in Texas. Yes it has been a very busy time!


Children’s Unit
We still await the return of our wonderful 11 year old boy from his short but much needed stay at Thembacare Athlone. Unfortunately even that team couldn’t prevent him from needing to return to the Red Cross children’s hospital in Cape Town where he had another relapse. His prognosis isn’t great but we really want to make his time special if he is to pass on and we are making all the plans we can to ensure he enjoys his stay with us back ‘home’ at …

new boy is placed at the village of hope

today we had the opportunity to offer a short term home for a 9 month old boy who is in need of our help due to some unfortunate family circumstances.

it's always good to know that we can offer new hope (thembalitsha means 'new hope' in the xhosa languague) to a child, whether they stay with us for a short 3 month placement or over a longer period, however it's hard to understand the social, medical and cultural issues that the family are facing that mean that we have to provide this home.

we ask you to pray for the family as they seek to get their lives back on track to provide this baby boy with a stable home for his most important years.

new village of hope accommodation video

we were so blessed to have the team from stuttgart university come not only to build but to fund and design the new accommodation here at the village of hope. the team kept a record of the progress of the building and have produced a short one minute 30 second video to show how the house literally came up out of the ground.

please visit a link to the video by clicking here, you will see our little jack russel, bruno, makes a brief appearance as well....i miss that little dog so much!

making hay (sorry firewood) whilst the sun shines!

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it might be winter here but we are enjoying some very warm weather at the moment, however when the sun sets it's getting really cold, hence the need to cut some of our tall pine trees to create so much needed firewood.

arron, tyler and johan have been busy felling some of our older pine trees, please pray for them as they do so!

village of hope goes wimax with telkom...an end to cable theft?!

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over the last three years we have suffered cable theft of our telephone lines on too many occasions, as you can imagine for a unit that cares for children infected or affected by HIV, AIDS or TB this severely limits our ability to  communicate with the wider health and social services...this is compounded by the fact that most of the organisations that we work with still operate on a phone and fax method of communication so email via a cell phone (mobile phone) isn't even an option.

we also try to provide our volunteers with access to the internet, where contact with 'home' is vital to their sanity, therefore there was great rejoicing last week when telkom confirmed that we were being considered for connection to their wimax (wireless phoneline) technology. all we need to confirm was that we were in line of sight of one of their transmitters and we would be linked up.....as anyone who has visited the village of hope knows the mountain range that surround our town has a famo…

4th of july at the village of hope

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this morning we were greeted by a rendition of 'the star spangled banner' by two of our three volunteers from the USA who are celebrating some sort of independence day?!, they have been busy making crowns and flags with the children and can be seen here with some of the house moms on what must be a very special day for them.

later we are going to be having a 'braaibbq' (yes that is a word) with hot dogs and hamburgers (all the way from hamburg, which is in germany!), along with lots of scary fireworks which i am sure the children will love, we hope!.

to all our american volunteers (i mean those from north america, not including canada), where ever you are in the world, we just want you to know that we are thinking about you today...no really we are!

saying goodbye again...

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we are totally blessed to have so many wonderful volunteers and students who come to serve us at the village of hope project, however as with most good things time catches up with us and departure dates arrive all too soon.

last night we had a good bye braai for one of our dutch students, evelien, who has been with us for the last 10 months as she studies 'social work' at the HAN university. evelien has become a firm favorite not only with the children in our unit but with those we have placed back into the community, she has also made some real ties with our house moms and key members of our team.

she also shares my keen interest in formula one and has been an ever present companion at the local bar where i watch most of the races. we will all miss evelien so much but wish her all the best for her future studies and hope that one day she will return to visit us again.