Showing posts from 2012

the village continues to bring ho ho hope!

it has been another amazing year here at the village of hope, we continue to see God's provision to us as we seek to serve the community of grabouw especially focusing on those infected or affected by HIV, AIDS and TB, all of which are rife in our town.

we could spend a whole blog post about the wonderful things that have happened this year, all the stories of the children that we have helped to find a stable family to go home to live with or those that we are still seeking to help via our children's unit, we could talk about the provision of a new building provided by the students from stuttgart university or the people carrier bought with funds from our friends in england and the dutch charity 'wings of support'. we could provide a long update on the sports outreach which has grown from strength to strength, now engaging with more local mentors who have been supported by the students from the HAN university in holland but all that would take such a long time, so we ur…

If only

In our work, we meet women every day. To work or volunteer for Bosom Buddies, means you need to have a love and compassion for women, particular mothers.  Often it is very rewarding and even heartening, but for the most part it is terribly frustrating and exasperating. As we prepare for the festive season, doing our Christmas shopping, I am even more aware of the need and misery that surrounds me. I am frustrated with a system that does not support our mothers. For us here in the trenches, we continue trying to keep our heads above water, treading fiercely on behalf of the women we serve as well. But where are our leaders? I am not exaggerating when I say that almost every woman I meet from the township is abused and suppressed by husbands/fathers/brothers or, mostly, by absent men who refuse to support them financially. The women have no power, no say, are often sexually abused or even just so desperate for love that they let go of all instruction with regards to HIV and birth contro…

a visit from everynation london pastors

this morning we welcomed our great supporters and pastors of the everynation church, who we have strong links with in hammersmith, london, wolfi and ali, onto the village of hope. they visited with wolfi's mum and sister as well as their children and a neice and we trust that they could see how God has worked through us since their last visit nearly two years ago.

they are such a blessing to us, we value their support, both financially via the adopt a cot scheme, and spiritually, they also bless us by providing us with support at thembalitshauk via a member of their congregation, liz lugt, who is on the thembalitshauk board back in england.

sports outreach year ends at the beach....

the children who attend our sports outreach programme are now on their summer holiday's and to celebrate the end of another amazing year we have taken around  70 of the 250 children who attend our seven weekly clubs to the beach over the last four afternoons...

...i know that sounds idyllic but to have the worry to ensure that not only do the children travel safely down the long and winding mountain pass that we have to negotiate between grabouw and the seaside town's of strand and gordon's bay but also make sure that they all have a great time playing in the water, which for some it might be the first time they have ever visited, then its not all plan sailing!

however everything went well, the weather was fantastic, the sea a perfect temperature for the kids to enjoy a dip and food provided by the dutch students, pancakes (pannenkoeken), which for some children were the first time they have eaten such a delight was all very special.

our amazing HAN students yoram and annemei…

December News

It is the festive season, a time of joy and celebrations, but also a time of stress, chaotic schedules and financial pressures. Bosom Buddies owes a huge thanks to our supporters and partners of 2012. I’d like to name a few:

•Kimberly Clark donated a truckload of sanitary towels, saving us thousands and allowing us to safeguard our mothers’ dignity.

•ATS collected and delivered this truckload of sanitary towels, as well as make monthly contributions to our project and always being at our functions – thank you guys, it has been a pleasure getting to know you.

•Friends who support the project financially – Elize Buitendag, Nadia Pickering and the Novitzkas fam, as well as loads of you who stay anonymous. (These are also the girls who keep me sane and always there to listen, invaluable!).

•Operation Shoebox for all those gorgeous gifts every Christmas and the blankets and soft toys every winter, thanks guys and gals, you make us smile.

•The Thembalitsha board members that help make up my Mile…

December News

Our Market day was a great success. It was supported by the whole farming community For example, family, friends, farm owners, community workers, local businesses and people living in the community. We raised R3000 while spending only R100. We are so grateful for the support from the Farm owners and local businesses.  Your generosity is making a difference.

The support from the community continued at our Graduation and Concert. We had about 180 people present. This was an exciting time for Graceland but also a sad time as we are now saying goodbye to our 4-5 year old class. They are leaving Graceland to go to Grade R.  We wish them all the best and pray that God would guide and protect them on their new journey. We would like to thank Devon Valley Hotel for providing us with eats for the evening, Devon Valley Primary for providing us with sound, chair and tables and also Mr. & Mrs. Ruest for putting up the curtain railing.  We really appreciate you.

At our last session for the year…
Learners from School of Hope show “Hospitality” to ITS Solar, generous donors of the Thembalitsha Foundation.

The Grade 11 Hospitality Studies  Class of 2012 presented their final practical, a three-course meal, to one of the Thembalistha Foundation’s loyal supporters, ITS Solar who are South Africa's leading heat pump and solar water heating supplier.

Learners set a beautiful table and served the company's employees a tantalising menu comprised of a trio-of-fish starter and a hint of Moroccan cuisine for the main meal. The lunch ended off on a sweet note with a raspberry trifle topped with berry compote.  Learners had an opportunity to practice their silver service and culinary skills on worthy guests. They also shared some of their inspirational stories.
 In a much-appreciated thank you letter, Director Riaan Honeyborne had this to say:

"Ons by ITS-Solar wil net vir julle baie dankie se vir die ete wat julle vir ons voorberei en bedien het. Dit was baie lekker gewees en jul…

Themba Training: December 2012 News

We had a blessed this year from volunteers visiting to our sponsors making sure that ThembaCare name is mentioned out in the community. We need to say a big thank you to Two-a-Day for the donations we received from their staff for World AIDS Day day as well as the beautiful flowers and also to Pineview Primary for the much needed soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes. They might seem like boring basics but these kind of donations are practical and very welcome!

Last, but not least, to our loyal staff: THANK YOU for every minute you put in to making ThembaCare a success, for your dedication towards our clients and their families. May this festive season be blessed!

Thembacare Training: An Unfortunate Car Accident (December 2012)

November 2012 has been a very eventful month for Themba Training, with the main item of news being an unfortunate car accident.

Most Fridays, Patson accompanies our students to sell their wares on the farms in the greater Boland district. Not only is this a lucrative exercise for our students, but also gives Patson the opportunity to mentor them in the art of selling. On Friday evening ,16 November, Patson and four of the students were returning on the N2 from Grabouw when another vehicle slammed into the bakkie at high speed. Three of the students had to be rushed to hospital, two were discharged within days and another spent 15 days in the hospital with a badly damaged leg. The photo below shows the damage to Patson’s bakkie. It's a miracle that no one was more seriously injured, and we remain grateful for God’s protective hand in this.
The bakkie was loaded with bags of clothes and pillows/cushions which are sold on the farms. I believe these items absorbed much of the impact a…

December News

The children’s unit continues to roll along with the gentle flow of admissions and discharges.

Our little characters always keep us on our toes and bring smiles to our faces as they blossom in the loving environment our House Moms provide.
Hearing them pick up the English, Afrikaans and Xhosa languages is always a marvel and put us oldies to shame!
The school children had an outing to Bird World which they thoroughly enjoyed and were involved in an end of term presentation. One little girl received a certificate for 100% attendance. So proud!

We again had two children successfully placed into loving homes. The first was a little girl who spent a couple of months with us and whose mother sadly died whilst the child was in our care. The grandmother from the Eastern Cape was willing and able to take on the responsibility of this dear little girl and over one weekend an aunt travelled the 12-hour journey to Grabouw, collected the child and made the return trip!! What a mission! - but it demo…

wonderful news of our 29th home placement

yesterday we experienced the end of one of the most amazing stories that we have seen at the village of hope and what we trust will be the start of the next part of the story for our wonderful 5 year old girl who has been with us since almost the opening day back in early 2009. fact this little girl, who is HIV+ and also suffers from foetal alcohol syndrome, has spent most of her life within the thembalitsha projects, we were blessed to provide a home for her after our sister project, thembacare athlone, had stabilised this little one who came to us needing to take her fluids via a tube into her stomach.

her development has been a joy to watch, from her first day at pre-school to the time when we found a long lost great aunt who said she was willing to provide a stable home for this little girl following the death of the mother from AIDS earlier in the year.

the work that was done not only my mommy maz but also sister portia from thembacare grabouw, who has been visiting the great …

making pepernoten

yesterday our social work student, marlies, took some time to make a traditional dutch biscuit, called pepernoten, which are made around this time of year, with our older girls. they really enjoyed making and baking these biscuits which were to be their present from sinterklaas and swarte piet who give out gifts on the 5th december in holland....its all double dutch to me but they had fun all the same....

HOPE2012 and our world AIDS day event it's nearly here

for those of you who haven't heard we are hosting an amazing music event called HOPE2012 here in grabouw this coming saturday....what has been billed 'the biggest south african world AIDS day music event' will be taking place at the elgin country club with major south african bands, the parlotones and watershed headlining an afternoon and evening of quality music just down the road from two of our projects, the village of hope and thembacare grabouw, which have picked up the challenge of the AIDS pandemic in south africa.

our friends at goodhope fm have taken up the batten partnering with us to raise the profile of the work that thembalitsha are doing across the western cape and with the support of our round table (who will be running the beer tent) and local vineyards who will be serving some of the amazing wine that is produced right here in the beautiful overberg we hope that people will see the good work that is going on in our lively little town.

for those of you in sou…

lots of 'rainbow smiles' at the beach...

on friday we spent an eventful afternoon with the children from our HIV support group, 'rainbow smiles', as we took them to the beach at gordons bay...eventful in many ways, for some of the children this was the first time at the beach, somewhat crazy to think that it's less than 20 minutes from their homes but in their world it's a million miles from their day to day surroundings. eventful as hardly any of them had a change of clothes, let lone swimming kit and a beach towel, not an everyday item when you live in a home with no running water or electric, eventful as we blessed them with a visit to the ice cream parlor and gave them the option to chose a flavour....not something that many of them have ever had the chance to do before, eventful as some of the ice creams ended up in the sand!.....eventful in the fact that rob's faithful landrover broke down just as we arrived at the beach and we had to not only tow that to the garage but also try to work out how we t…

our biggest sports saturday yet!

on saturday we hosted our biggest sports day ever at the elgin country club. our weekly sports outreach clubs have been growing in number over the last 6 months and the investment we have made with our sports mentors being a huge influence on that. as has become custom we like to bring all the children that we work with at the different clubs together for a whole morning of fun and games, based around our soccer (football) and netball teams.

i hope that i'm not taking anything away from any of the other sports saturday's that we have run by saying that this was not only the biggest, with a total of 198 children attending, around 140 was our previous highest, but also the best organised. as with all things you hope to improve and some of the lessons we have learnt in the past were overcome and even with a smaller team of volunteers compared to the past we were able to host a bigger event which is a real testimony to those who helped.

a big thank you must be given to the dutch stu…

3rd birthday......

yesterday we held a huge party for the boy who has been with us since he was five days old, it was his 3rd birthday and the house moms, our volunteers and even two his little friends who had spent time with him at the village of hope before their discharge back to their families were able to join him in making the day special.

we love this little one but continue to pray for a favorable outcome in what is a complex case.

our 28th home placement follows quickly

not only did we place our 27th child home with either their own family or into long term foster care on friday but today we have the wonderful news that we have now found an adoptive family for our 28th child.

we can't say too much about the case as it is a little complicated but please know that whilst we are sad to see this little one go we thank God that a secure and loving home has been found, and we send the child off with the knowledge that we provided the care that was needed at this point of their life and we were able to love and nurture them in our wonderful children's unit

our 27th home placement

saying goodbye is always hard, especially if we have little expectation of seeing our successfully placed children again, however we do rejoice that we have now placed our 27th child back home with their family which is amazing testimony to maz and her team in the children's unit here at the village of hope.

this last little girl, of 2 years, is been taken to stay with her aunt in the transkei, the tribal homelands of the xhosa people. the aunt made the 12 hour journey down to grabouw in a taxi and the girl is now well on her way to her new home, we wish them well and will continue to pray for her.

food need outweighs flashy headgear!

late last week i was able to bless two of our sports mentors with a wonderful gift that was donated from our latest team who visited us from the united states. the gift was a sports cap with built in flashlight which is not only a cool accessory, maz has one so as not to wake me when she is reading at night!, but will make such a difference for our two mentors as they struggle to complete their school homework in their dark and electricity free tin shack in the iraq informal settlement in grabouw.

the boys were very pleased to receive this gift but once i had presented them with their cool hats, see photo, they asked if there was any way that i could help them out as they didn't have any, yes any, food in their home for that evening suddenly stuck me that although they received a $30 cap which would help them in the future their immediate need was to put some food on the table!

as a charity thembalitsha don't encourage us to provide hand outs, we are seeking to …

Themba Training: A Visit to Finland (October 2012)

At the end of last month, Patson and I had the pleasure of visiting Finland. We were invited by FSAA (Finnish South Africa Association) who are our main sponsors. Only two of us were invited and unfortunately Lionel and Malibongwe could not fit into our suitcases! The main purpose of the trip was to speak at a conference and also to meet those who for a number of years have faithfully supported Themba Training. We wined and dined with ambassadors, church leaders and a number of very interesting people. Patson found Helsinki “too much cold” but I really enjoyed the city.

FSAA did exceptionally well in extending amazing hospitality and our days were action-packed with visits to government departments, leaders in the educational sectors, church leaders and others. We also enjoyed an evening with “important people” including the South African ambassador to Finland. I found it especially interesting as I was introduced to a few men who were very involved during the 60-80’s in the struggle…

October News

This month we want to make sure we say a couple of public ‘thank you’s! Firstly to Distell for the basic computer training that they offered two of our teachers at Graceland during the September school holidays.  This empowers the teachers and increases the quality of the children’s pre-school foundations.

Secondly, at our High Tea in March, Rosmarie Ruest heard about Graceland Pre-school for the first time.  Since the event she and her husband have donated doormats, three washbasins with plumbing, new toilet seats, shelves in each classroom, hooks for the children’s bags, hand towels, three first-aid kits and puzzles.  They have not only donated things but they have also given of their time.  Mr. Ruest worked with our Caretaker to put up the hooks, shelves, fix the toilet seats and do the plumbing for washbasins. So thank you Mr. and Mrs. Ruest from Kyburg Farm! We appreciate the effort you have put in to make Graceland a safe and beautiful school to be at for our children. May God bl…

October News

This past month Bosom Buddies was proud to be invited to participate in the Health Summit at Macassar Day Hospital. The Health Summit had the purpose of educating the community in services the clinic offers, but more than this, it was an educational exercise in teaching the community about taking their health and the health of their children seriously.

It was both adorable and encouraging to see groups of school children getting their teeth checked by the clinic dentist and taught how to brush and clean properly, all of them leaving the clinic with a brand new toothbrush and toothpaste.

We stepped into our role of educating mothers. Bosom Buddies was allocated the responsibility of teaching those present on the dangers of drinking, smoking and taking drugs whilst pregnant. We also of course continued with our breastfeeding drive, promoting the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.
I would like to thank our wonderful volunteers from the US, who spent three days painting our sewing room and…

Thembacare Grabouw: October 2012 News

This month the workers in parliament dipped into their own pocket and bought ThembaCare Grabouw a much-needed hoist to assist us with lifting patients in and out of bed. This should certainly prevent us getting any back injuries and make it much safer for the patients too! We are very grateful for their generosity.

We still care for 418 clients in and around Grabouw and we have had six patients in the inpatient unit this month.

October News

Once again this month has flown by! It doesn't seem a minute since we were in England celebrating Maz's big birthday with friends and family and we are already at the end of October and thinking about Christmas! At least the sun is starting to warm our bodies again and the blossom on the fruit trees on our surrounding farms is a sight to behold. However winter has one final fling since we returned - we awoke last week to a snowy view of the local mountains!

We firstly want to thank the core team here at the Village who allowed us to spend some much needed time away with the confidence that the day-to-day stuff would be undertaken. Thanks Rob, Em, Tim, Mel, the amazing house moms and maintenance team you really are all stars!

As always our children's unit remains our main focus, however there always seems to be something to fix and this month we have had to sort out the septic tank which is used by the children. This wasn't a pleasant task but with the help of our local p…

providing new hope to another child in need...

some days the day to day chores that come with running a home for 9 children infected or affected by HIV, AIDS and TB, along side our daily sports and health awareness programmes into the local formal and informal settlements, can become so overwhelming that we have little time to really stand back to see the ways in which we are really making a difference to the people we have been called to work with..

...however there are some days where our eyes are opened to the amazing work that is undertaken at the village of hope, and today is one of those days as we successful see the fruits of the work of placing stabilised children home with families.....what do i mean by that?....

...well due to the recent successful placements of some of our longer term children (see their stories by clicking here, or here, or here) we have been able to create some more bed space to provide accommodation for more needy children, and today we are back up to our full compliment as we have welcomed another 2 y…

a visit by a flying dutchman..

we are so grateful to all our sponsors and donors who enable us to undertake the work that we feel called to at the village of hope, many of you give funds help with the day to day running costs, which cover our house moms salaries, children's food bills, electric and vehicle maintenance etc etc but sometimes people give to a specific project or requirement.

it is also really really great when those who donate can come and make a visit to see where their hard earned cash is being spent and last week we had such a visit from henk from the charity 'wings of support' who had blessed us with part of the funds that we used to purchase our new minibus (see previous blog around that here).

wings of support as a charity set up and run by employees of the dutch airline KLM and it was good for henk to meet up with one of dutch students, marlies, who is studying with us for 10 months working around her social work degree.

thanks wings of support and thanks henk for making the time to co…

visits from local dignitaries

sorry that we have been so quiet since we returned home, but for those of you that follow us via this blog or have visited the village of hope project here in grabouw you will know that our days and therefore weeks seem to run away with us. added to that but just before we returned from england my (tim) laptop's hard drive gave up the ghost so i have been without my own internet connection which has hindered my prolific blogging!....however that is a poor excuse so whilst maz is enjoying an evening at the school of hope awards i thought i would share a bit of news, prior to the october newsletter which will be out soon, this majors around our appearance on the front and middle pages of last weeks local newspaper, the elgin grabouwer.

i say we appeared as in the royal we, meaning both thembacare and the village of hope, but news is news and we are so closely linked to our sister project that the we is really we....anyway the front page news was the fact that following their mandela…

new arrivals....

myself and maz have only just arrived back to our wonderful village of hope project here in grabouw and we have been greeted by two sets of new arrivals. firstly our little cat, called quiet simply 'Cat' (as opposed to her sister who is called 'Other Cat') has had her first litter of kittens, 5 in all which might prove a little more difficult when coming to name them!....however the greatest event to happen since we returned home was this morning as we were able to offer a new home to a dear little 3 year old girl who is in need of some safe care whilst she is stabilised from a medical condition.

as with all things related to our children we can't provide you with her name or a full face photo but please know that given the circumstances she is doing very well and we will ensure that we provide the best care we can as she stays with us on a 3 month court order.

the hope (as with all our children) is that we will be able to place her home with some loving family membe…

Thembacare Grabouw: September 2012 News

At this time of year we begin to ask ourselves whether we are on target for all the things we want to accomplish this year. This is how things look so far: Our IPU have had 59 patients this year of which only 13 have died. For us this is an accomplishment and our 16 ladies in the Out Patient Unit are still looking after over 400 patients in the community. We are also very happy to have a smartly painted and improved building to work in. On top of that some of our staff have been blessed with new children themselves: Anna, Thandeka, and Jo-Anne have all had daughters and we wish them well with their new additions. So far, so good!

With a short holiday coming up at the end of this week we also just want to say a big thank you to our trusty locum staff. It means a lot to have a well deserved break and to know that the good work will continue while some of us are away on holiday.

September News