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Showing posts from August, 2012

August News

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Well we have certainly been battening down the hatches this month. The storms that have been blowing through here have been rather wild. We’ve had trees blowing down all over the property (thankfully not near buildings or people) and anything that has not been tied down has been found in a foreign place. Perhaps the biggest casualty on the farm has been a pre-fabricated shed, fondly known as The Cabin. We use it to store lots of bits and bobs and, though it has never been water-tight, it has always been good for some kind of storage……Not so now! After the wind and rain this weekend the poor old cabin is as flat as a pancake and the roof is nowhere to be seen! Thankfully Mel and her friend as well as two of our fabulously multi-talented House Moms, were on hand to move the items quickly out of the wet weather. Those girls do have some muscles on them! Now it’s down to the maintenance team to sort out somewhere to store all the homeless items and clear up the mess!

We are having a giggle…

Thembacare Grabouw: August 2012 News

August was our coldest month here in Grabouw, with lots and lots of rain and snow capping the surrounding mountains. Despite the hostile weather our home-based care ladies still continue to be true to their calling and are making daily visits to our patients on foot. We have also managed to continue with a lot of refurbishments and this month, thanks again to the Gerald Wright Trust, the whole of the outside of our building now has a fresh coat of paint. It looks very smart!

The inpatient unit has had a mixed month. We sadly lost a patient who gave up the battle with HIV but also happily we were able to send home another patient who had arrived less than a month ago with a very low CD4 of 8. She looks happy and healthy and to see the thanks in her little daughter and mother’s eyes makes our jobs all the more worthwhile. CD4 is a way of measuring the amount of white blood cells your body has for fighting an infection. A person with a normal CD4 is around 1500 to 2000 so you can imagine…

August News

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This month the teachers at Graceland celebrated Women's day with some of the mothers of Graceland at Middelvlei farm in Stellenbosch. A special speaker from Paarl, Hawaqua Youth Prison addressed the women of Devon Valley on women and drug abuse and how to handle it and find help.  The teachers were able to engage with parents and learn something new.

Two staff members are currently taking part in an exciting Leadership and Management programme with Bronne Sentrum. It's only for the month of August but the knowledge gained will definitely add to the success of our school. Thanks to Bronne Sentrum we are able to uplift the staff and create an excellence within our management.

We also had a special visitor from the Stellenbosch Police Department who assisted us with teaching the children about PEOPLE WHO HELP US. It was amazing to see the children's response to the police as they are taught to fear the police by parents and family members. We had the opportunity to teach the ch…

August News

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This month we have interview Frances, the Project Manger of Bosom Buddies to find out what makes her tick:

What/How do you prefer to be called?
Frances Fuchs

Tell me about growing up – what were some of the influences in your life?
I was raised in a typical South African Afrikaans society. We were sheltered, spoilt with live-in ‘help’, conservative, church-going and happy. I was born in the 70’s in Pretoria and remember a happy care-free childhood.

My biggest influences were definitely my two grandfathers. I was very close to them both. My maternal grandfather, prof.  F.R. Tomlinson, was a well-known agricultural economist and loved me dearly. He died before I became fully aware of politics, but he LISTENED to me, even as a young girl, something I felt lacking in my other relationships with adults.

My paternal grandfather, Douglas Fuchs, was an actor and an artist. He fuelled my love for literature and debate. We used to spend many hours discussing books and Afrikaans literature.

I understan…

a new child and new student

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this seems to be a season of new things, today we bring you the exciting news that we have been able to provide a new home to a little boy (around 16 months old) with a very complex home situation. unfortunately his home (tin shack) was burnt down with a fatality and the young mom is unable to cope with everything during this trying time.....it is wonderful to be able to provide a place of safety for this child whilst his family situation is sorted by our local social workers.

speaking of social workers we are pleased to tell you of our most recent dutch student from the HAN university who will be with us for 10 months as we host her as a placement for her social work studies. the help and support that we receive from these students is invaluable and we look forward to the work that marlise will be providing the children who stay with us at the village of hope and also those who attend our rainbow smiles HIV support group.

new sport support from the HAN students

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over the last few years we have been blessed with a plethora of sports students who have been placed with us at the village of hope sports outreach project, it has been my honor to be the 'practical supervisor' for these students from the HAN university in nijmegen, holland, and we have not only been able to continue but also expand and extend our sports outreach, via better planning schedules and documentation, thus ensuring that the project continues long after the dutch students have returned home. this has been due to the work that we have developed for our sports mentors (peer educators) and this is something that the new students will continue to work towards.

this afternoon we held our first sports outreach with the new students, yoram and anna, who will be working with us for the next five months. the field was packed with children, some of them much too young to be able to understand the topic for the day, which was all based around planning for the future and how bein…

new vehicle of hope!

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over the last few months we have been in desperate need of a better larger vehicle to enable us to transport our children, both those who live with us at the village of hope and the children in the community, especially those who we pick up for our weekly rainbow smiles support group and our sports mentors as we complete our sports clubs at the local farms.

our 12 year old VW kombi had been giving us problems for quite a while and with it's temperamental backwards gear box and other quirks it proved to be more trouble than it was worth.

we need to thank both amanda and karlien who completed their ride from the village of hope to the lighthouse at cape agullas, our friends in england via the donations made to thembalitshauk, our dutch friends and the guys at Hyundai in somerset west that we are pleased to announce that we are now the proud owners of a H1, 9 seater vehicle, which is a real God send.

the children are really happy to be traveling to school in style, and everybody seems t…

another story of new hope

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we had quite an eventful friday afternoon, some of which i will update you on now and some we hope to bring you news of later, but just to say that we really saw the work that the team at the village of hope children's unit, ably lead by mommy maz, come into it's own.

the new hope story (for those who don't know 'thembalitsha' means 'new hope' in the local xhosa language) is that we were able to successfully discharge our 26th child into the care of her father who will be reuniting her with his family in the eastern cape (traditional xhosa tribal homelands around 1000kms from cape town).

this precious little 2 and a half year old girl had been in our care for around 9 months and we had been busy with the local social workers and those in the eastern cape to try to find a solution for her to return home, which is never a easy task, but we thank God for his amazing promises towards us and to the children we care for.

saying goodbye to a child is always a bitter …

just another (women's) day

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today we celebrated women's day here in south africa, it was a public holiday, even for the men and from what i saw it was mostly the women who were doing any work today....at least in the informal settlements around grabouw. i suppose it could have had something to do with the weather but it would seem that today wasn't a day to sit around and make the most of their day off, no it was a day to do all those chores that you don't normally get round to during the week.

maz bought flowers for each of our house mom's and for one of them, who is nearly thirty, this was the first time, yes you read it right, the first time that anyone had bought her flowers...she was so made up.

for our house mom's (and maz) it was business as usual in the children's unit, although maz did manage to get an hour off to go have a coffee with a friend mid morning....she has only just got home and is now busy preparing my evening meal and changing our bed as she managed to do some washing …

helping with some electric homework!

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what started out as a simple visit to our sports mentors to inform them that the rain had washed out any chance of running our sports outreach in the iraq/zwelitsha informal settlement this afternoon turned into an opportunity to help two young school girls with their homework.

after chatting with the guys around a very warm wood fire about the need for some more footballs to be donated for the sports outreach over a cup of ricoffe i was asked to take their sister and a friend to the local library to enable them to do their homework, when enquiring as to what their homework was about i was told that they needed to find out about electricity.....some what ironic that the tin shack that they live in doesn't have access to electricity, or basic sanitation for that matter, but i thought that it could be an opportunity for me to take them to visit the very local, and even more ironic, water turbine powered electricity plant which lies around 2kms from their home.

so we made the short tri…

electric upgrade!

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most of our post are centered around the work we do with the children in our unit or with those we work with in the local community, however today's news is a little more mundane but none the less important as we plan for the future of the village of hope.

i'm no electrician so you will have to bear with the limited amount of detail in this post but basically yesterday we had the completion of the first phase of our electrical upgrade, which included the whole of the supply from ESKOM (our electricity supplier) who increased our current 80amps up to 150amps, we also had to install a new thicker cable for the new power to come through, as well as a large distribution box with new fuse board.....

...most of that will have passed you by, as it did me, but what this means is that firstly tim berger got chance to play with some slightly heavier plant which included a trencher and overall it means that we are now able to connect up the ukuqala II building and plan for the next phase o…