What a great couple of weeks it has been with the Church of the Apostles, Atlanta STS youth group visiting us and interacting in the community. This group first visited Morning Star in 2007 when they were so touched by the needs in the community, particularly the orphans, that they went home and raised enough money to start an orphan feeding programme here, which is now supplying a lunch for over 300 children three times a week. Sadly last year they decided that Zimbabwe was not safe enough to visit due to the unrest in the country after the elections. However, this year they came back in full force! It was so good to meet the ‘returnees’ and add new friendships of ‘first-timers’. It was a great camp, although the nights were pretty cold. But no problem keeping warm around the fire with IPOD Idols creating much amusement! (I do think there was a bit of unfair judging, however…… but we will say no more about that!)
After sore muscles from laughing at the antics of the competitors, it was sharing around the fire and then bed, comfortable mattresses on our new bunks for most people. However, when I opened our bedroom door the next morning it was to this sight!
Amazing! The ground must have been so hard and dusty and COLD! You know what they say, “One man’s discomfort is another man’s luxury”. Sorry, that is a bit of a distortion of the original saying…… a Normarism! The (too few) days were filled with visiting and interacting with the orphans at the 3 feeding points, digging foundations here at the camp for a much needed store-room and visiting a few schools. At the one high school in the area where Young Life has been active they joined in a club that the Young Life leaders ran. It was a great time of music and skits. An observation made during the orphan visits was that the children are looking much healthier than on the first visit in 2007. Also better dressed as the group have always brought so many clothes to be distributed. This year Pierre organised for the group to finish off at a wilderness area at a ‘bush’ school called Falcon High School. Falcon is about 40 kilometres from Bulawayo and only caters for boys who all board at the school. One of the activities offered at the school is Falconry and we were able to enjoy a very interesting introduction and talk about Falcons from the Master in charge. When it was suggested that so
One of the facts we learnt was that the beak is not very strong on a Falcon! (Phew!)
Many of the group then took up the challenge and took the opportunity of holding one of these incredible birds Then it was farewell to the group as they headed down to South Africa and then home to Atlanta. Back we came to the ranch to pick up our daily routine which we had neglected while our guests were here. One of the first items on the agenda was visiting a disabled young lady who we had
been told writes poetry, holding a pen in her mouth. It was a very interesting visit, reading some of her poems and just observing her interaction within her family. The middle daughter of 8 children she was fortunate enough to attend a home for the disabled in Bulawayo. Now that she is home in her rural setting she spends large parts of her day reading books on a wide variety of subjects, (although she prefers fiction, she told us) and writing poetry. She is hoping to get a book published and had sent her best poems for a friend to edit. The poems she had for us to read were very touching and insightful. We have sent her some books from our home library and would like to help her with achieving her dream of seeing her poems published.
With all the business of the last month it has been easy to lose sight of the day to day cares of our neighbours and why we believe God has placed us back here ‘on the ground’ so suddenly. One of the photos we took clearly recaptured the reason for me. The expressions on the young boys’ faces in the picture below reminds me that our neighbours so need to have their dignity restored. These young orphans may be our future leaders, if they make it to adulthood without contracting Aids. Pray that they will be released from the bondage of poverty and that God may touch them in a very special way so their sadness can be replaced by boundless joy. How hard it is for us to receive charity. When you are caught in a life with few options you do not understand the blessing that someone else receives in the ‘giving’ - it is a hard pill to swallow. The Ladies Group who are meeting here every week at Morning Star were so excited when they received the payments for the fruits of their labour (the STS group purchased many of the items the ladies had made). Their response is ‘this will motivate us to keep going and work harder’. May God help all of us give where we can, however we can, if not with our hands then certainly with our prayers, hearts and our gifts. It is so very much our aim to help this community stand on their own feet. Sadly we still see many too old or too sick to fend for themselves. Although we have found that the people who can literally do the least are the ones who will send a small gift of fruit or a hand-woven mat in gratitude for food or clothing which they have received. God, please keep that alive in this country and don’t let unhealthy expectations abound. Oh dear, I see I am starting to write an epistle! I will leave you with one more picture!
Until next time, Norma