Greetings to all,
Here is my monthly, semimonthly, quarterly(almost) update.
As school progressed from September, we had weekly increasing English classes, never knowing who or how many would be showing up each day, though we tried keeping a register and having parents sign up for the classes. The days ended up always different from our lesson plans, but I think progress was made by most of the children.
We had a used Xerox machine donated in October, for which we pay only a small fee per copy, and supply our own paper. It has made a big difference in us being able to provide material and homework papers for the children, though most of the kids never get homework at school, so it has taken a bit of work to get them to understand that they must finish the assigned lessons and bring them back for correction. One 12 year old girl gave us several outstanding completed lessons, which we used for encouraging the other students until we found out her parents were doing the lessons, and that she, in fact, was one of the students who needed the most help.
English classes ended in December when school holidays started. Our next 3 weeks were filled with Christmas parties for the various groups (BCC church children, BCC youth leaders, BCC open Christmas party for anyone in Bloekombos who wanted to attend, BCC adults who come for the meals, the 2 creches we help we work with, the Barcelona AIDS orphanage–along with crèche graduation parties for the one Faith was going to and the 2 creche’s which we have been assisting. They make a major deal of graduating from crèche into kindergarten here, with 2 of the graduations going on for over 5 hours from start to finish. They were quite the parties with lots of community folks involved, coming to see the action, and get in on the food served.
There were a couple incidents at BCC last month. The first was that Joan and Synteche were attacked by a group of girls who were upset about them befriending a girl who used to be in their gang. Both had bruises and small cuts, as Victor intervened through the Lord’s provision. The other was an attempted break-in at the small BCC container. The bad guys weren’t able to get the padlock completely off, so they ended up just stealing some of the wire fence which had been put up over the last year and which surrounds the 2 containers and the corrugated metal shack which was built about 1 year ago.
We have been making more contacts with people in the Cape Town area- mostly through Lorna Rutter’s initiatives- and are slowly developing plans and updates for BCC. One man recently started the installation of a commercial duty kitchen air extractor which should make the soup kitchen cooking much more comfortable in the summer and stop the dripping ceiling problem in the winter when the humidity is always high. He is doing this as a donation to BCC, as it was something Primrose had needed and desired, but was beyond our means of supplying.
We were getting ready to start English classes again after the summer break, but Primrose was just informed that the government would not let us do that with community children unless we worked through the schools. So we have decided to just work with the ones who already come to BCC church, and the leaders who are currently helping Primrose. That looks like the only way around the new regulations, which seem to us as unfair to the community children who used to come for classes and paid R30 (about $4) month for the lunch and classes. Anyway it’s out of our hands, as the only children we can now work with are ones who already have an affiliation with BCC. I think it will work out well, though it’s unfortunate that those children we had been working with over the last year will not be able to continue.
I’m working on getting my SA visa renewed for another 3 years, and realized that my US passport expires at the end of 2011, so will go to the consulate here for an appointment to renew it, and try for the SA visa renewal about the same time. Anyway I’ll be driving around and waiting in lines over the next several days getting all the paperwork done. Also just saw that my AAA International Driving Permit is expiring so I’m also getting paperwork, etc. done for that.
I’ll be coming back to Denver/Canon City mid-April through mid-May, so I can see my niece Karen before she leaves for Guam, and celebrate my Mom’s 93rd birthday in early May.