Dear Family and Friends~
Good Evening from South Africa! I am here at the internet cafe in Mafikeng in perfect weather and lovely fall color. We have now been here for three days, and we are thoroughly enjoying our time here.
We are living in a house that is across the street from Top Village, a large area of land where 10,000 people live in corrugated steel huts/shacks. The paradox here is stark- a normal American suburban neighborhood is literally next to fields that look like they are from a dump.
We have visited AIDS patients in their homes with caretakers from Helping Hands and seen the conditions in which they live. We saw the pickup truck (called a bucky) with blankets in the back that is used to transport patients to the local clinic. The Helping Hands workers here are amazing. They work with such attitudes of grace and patience in really hard conditions.
We also visited a local clinic. It is a drive of around 10 kilometers from Top Village, and it serves 5 villages with a total population of 30,000 people. The most common form of transportation for the people here is their feet, followed by a wheelbarrow. When we first arrived, I thought that no one was at the clinic because I was used to looking for cars to show how busy a place is. We walked in, and found the waiting room full of 30-40 mothers with their infants at 9:15 am. There were a few wheelbarrows out front. They treat around 3,400 people each month with a staff of 6, including two nurses, an assistant, and a doctor who visits once a week for part of the day.
We have done two days of Vacation Bible School. Yesterday, we had around 50 kids. This morning we visited the local school in the village, and had somewhere around 150 kids today. Unfortunately, I chose a time- and skill- intensive craft, and we had a difficult time helping even a third of the kids at a time finish it. They seemed to enjoy the games, skits, and Bible stories, though. We are trying to figure out how to prepare for tomorrow when we have been told that we will have many more tomorrow.
Thank you all for your prayers. I really appreciate them as I try my best to lead our group on short notice. (Shawn, one of the ASU XA campus pastors, will not be here until Thursday because of passport issues. I have been very thankful for past experiences in Mexicali and God’s grace!!)
Please feel free to leave questions in the comments section, and I’ll try to answer them.
Much love, Angela