Sunday, October 18th to Saturday, October 24th, 2015
Two of the most important things for us this week were going to visit Batsirai and her son Lucky and daughter Kudzai. They are so very poor and live in a village outside of the Seshego township. Her husband not only left her destitute but sold the fridge and some household things to get himself some money before he left.
She is one strong mother now trying to make it and survive somehow. They don't have running water in the place they stay. I'd call it a home, but it's hardly that, windows out and unfinished rough cement floors and walls, etc.
We had been storing up some water in the 5 liter jugs we use for drinking water so we loaded them all up in our car and took them out to her so she could skip a few trips with her wheelbarrow going a long way to fetch water for their place. On the way we stopped at a KFC in Seshego and got a bucket of chicken for them. They were so very happy when we got there with it. As we unloaded it she got down on her knees with her hands together to thank us. Then her little two-year old daughter followed her example and did the same. It sort of tears your heart out to see such living conditions but yet with such humility and gratitude for any little thing we are so likely to take for granted.
Then we contrast that with a million dollar plus mansion that is being built on a lot just above the townhouse where we stay. We've watched this home being built from the ground up over the last six months or so. Here in South Africa even with the termination of apartheid there is still a terrible gulf between the rich and the poor.
Sadly, many of the rich are black Africans in control of money in government and the money intended to help the poor people just doesn't seem to make it down to the end of the row so to speak. But we've learned from many that this situation doesn't cause them to turn on other blacks, it seems they are taught if they can take or get something from the whites, mainly Afrikanners (and us as Americans) then that's okay to do. Thus the many property crimes, and occasional personal violence crimes take place.
As we take our morning walks around our very nice 24X7 guarded and secured housing area we see many new and nice homes under construction (they can build year around here because of the weather conditions). Many are built as 'slab-on-grade' homes without basements and most are two story homes. They just mark off the 'footprint' of the home with lime in the dirt and then dig out for the footings to be laid.
Sometimes we see them dig it all by shovel, short-handle shovels. Once in a while we will see a backhoe, but not always. They will usually rent a cement mixer, we've never seen a cement truck bring cement here like at home. And they don't use lumber to build, only brick walls and cement. They do use very small lumber for the trusses which must support the heavy weight of masonry tiles which are on almost all of the homes in the city.
Our new little branch finally got a lap-top computer and a printer to use so Melanie and I went out to the Branch President's home where he has his 'church office' to help him get things operating. We had a problem with his USB modem though trying to get him a connection to the internet, so I'll have to work through that next week.
Instead of giving Elder McClellan a going away meal of Walky Talkys like the picture below, we took him and Elder Tumarae to a nice restaurant where they could have a very tasty steak dinner.
This Friday was our last day of basketball at Seshego with the kids. We've been doing this for over eight months and have had such a wonderful time together with them. We've grown to love them! This is a community service activity, none of these kids are members, but they know from us that we are missionaries for Jesus Christ's church and that when they ever see a missionary with a black badge on like ours or the Elders, they can and should talk to them. Maybe the Lord will bless them with an opportunity in the time to come. Meanwhile we are happy to have had the experience and sad to see it end.
Melanie prepared some special little gift bags with some things in them for each kid. And, when we finished, we had 'competition' and let the kids win all of the basketballs, our camp chairs, the pump, the net we carried the ball in, and a small rubber USA football we played with.
And from time-to-time we were very happy to have the Elders participate with us and assist us. On the back left in yellow is Elder Diogo from Uganda, back center in charcoal is Elder Ndlovo from Malawi. Taking the picture is one of our favorites, Elder Lybe from Southern California, a wonderful Zone Leader and example.
Saturday Melanie and I returned to visit with Jimmy Letsoalo at the care center along with his new little friend and sidekick Simon. This visit is also one of the special highlights of our week.
Of course ending each week with a video call home to the kids and the grandkids just tops off our week in a special way. We love them so much!