Volunteering at Vryburg South Africa

….. boys being boys

Going to Vryburg, a township in South Africa is special for two of our trustees, Jo and Ann . Let Jo tell the story.

Ann and I travelled out to Tiger Kloof School just outside Vryburg in mid-February 2015. I hasten to add at no cost to the Foundation. We worked alongside a group of students from the school to help a number of different communities in the Huhudi Township.

Tiger Kloof school believes strongly in educating its students about the importance of service to the community and therefore ensures that all are involved in local projects as part of their development.  These students are mostly children from Huhudi and the surrounding areas. They know the consequences of poverty and the importance of giving something back.

It is the Tiger Kloof students that our charity would like to support and believe wholeheartedly in Mandela’s mantra that “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”.  By empowering these students through education they will continue to benefit their whole community of Huhudi and beyond.

Thussanang Disabled centre is a unique facility in Huhudi giving a safe place for about 40 children of all ages to go to each morning. This is a happy place with classrooms for learning, open space for play and a playground for adventures. When we arrived the children at the centre were very excited to see us and we were greeted by numerous hugs, just like old friends.  The children were keen to play but unfortunately there was work to be done first. 

Following some expert digging and hoeing to create some vegetable beds, we were allowed to play.  We all joined in with some South African wide games, one where we learned the differences between cows, rabbits and sheep – a difficult task for me as I kept mixing up my sheep and cows.

The turn then came for us to share some of our games, they were introduced to heads, shoulders, knees and toes and then we ended the session with a very raucous rendition of the Okey Cokey. We know Thussanang will be adding this one to their repertoire!

Back at Tiger Kloof School we worked on the allotment for the Hem Soup Kitchen.  The Hem is on the outskirts of Huhudi and consists of two storage containers which have been converted into a kitchen and a store room with a recent addition of a large canopy which enables children to shelter from all types of weather.   This facility feeds the poorest children of the township. Following some very hot weather in December the vegetable plot needed considerable work.  The site was cleared and dug over and new beds created.  In the digging a plethora of onions were unearthed which Ma Ma Parry, Ann’s new title, carefully collected to go to The Hem on the following day.

…. for most the only meal of the day

Our first visit to the Hem soup kitchen, set up a couple of years ago, shares a site with the Emmanuel Church and nursery.  The Hem provides food on three days each week to the children living in Huhudi.  Ann wielded her potato peeler with confidence and got down to the task with her team of preparing the vegetables for the stew. The onions rescued from the allotment came into their own and added flavour to the stew and rice. 320 children were fed that day. After washing their hands the whole group prayed together before eating. Faith plays a huge part in the lives of these children and it was refreshing for both of us to see these little faces turned to the sky with their hands together praising God.

Ann made a special bond with a little girl called Maisie; they sat on a wall in the shade of a tree talking intensely, laughing together, practising their counting and of course giving each other hugs.  Maisie is a beautiful little girl with eyes that lit up her face. In her four short years she has clearly learnt lots and was certainly a bright button. Let us pray that the work done at The Hem can make a real difference to her life and give her the opportunity to use her sharp mind.

The tiny children who could not feed themselves were fed by the volunteers and Ann and I both had the joy of some quiet time with a child on our knee doing the most basic thing of giving them a meal and a drink. Again the smiles were wide and very soon the tummies were full.