Since November 2012, we have been living in the main house at Tshepo ya Bana. For those who have never been here, the main house is one of 5 houses on the property and is where most of the children reside. It is loud, chaotic, busy, fast-paced and a whole lot of fun! Our family has really been blessed by the time we’ve spent in this house and know that it is an experience we will treasure forever. That being said, change is coming.
In December, our family of 4 will be moving to one of the other houses here at Tshepo ya Bana. This house has been known as the Innotec Cottage, Uncle Daniel’s Cottage, “Germany” (courtesy of Uncle Martin) and most recently the Volunteers Cottage. Soon it will be known as our home.
There are several reasons why this move is set to take place. The two biggest reasons are the health of our family and the growth of Tshepo ya Bana. I’ll tackle the health of our family first. While we have all enjoyed living in this house there are some definite downsides to communal living. We are in a house that is shared by 6 or more small children, and is constantly seeing foot traffic from volunteers, staff and visitors. We have some space carved out for our family, but using our bedroom as a living room, sometimes dining room, homework room, time-out room and more has gotten a bit wearing. Tyson and Jori have also been sharing a room and while this is a common thing for children to do they are hungry for some space to call their own. You’d think that on a property as large as the one where we live private space would be easy to come by, but everyone else is also looking for some space to call their own, which makes it difficult. Darin is getting busier with work and is often making business calls from our bedroom, which forces the rest of us to leave the room so that he can have privacy. His work stuff has also been taking up more and more of our floor space, which makes me feel just a little more stir crazy with each passing day. We have managed to carve out more family time, but as the number of babies increase and the number of volunteers fluctuate, we know that this time will slowly be eroded away.
Now onto the growth of Tshepo ya Bana. The Hardings had been planning to turn Tshepo ya Bana into something called a Child and Youth Care Center. However, due to a few things, including zoning rules, which are a bit intense with our being in a Big Five Reserve, this has turned from a plan to an impossibility. That has led to plan B, which is having two house mothers move into the main house, each able to have 6 children placed in her name. If Darin and I stayed put, the maximum number of children legally allowed in this house would be 6. That would be a shame as so many of you know that Tshepo ya Bana has the hands and hearts to reach out to so many more children. We also have the room! Having two house mothers living here means that some structural changes are in the pipeline. We plan to divide the master bedroom where we currently sleep into a bedroom for one house mother and a sitting room for the two house mothers to share. We also plan to put a bathroom door up on the master bath give these house mothers some privacy! The other house mother will move into the room that Tyson and Jori are currently in. The volunteers will be moving into Mama Joye's cottage so that they'll be closer at hand to help with the children.
With our family being out of the main house and the daily responsibilities of living there (laundry, nappy changing, child wrangling, cooking…) I will take on a role that is more house manager than house mother. I will supervise volunteers and staff, take on more admin, continue communicating with potential volunteers, work on our website and facebook page, and continue visiting social workers and keeping the cases of our children moving forward. We will still be involved with the main house and the children who live there, but will be able to step back and focus more on our family, Darin’s work, and our involvement with Take Action Ministries.
We would definitely appreciate your prayers while these changes are taking place. Some specific things to pray about are:
- The children in the main house as they adjust to our family moving out and house mothers moving in. We all know change is difficult on children, and these little ones have already dealt with a lot of change in their young lives!
- Mama Joye who is moving into the main house as one of the house mothers. Pray for her as she moves out of her cottage and into the main house. We know that she will do a great job, but taking on new responsibilities and getting used to a new schedule takes time and isn’t always easy!
- The second house mother who we are still looking for! Pray that God will bring the right person to Tshepo ya Bana. A woman who loves the Lord and has a heart for children. Pray that this new staff member will fit in well with our current staff and will feel at home quickly.
- The rest of the staff as things shift and roles and responsibilities change. We have a wonderful staff here and are so thankful for the love and care they show to us and to all of the children!
- Chris as she continues to direct Tshepo ya Bana. Pray that she will have wisdom for each situation and will have the strength and courage to raise 4 teenage boys!
- The current volunteers and the volunteers who are soon arriving. These next few months might be a bit chaotic as we all learn a new way of doing things, and the volunteers will be called upon to give a little extra as we try to make things work smoothly and keep things as calm as possible for the children.
- Our family as we adjust to being on our own. Pray that we will manage our time wisely and will be able to reconnect with each other.