Wednesday, October 16, 2013


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. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Yet another overdue update

It has been a busy few weeks, which explains my blogging absence. At the end of September, little Amo had a seizure. It was the second one and was a lot more intense. She was having convulsions for over 2 hours, and continued on even after medication had been administered in the hospital. Our experience at Jubilee was much better this time around. I think it all depends on the mood of the people who first greet you. Last time we were viewed with suspicion by one sister (nurse) and that led to a lot of hassle and stress for us and Amo. This time we were ushered right into an emergency room, oxygen was started as soon as we laid Amo on the gurney, and the doctor came in within minutes and administered meds. We were so very thankful for the love and care shown to Amo and the way these professionals listened to us instead of treating us in a suspect manner.

Amo was in the hospital for almost a week as she was on IV antibiotics. She was so tired the first few days after coming home, but gradually started perking up a bit. This past Wednesday the 9th, we were able to take Amo in for an EEG and MRI thanks to some very generous doctors and technicians (God was at work!!) and now have a better idea of what is going on with Amo. She does have epilepsy, caused or as a result of her cp. She also has hydrocephalus, but it is “old” and not a concern at this time. We pray that it continues to not be a concern for a very long time! We are thankful that now, over 2 weeks later, she is back to her smiley self. She giggles, wiggles, babbles and waves her little arms and we feel so blessed to witness all of these sounds and actions.

Darin has also been really busy with the business side of life. He is one of the hardest working men I know and I am so proud of him. I would go nuts dealing with the setbacks and disappointments, the unreturned phone calls and unanswered emails, but he just continues to press on and work harder. Right now he is in Zimbabwe pursuing a few leads. We are praying for his safety and also praying that God will open doors to allow things to move forward.

Thankfully we have Tyson to be the man of the house while Darin is gone. Today he woke up not feeling the best, so he stayed home with me. I don’t even know when I last spent a day with just Tyson and not Darin or Jori being around. It was nice. He helped me clean my room and measure some boards, we read together, took a walk, I watched him swim and he watched a movie in my room. He is feeling much better and will be back in school tomorrow.

Both kids are keeping busy at school. It is almost the end of the year, so their teachers are trying to get things wrapped up in different subjects. Jori is almost finished with a handwriting book (please, let that by the end of handwriting for the year!!) and Tyson has a few tests coming up. They are both doing well in school and we are so thankful for the good year that God has given them. There are tough times, but overall they both enjoy their school and have found their place there.

We are gearing up for some changes, which I will write about soon. We are also gearing up for a visit from Darin’s mom and dad. His mom arrives next month and his dad in December. We are really excited to have Grandma AND Grandpa Fey come and stay with us. We have already started planning a holiday, which involves a canopy tour, something I was fine with until I was told it involves zipping over a gorge on a cable. Um, I’ve done that and am over it, but I guess I’ll have to conquer my fears or take an extra dose of my anti-anxiety meds that day to get me through.

So, we are busy, but blessed. The busy isn’t all bad as we’ve seen a lot of good things come from it including a lot of our kids having visits from family members and meeting with a wonderful group of people who have a heart for the greater Hammanskraal area.

I am posting this without my dear hubby proof reading, so forgive any grammar mistakes. That is definitely his area of expertise and not mine! Thank you all for praying. There are days where we know for certain that it is only those prayers you so faithfully offer up on our behalf that get us through! 

Build Them a Home Progress Report #3

Wow, wow, wow!!! We are only $50 away from reaching our goal!! Thank you to everyone who gave over the past week. The house is really taki...