Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Whirlwind: Part 1

Finally, some time to breathe. On Wednesday night, Darin dropped my dad off at the airport. We absolutely LOVED having him here both before and after his training in the Barberton area, but having an extra body in the house, no matter how loved that person is, adds to the chaos that is everyday life. Normally, we plan things so that we have a bit of time to regroup after having visitors, but life doesn’t always go as planned.

On Wednesday evening, while we were having a final meal with my dad, Crystal Paine, also known as Money Saving Mom, was arriving in South Africa with her family and one of her managers, Brian (who is the son in law of Ken Davis AND has slept in the Dutch Inn in Edgerton Minnesota, which Darin’s parents used to own!!! Small world.) Thursday morning, we got up, got the kids out the door to school and started getting ourselves and Amo ready for a day of fun with the Paine gang and the Take Action team.

Crystal with the tray Peet from Butterfly made for her birthday
Our first stop was Butterfly Change for Children, which is a baby home and a training centre for crèches and Early Childhood Development Centres. It is also where the pallet wood project workshop is currently located. When Crystal had visited in January, the pallet wood project was still in the formative stages. Now we were able to show the workshop and actual items that have been handcrafted from reclaimed pallet wood. Super exciting stuff. 

Brain and his SAvival kit
After the tour, we headed to the Distribution Centre for lunch and to listen to my main man, Darin Fey, give an overview of the operations side of Take Action Ministry, especially all that happens via the distribution centre. Darin did great; much better than I would have done. I was a bit preoccupied with Amo, who was having a rough morning, but she did finally calm down. After lunch, we packed up our vehicles with people and some furniture, which was going to be put in place at the new Early Childhood classroom at Reagoboka Drop-in centre, one of our Take Action community partners.

Being greeted by the children
When we pulled on to the road where Reagoboka is located, we were met by children of all ages, staff and volunteers, all singing and clapping and dancing. It was a great start to our visit. While some of us unloaded classroom furnishings, the rest joined the kids for more singing and introductions of the staff. Each classroom then gave a short performance, showing off different types of cultural dance and singing styles. Amo loved the singing and was happily bopping along in her buggy while Darin and I were scurrying around.
Little ones and teachers seeing their classroom for the first time. 
Crystal’s kids handed out bubbles and all of the kids had fun blowing and popping the bubbles; such a simple thing really, but bubbles seem to transcend language and cultural barriers! While the singing and dancing was going on, the classroom was being set up: new shelves (painted by Papa John and Darin!), benches for a reading corner, bright, colorful throw rugs and pillows, new toys, craft supplies and so much more. Once it was all in place, the ECD children and teachers were led into the classroom. The little ones were overwhelmed, but the teachers couldn’t hide their excitement! What a beautiful thing to be a part of. Darin and I had to run as we needed to get home, get ready and stop in to check on Tyson and Jori (being babysat at Bethesda) before heading out to dinner at the Rous House.
Reagoboka kids gathered outside of the finished 2 classroom building!!
Gathering for a meal is always such a lovely thing. The opportunity to talk and get to know people while breaking bread together is just something all together different than when you are just sitting around talking. Good food and drink seems to open mouths and hearts and causes friendship and fellowship to flourish. We have experienced this many times since living in South Africa and our appreciation for the hospitality of people in this country is deep.
The gang's all here!
Even with a lot of children running around, the adults were able to share in a good deal of conversation, both about the things we had experienced earlier in the day, our hopes for the rest of the visit and details about our own personal lives, which brought us together, often with a lot of laughter. Amo was a star, as she usually is at night. We love when other people take an interest in her as so often people look right past her, or don’t ask anything about what she likes or what she can do. It was good for our hearts to see the adults and the children gather around Amo at different times during the night, making her laugh, enjoying her little smiles, and genuinely delighting in this child who we love so much. We wish the night could have gone on forever, but we knew Friday was also going to be busy, so around 11 we headed back towards Hammanskraal…

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