|Amogelang January 2013|
As most of you know by now, this little girl holds a very special place in our hearts. If you have read our blog for long, or followed us on Facebook or Instagram, you would also know that through loving and knowing Amo, we have also come to know and love her family. If you know the back story and want to get to the point, look for the sentence written in blue below and start reading from there!
We first met Amo and her mom, Annah, in January of 2013 at Tshepo ya Bana. Amo had recently turned 2 and Annah was struggling to care for Amo while finishing school and caring for her 2 younger sisters and younger brother.
|Baloyi Family- December 2013|
Over the next couple years, we got to know Annah, Grace, Jameson, Johanna and later Grace’s son, Omphile. They would often come to see Amo at Tshepo ya Bana or we would spend some time with them when we brought Amo home for weekend and holiday visits. During this time, their granny who owned the house where they stayed, passed away and soon after the family was told by relatives that they needed to move out of their home.
|Original Tin Shack- November 201|
In November 2014, we received a donation from Darin’s former employer and were able to help Annah purchase a piece of land that had a small tin shack and pit toilet already on site. This property was small, but for the first time, the family had a home of their own. Over the next few years as they had money, the tin shack was torn down and rebuilt to provide a bit more room. In December 2015, as we were preparing to move from Tshepo ya Bana to our current home, it was also time for Amo to leave Tshepo ya Bana and return to her family.
|One of many attempts to improve the home over the years.|
|Renovation Complete! September 2015|
Since that time, we have remained in close contact. We often have Amo over for the day, the weekend, or longer. Johanna is a good friend of Tyson and Jori and joins us for outings or youth group. The family comes with us to church when we get our schedules lined up and we celebrate birthdays and Mother’s Day with them as well. Grace and Annah have acted as house sitters for us when we have gone on short holidays and when we were in the US for 6 weeks in 2017.
|Birthday Celebrations- March 2016|
|Fun at the mall- January 2016|
Jameson is working a full-time job now at a local shop and joins us when he is able. Annah is also working full-time as a supervisor in a factory; one week she is on day shift and the next week night shift. Together they earn around $400 per month. Johanna is in Grade 9 and Grace is busy caring for Omphile, who is almost 3, Amo, who is now 7, and keeping the house clean, laundry done, and food prepared for the family.
**So this is where you want to start reading if you’ve chosen to skip my intro**
This is a family that we love, a lot. A family that has struggled with losing both parents, being abandoned by family, and raising a severely disabled child. Annah is working a job that is physically exhausting while making far less in a month than the average US teenager will make in a week at a summer job. Grace and Annah have started a small décor for hire business through a loan from their “Uncle D” as a way to provide extra income for their family. This family hustles, and they do it while living in a house that most of us would simply not be able to handle living in.
|Sweet Amo- November 2015|
|First time at a water park- February 2017|
While their house is now large enough to provide space for the 6 people living in it, it is not safe, it is not comfortable, it is not a home. The house is made of tin, most of which has been used and then reused as they expanded the place. There is no indoor plumbing. The property has an outhouse of sorts and a water tap in the yard for collecting water (when the municipal water is running). The family uses basins for bathing indoors and washing dishes outdoors. There are many nail holes, and larger holes, both in the walls and roof that let in rain, dust and more than a few creepy crawlies.
|Inside the bathroom|
The floor is dirt with a thin layer of cement on top. This layer of cement is too thin to keep rats from burrowing up through the ground, through the floor, and into the house. These rats basically rule the roost. Both Amo and Omphile CANNOT sleep alone because of the potential harm that would come to them from rats. The rats chew through clothes, bedding, and parcels of food. They steal food AS IT IS BEING PREPARED for consumption. We have been in the house and thought someone was in the back bedroom only to be told “it’s only the rats”. Yes, only the rats, that make so much noise you think a large person is bumbling about. And no, I do not have a photo of rats stealing the food or crawling on the family at night, but we've seen them and we've heard them and it is NOT OK!
The leaky roof and lack of a proper foundation also cause the house to be very damp. We often drive up to find bedding or even a sofa setting outside because the rain found a way into the house and made a big mess. They even have had mushrooms growing in the house- they just pop through the cement “floor” and thrive in the wet conditions.
|Mushrooms in the house!|
|It's hard work to keep this girl warm!!- July 2015|
While it is true that someday Annah, Grace and Johanna may marry and move away to live with their husbands' family, that day is not now, and with Johanna only being in Grade 9 and planning to attend University (we will be cheering her on!!!), Annah still has a long time until her little sister leaves the nest and frees her up to leave as well. And let’s not forget Amo! While none of us know how long this lovely lass has here on earth, we pray that it will be for many, many years to come. For as long as she is living, she needs a home to live in; a place where rats cannot harm her, where the house can be kept dry and clean to help maintain a healthy respiratory system, where food can be prepared in a hygienic environment, and where her mother can sleep soundly at night, knowing her daughter is safe and warm.
|Annah and her girl at our church|
We have already received $4,000 towards our efforts to “Build Them a Home”. This is a fantastic starting point, but we still have a ways to go! Our goal is to raise $10,000 total for a three bedroom, one bath brick house with a kitchen and living room. We have already been speaking to a local builder and know that raising $10,000 will cover all labor and material costs and give a bit of wiggle room, which we have learned is a good thing to have when building here!
If you want to give, you have a couple options:
Everyone: give via Paypal using the "Donate" button at the top of our blog. If you are not in the USA, this will most likely be the simplest way to give!
US residents who need a tax receipt: give via 1st CRC Edgerton, which is one of our supporting churches. If you choose to give this way, please follow the instructions below!
- Write a check made out to: 1st CRC Edgerton
- In the memo of the check write: "Take Action House Project"
- Send to: 1st CRC Edgerton 120 Center Street South Edgerton, MN 56128
- Send an email to Darin at email@example.com so that we can keep track of funds as they come in and to give us a record of donations in case any mail goes missing!
I will be updating the amount needed both on the blog and on Facebook. We KNOW that we can raise the remaining $6,000 and HOPE to raise it quickly. Winter is coming soon to the Southern Hemisphere. The builder has told us the whole project can be finished in about a month, so the sooner we start raising funds, the sooner we can get this family into a warm, rat-free, safe and secure home!
Spread the Word! Share the Love! Build Them a Home!