Tuesday, September 18, 2012

...and the rain came down in torrents

Hello Friends
I sometimes think if people wanted a "Reality Show" that blew minds... TLC would be the place to do it!
Here is some of what went on here in the last week.
September sees us stepping out in faith as we begin taking babies again. We have not brought babies home for 2 months as we created a gap between the cases managed by Impilo and those managed by Wandisa.

These little sisters were removed from a bad situation by the police and after a good bath and some warm food they both fell into a lovely, peaceful sleep on Mommy Thea's bed. We are blessed to be a safe haven for these little mites while their lives get sorted out.

"My Delicious" Mighty turned 9 on Saturday (note the 8 plus 1 cake :-) ) he insisted on! This is a boy that just turns me giddy with joy. He has some such a long way and has travelled such a journey, I only have to look at him and I am filled to overflowing with Awe for a God who can work miracles.
Mighty weighed 5kg's when he was 18months old, he came to TLC so we could "keep him comfortable" until the end but God had other plans. He and Faith (pictured below) are close friends as they travelled such a similar path - here she is encouraging him in his Math exercises :-)



Mighty's beloved "Granny" Irene and her family invited the 2 of us for a Birthday Breakfas! We had a beautiful time and Mighty was thrilled to recieve a brand new bicycle, complete with helmet and pump!

We celebrated with some cake at home and then we all went into the lounge to watch a DVD. We got about half way through when the rain started coming down ...
and boy did it come down!

Our "New" old house is just a glorified sievve it seems! The roof leaks so badly in several places and we had to evacuate the sleeping girls from their room as every bed had a neat little waterfall soaking the occupant!

If you look carefully you can see the falling water!

The girls room is on 2 levels so all the "surplus" water ran down into the bathroom then into the adjoining boys room

We had to put all the girls bedding and everything we could to dry out in the sun, but we lost a load of stuff I was very sad about, particularly some books I had been waiting for shelving to unpack onto!

Jerome sweeping the water from the boys room out to the back door

Not only rain fell but hail too! This photo was taken at 11am the following day and had not yet melted!

I was going to write this blog yesterday but I had to do the Adopt-A-Cot updates and the internet was so slow I ran out of time ... and so this is what happened yesterday ...

Joshua (my volunteer) was away the whole day as he is attending a First Aid course which left him exhausted by the end of the day. The kids were happy enough as they love the now empty and clean "middle room" to run through as it echoes and so they busied themselves while supper was cooked.

After supper, baths and devotions we put the kids to bed and I unpacked washing and cleaned up a bit. Matthew made the new batch of laundry soap and Joshua went to use the internet at TLC to call his dad. Just before I went to bed I thought I'd check my hair for lice (yes .. I know ... EEEuuuuwwww) but it has to be done when you have so many bodies around and so I was checking ... and ofcourse just because the day hadn't quite been long enough I DID find some and so I had to do the first round of treatment before bed.

So I was pretty pooped by the time I went to bed... and then at 2:45AM!!!! The cows start bellowing and bellowing!

At first I thought maybe the one pregnant cow was delivering but their were too many bellows for that so then I thought perhaps prowlers had got in and seperated the herd somehow ... and that made me a little scared so I figured I'd leave them to fend for themselves until morning.

But then I heard a loud "SWISH SWISH" sound from outside my window and when I sneaked a peak the cows were pulling at the big leaves of the tree outside my bedroom so I knew I'd have to get up ... blah ...
anyhow out I go with my hair like a punk rocker because of the lice treatment ... in my "flower power" designed pajamas ... bright blue gumboots and holding onto my torch in one hand and a cattle whip in the other (this is the part I reckon would've made the Reality TV ratings go through the roof!)
It's easy to laugh now but at 2:45AM I was not really feeling it!

So at this point I was still under the impression it was going to be a fairly simply process of herding them back in through the gate they must've somehow unlatched ...
Only to find that the gate was not unlatched it was completely flattened! The heavy rains had softened the soil enough to simply allow the beasts to walk right over the blooming thing!

So there I am in my "costume" lifting a very heavy, filthy and rusted metal gate into a standing postion  and trying to reattach the thing with bits and pieces of scrap metal wire and chains from all over the farm! Which once reattached could not be used to herd the cows back through!!!

I don't know how many of you have herded cows but they are fairly logical creatures and so once I started herding them they naturally all made their way to the place where they had come out of ...
finding this locked they proceeded to scatter in all directions and it took me a good 30 minutes to get them all to realise that they could use the nearby gate that I had OPENED for them!

Ai yai Yai! ... and these are the days of our lives!

We Love You All

Friday, September 7, 2012

It was the best of times ... it was the worst of times

Hello Friends

I don't know about you but I find it very hard to know what to write here when things are tough. I never know if it is a good thing to put too many negative things on or if it makes people feel like we are somehow making things seem worse than they are.

SO please read this post (and all my posts really)with the awareness that this is just me, the human being who often feels weak and unequal to the task set before me.

When I was growing up there was a fun fair ride called the "Cocopan" at a local theme park. It was like a big boat that swung back and forth slowly at first and gradually faster and faster until the riders were almost perpendicular with the ground at it's highest swing. I get so ill on Rollercoasters and so I never had the courage to ride on it but I could feel the anticipation as the riders hung suspended for a moment and then the feeling of relief when they were caught safely back into their seats.

Well, this is what life has been like for a long time here at TLC. There are a million of these swings that go on in every aspect of our day and it wears one down.

The month end loomed large and menacingly on the horizon for us this August. Our cleaners, cooks and farm workers all treading water waiting for the reprieve of another months wages only to find that the balance on our bank accounts stayed at the zero mark. We managed to drag some money from other projects to pay everyone half and thanks to some of our international friends we could settle the rest within the week but people are not happy.

The insecurity wears you down.
Salaries are only one component of the crises.
What about kids like Paul whose medication keeps him functioning but costs a fortune.
What about the petrol that we need to get to school, clinics and meetings?
What about paying the electric bill ...
What about the empty bread cupboard ...
What about ...
What about ....

I know you all know what I'm talking about but it helps me to put it down ~ it's a little cathartic :-)

Zoe was very ill this month and we all felt true terror when an x-ray revealed "an abnormality" on the base of her skull. After a visit to a Neuro surgeon and an MRI investigation the doctor was satisifed that the swelling is stress and tension related and therefore could be treated non-invasively. A small consolation when life is throwing all its weight around!

The farm continues to make progress and we are happy to announce the addition of 3 new goats to the flock and we are still expecting a few more.

There are 2 females and a male so far.

The calves born in May and July are doing well. We are planning to wean them in the near future which will allow us to milk twice a day and supplement TLC's milk costs even further. So far we have been able to reduce our purchase of milk from 175L per week to just 50L ~ a great saving and very satisfying aspect of the farm. Joshua (my volunteer) and I are in charge of pasturising the milk and have learned how to make our own butter from the cream so that is another nice saving.

May having a look to see what was left after milking

We also now make our own laundry washing liquid which has the potential to save us almost R4000 per month ~ one more salary saved!

Sibu mixing the washing liquid
We had 2 birthdays this week. Both Theresa and Alexander celebrated a birthday on the 4th!
We got a donation of muffins and doughnuts from the fabulous confectionery company called Rich's and they were able to blow out their candles.
Theresa turned 10!

Alex's first birthday! Big Brother Matthew helped blow out his candle.

Yesterday saw a huge rain/ hail storm arrive in Johannesburg. Quite uncharacteristic for so early in the season and everything got a thorough soaking.
Playground turned Pond

Tiny hail covers the paving

The big girls throwing hail balls.

With all the rain and cold that came along with it, FOUR of our vehicles broke down leaving us having to do some major logisitical gymnastics to get everyone home from school again and forcing Joanna to have to leave some of her kids with Mom for the night as the only available car did not have enough space for all of her family.

Unfortunately our cars have been sorely neglected in favour of buying food and medicines and now we are crippled every other day when one or the other vehicle won't move.

We had a visitor here the other day who shook their head and commented on how irresponsible it was for us to allow things to get so bad around here. I was sore pressed not to make a sharp retort about how easy things might look from his perspective but how very very sickening it is to have to make those kind of choices and decide on those priorities. When the cloth has been cut and it is too small there is only so tightly you can curl and only so much of yourself you can cover.

Anyway ...

The kids are all well and full of the joys of spring.

Playing in the Sprinkler at the new farm

Theresa and Rayne enjoying an afternoon chat
We continue on in faith and thank you all for your heartfelt prayers and support.

We Love You All