Now where was I? Oh yeah, we arrived in Aliwal North and worshiped with Brad at his church. It was their typical 3 hour service – some North Pointers would probably have a hard time with that 😉 – but the time flies by so it’s hard believe it has gone on that long. It was followed by a trip to the black URCSA pastored by Boice. We walked in just in time to give our offering. It was pretty funny. Actually, the women’s group was having a fund-raiser so we helped them in their cause. They were honored to have us stop in.

Monday is a bit of a blur but I do remember that Joann went to the crèche and Kelly and Glenda worked with Brad to get set up on Quicken.


Glenda and others pick up trash at Aliwal North

Tuesday Brad, Wendell and I went to meet the mayor of Aliwal North. His secretary gave Brad a heads up that if we were to come right at 8 we’d be able to talk to him since he was leaving at 9 for an out-of-town meeting. He was pleased to hear about the ECD program at Brad’s church and welcomed our invitation to come to the States. (Everyone wants to come to the States.) The mayor is up for re-election next year but he is working on setting up a foundation to help with seniors and the disabled, whether or not he is reelected. Wendell told him about the Vanderbijlpark Rotary meeting we went to and the offer of wheelchairs from a Rotarian from the UK. It would be very cool to see if something could come from that. After meeting the mayor we picked up Glenda and Joann and went to visit some home-based ECD households. These ladies are loving their jobs and are anxious to get additional training. After this we all went to the church to pick up trash around the yard … this encouraged others to join in – amazing how that happens. Tuesday afternoon we met with the interim and new pastor at the Aliwal North DRC. Both are anxious to work with Brad and break down the barriers between their congregations.


Home Based care

Wednesday, we drove to a couple neighboring towns (about an hour away) to visit and observe other home-based ECD programs underway. This was an enlightening experience and we came away feeling that the pilot program underway at Aliwal North is the best. In the early evening we went back to church where W was surprised with a small birthday celebration from the Aliwal North church council. They presented him with a very nice zippered portfolio with “Amazing Grace” embossed on the front. They did not know that this is Wendell’s favorite hymn. As Glenda would say, “it was a God thing.”

Thursday Joann went to the primary school in the morning and then spent the afternoon with Stella, the mother of the family she stayed with back in 2012. Her 13-yr old son, Dane, will be coming to Las Vegas in July for a Karate competition. Pretty big stuff to come from this small town. Brad, Wendell, Glenda and I visited some home-based ECD households and had the privilege of participating in the Lord’s Supper with a couple of disabled members of Brad’s church. In the afternoon Joann, Glenda and K met with the Aliwal North CWM (Christian Women’s Movement) and presented the cards that the NP Wed. night study group sent. We also presented the items done by the NP Sunday School kids … Stella leads Sunday School as well as CWM. Glenda met her new pen pal, Rosie. They have committed to stay in communication with each other. There are several ladies from CWM who would like to email with our ladies. I told Stella that there are women from Wed night (and possibly others) who would love to have a Pen Pal.

Friday morning Wendell and Brad met with the Department of Community Development to discuss their potential funding of the ECD program. And then t was “on the road again” back to Vanderbijlpark. We had dinner with Mike and Welma, where Welma confirmed that she will “retire” next March after 23 years at the school in Ventersdorp. She will welcome spending time with her grandbabies.


On the way to Graskop

Saturday we’re “on the road again” ending the day at a wonderful guest house in Graskop where we had a lovely “family” unit with 2 bedrooms/2 baths. Dinner was served for us there as well as breakfast. One could get used to this.

Sunday (today) we worshipped at the Ohrigstad URCSA church in the rural settlement of Kgautswane. The road in there is worse than we’ve ever seen it. It took 30 min. to go about 10 miles. Wendell and I were last at this small church about 5-6 years ago but many remembered us … or at least they remembered Wendell – the man with the ponytail. He’s now the man with 3 wives (like President Zuma) but I am the #1 wife . After church we went to Clara Masinga’s rondavels where we will stay for a couple nights. We then headed back to the “tar” road (10 miles back  down the awful road) to do some sightseeing as we are in the Blyde River Canyon area and there is scenery not to be missed. Joann took photos of baboons chasing vervet monkey’s … the baboons didn’t make it in our car this time … and thankfully a major thunderstorm dampened the dust on the dirt road back to Kgautswane. After a hand massage for Kelly (gripping the steering wheel driving on the dirt road has led to arthritis setting in ), it’s time for the sleepy house.

Whew! I think that’s MOST of what happened this past week. Stay tuned for the final edition.

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