7 years.

Seven years ago a desire was planted in my heart to one day work among troubled Native American children. It wasn’t because I had read or studied about them, neither was it because I met a Native American or talked with someone who knew about them. At that time, I knew nothing about this people group. A desire was simply planted in my heart as I napped one afternoon. I remember when I woke up from my nap I prayed a simple prayer: “God, if this is you, it doesn’t matter how many years pass, you won’t let this idea die.” And so over the years as I worked in Mozambique and South Africa my heart would not forget. I researched about them and shared my story of wanting to work with Native American children with anyone who cared to listen. There were days when the longing was so strong and I would get so discouraged on how I would ever find myself working with Native kids when financially it just wasnt possible. So I kept praying.

In 2012 if you remember, I found myself in Peru, when I went I thought I would eventually end up working with an indigenous group there but that didn’t work out and I returned home. Then mid last year I was connected with an organisation called Living Hope Native Ministries. At the time of connecting with them a group of friends put money together to pay for my ticket when the opportunity came for me to serve among Native American children ( I have AWESOME friends!!!). I got accepted to work with LHNM and in September last year,  I handed in my visa application. Turns out the Canadian Gov’t can make a person wait a long time for their final decision, I waited 6 months to finally hear from them. To be honest friend, I had all but given up on the visa, it took nearly 2 weeks for me to believe that I had a 2 year Canadian work visa stuck in my passport!

By the end of this May I am going to be living and working in Pikangikum First Nations Reservation in Ontario (in Canada Native Americans are called First Nations or Aborigines) If you don’t know much about Native American history and heritage, I would encourage you to do a little reading or maybe just wait for me to get there so I can share my experiences with you 🙂 My responsibilities will be to open and run a youth center and to teach Christian Education at the local school. From what I have read and heard, reservations in the USA and Canada often resemble very poor communities in Africa. Life on a reservation is hard.

I guess it is strange to hear of an African girl willing to pack up and move to a reservation in North America, just so you know, I think its strange too but over the years I have learned to trust God even when I don’t fully understand whats going on. He is reliable, He has not failed me AND apart from all the challenges I know I will face I know its going to be EPIC fun 😀

Even though we may never meet friend, I hope you will join me on this new adventure as I make a home and work  amongst some of the worlds most vulnerable children in Ontario Canada.
P.S I leave on the 28th of April for Ontario Canada.
On a random note, I enjoy dancing and this song was playing as I typed this so its only natural that I had to share it with you 🙂

Sooo, just incase…

…you think all we do is play 🙂

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This post will make sense if you read my post, “thats what friends are for.”

My last day in South Africa was on the 7th of April, I spent close to two months working with Heather and friends . Photos do a better job at describing everyday life so here is a collage 😀

This is only some of what I was involved in. Teaching a group of girls needlework with Paulette. Teaching Peaceful how to crochet. Evaluating how Peaceful, Jabulani, Melusi and Ben conduct AWANA( a christian childrens program) Attending a 4 day AWANA workshop. Watching from a safe distance as the men decide on whether to let a poisonus snake free or kill it. Uncle Johan dancing with the kids. Danielle chatting with the head of AWANA southern Africa.

As we serve we are always aware that our conduct, the manner in which we teach, encourage and reprimand is being closely watched by those we have decided to mentor, it is no small responsibility. The bible says one who decides to be a teacher should be aware that one will be held at a higher standard than those whom they are teaching.

Melusi, Jabulani, Peaceful, Ben. They stay at Heathers house Monday till Friday. As this is their gap year, Heather got the boys part time jobs as waiters but they are all involved in childrens work.

Melusi, Jabulani, Peaceful, Ben(not the volunteer). They stay at Heathers house Monday till Friday. As this is their gap year, Heather got the boys part-time jobs as waiters but they are all involved in childrens work.

If you have followed me for a while you know when it comes to work, I am either dealing mostly with children or teens. Of my time in South Africa, I really enjoyed getting to know and work with these 4. By far one on one mentoring is what I enjoy the most about being a social worker.  I had some amazing bible studies, intense political debates and profound moments sharing life stories. I hope and pray the best for their future and I will miss them.

In my next post I should have finally come up with the right words to describe why I am moving to Ontario Canada.

If you want to know more about Heathers’ organisation and are interested in doing some volunteer work either in South Africa, Uganda or Kenya, please check her website: http://hopeofafricayouth.com/

That’s what friends are for.

Remember Heather? I posted a blog about her in April last year, well long story short after her 3 week visit to South Africa, she came back in August last year to set up her organisation called Hope of Africa.  Upon my return from Zambia I stayed in Mozambique for a week then she wrote and asked if I could come help with her project so I packed my bags once again and made my way to Malalane South Africa,a mere 2 hour drive from Maputo. Heathers’ organisation is not only based in South Africa but also in Kenya and Uganda. In South Africa she is involved in establishing mentoring program that is helping disadvantaged children get through school right up to university. My responsibilities are to help in the mentoring and to help short-term volunteers from the USA  make sense of the sometimes confusing African culture 🙂 Also, I pretty much do whatever needs to be done at any moment, I am not sure how long I will be here for, I figure that will sort itself out eventually.

I hope to post more pictures of what we are up to in the days to come but tonight I will leave you with this one:

Nellie, Heather, Me, Danielle

Nellie, Heather, Me, Danielle

It was taken on my birthday on the 23rd of this month that turned out to be an epic girls day out 🙂

Gnite friend,

P.S  Nellie and Danielle are here as short-term volunteers and we have become good friends. I am coming down with a horrible cold, I don’t understand why since its been so hot here…oh well…misery loves company!

Mentoring 101

I dare you! So Celso showed the others that he could get very close to a live crab.

I dare you! So Celso showed the others that he could get very close to a live crab.

I enjoying mentoring, usually I stick to a group of 4-8 girls or teen girls but in November I decided to try something different, mentor 25 youth for 3 months. My plan is meeting them once a week to do different educational fun activities and invite some of my friends to come share with the group. The reason why I am doing this is because I thought it would be a great idea to give these young adults (aged 15-22) a set time for them to think over their year and to make plans for the following year. I like to tell them, “if you don’t make plans for your future, someone else will make plans for you.” All the youth come from very discouraging back grounds all the more reason to have these 3 months with them. Last week I took them to the beach.

As soon as we got to the beach, the boys went straight to playing football whilst the girls...

As soon as we got to the beach, the boys went straight to playing football whilst the girls…

... decided to tap into their diva side and pose ... You gotta love girls

… decided to tap into their inner diva side and pose … You gotta love girls

Eventually the girls got their act together and went,

Eventually the girls got their act together and joined…

the boys to play ball.

Delcon

Delcon

I have no formal training in mentoring young people, if there is any advise I would give anyone it would be, don’t expect over night change, it takes years to see change in the people you are helping and most importantly be prepared to get your heart broken once in a while as your “mentees,” make stupid decisions even after you have given them sound advise. At the end of the day, everyone has free will. Mentoring sure tests: “un conditional love.”

Merry Christmas!