Thursday, February 7, 2013

The other side of Franschhoek...

(Kopo here) Well hello again to all of you. We just want to share a little bit about our experience today. Minnie (our contact lady here in SA) invited us today to come to where she lives to help her out with the kids that she's working with. While we were getting ready we received a call from her to see if we can come early to join her in a meeting that they were having at 2:00pm. We had to walk about 3 blocks down to catch a taxi. On our way down there we started asking people where can we find the taxi stand. One man took us down to where the taxi stand was and told the driver where we were going. So we got in the taxi van and there were 4 ladies in there and with us it's 6. We thought that we were gonna leave right away because we had to be at the youth house at 2:00pm. It was 14 minutes after 2 and the taxi driver was just standing outside. He waited for his van to be filled and then he finally jumped in around 2:30. There were 14 of us in this van. It was a different experience for both of us since it's our first time in South Africa. (Crystal is taking over as Kopo is tired. He did well!) The drive just a few miles away was heartbreaking. I was shocked to see how much poverty existed just a few minutes away from an area that was very wealthy. There were houses made of tin, children running around everywhere, garbage everywhere; this was a completely different world from where we were staying just a few miles up the road. When we arrived to the youth house we got to sit in on a meeting with various leaders from different communities, some local, some further away. It was great to hear what is happening here and all that is being planned for this year. Everyone was really excited about the pool and the lessons, as it apparently is much needed especially for towns further away. They spoke of many drownings happening because children who cannot swim are swimming in dams and/or rivers nearby. We are very honored to be able to pass on this life skill to this community, and we can already see how it will be used to change not only the community the pool is in, but other communities as well. 

After the meeting Minnie asked if we needed to go home or if we wanted to stick around, we opted to hang out a bit longer. She then told us the tragic story of a 2yr old girl who was run over by a van the week before. She died and there would be a memorial service for her in a neighborhood not too far from where we were. The neighborhood is known as Squatter camp, as people come and build a house out of whatever they have and it's grown quite large. So, after a quick stop at Minnie's place we walked to the squatter camp. Here is the place of Inam's memorial before everyone arrived.
My heart broke as I saw all the little kids who went to preschool with Inam.

Here is her memorial photo. Such a beauty.

When the memorial began we found out the whole story behind her death. She was run over when a man was speeding through the small neighborhood, when eveyone screamed for him to stop he did, she was still breathing when two men tried to get her out. Unfortunately man then reversed, thereby running her over again and killing her before speeding away. The man who hit her was part of the municipality nearby and has not been charged with anything, nor is anything being done to compensate the family. They have gone to the police and nothing is being done. It really gave us a better understanding of what these squatters go through, because regardless of race or class, justice needs to be upheld. It was great to be there to support the village and their family, they were glad we came. While there were very raw emotions, there was also a deep sense of joy I could feel even though I didn't understand a word they said or sang, until I heard them sing It is well with my soul. That really hit me. These people have nothing in our eyes, but they are they rich in faith and in God's love, and those are true riches. I cannot imagine what Inam's parents are going through, but I will continue to pray for them and their whole community. Please join me in praying as well. I also want to pray for justice to prevail in this case, even though it doesn't seem possible or hopeful.
Here is the view of the squatter's field where many children play. Such a beautiful view...

This is just across the field, hard to see all the trash and tin houses...

Thanks for keeping up with us :) We don't plan on posting daily, today was very special and we wanted to honor Inam by sharing her story and how much she impacted her community and how deeply she will be missed by all.

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