Friday, June 27, 2014

Happening right now!

Yet again I stand in awe watching the group in front of me.  Teachers, theologians, super accountants, mathematicians and believe it or not ..... even a para-Olympic athlete!  What do they have in common.  A deep love for the Lord and a deep love for humanity!  As so many times in the past we have been tremendously blessed by visitors from the far south - 3 000 km 's in fact - Cape Town.  They had one goal and purpose only - to come and serve.  And as always the pictures will tell the story:

I have personally known blind Mateus Filemon for the last 18 years.  He is a courageous young man who attended our first Bible School in Mtsatza.  He came to the farm to collect a Shona Bible for his pastor in his church.  He might not be able to read but his hunger to make sure his church gets their own Shona Bible was huge.  Here is the Stellenbosch University and Congregation group busy handing over a Shona Bible which they transported more than 3 000 km's.
A time of reflection!
High op on a rock in Mozambique!
Deep into the bush to explore .... the group was ready for action!
And who do we meet in the bush ..... hard working woman carrying maize!
And then 2 cultures met!
A time of caring for one of our widows as she is receiving a prayer!
The men also jumped in ..... and took care of Suero, a leprosy patient.
And visiting the local baker in the bush is always a highlight for a hungry student.
Fresh bread right out of the oven!
The faithful guard .... watching over the baker!  He does seem skinny for a baker's watchdog though!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A place where everyone helps!

No it's not paradise.  It's not even a hidden civilization!  A Mozambique school ......  is a happy place.

  • It's a place where every time when I arrive the more than 280 children makes me feel like their president. And I like that.  
  • It's a place where they jump all over me and want to hold my hand.  I like that. 
  • It's a place where we call each other on our names - Frans is mine.  I won't allow that in any other conversation but here they can call me anything.   It always sounds sweet on the ear. 
  • It's a place where when I ask them to pray all 280 kids spontaneously lift up their hands to call on God.  They are my favorite prayer partners. 
  • It's a place where they just hug me .... just because I'm a friend.
  • It's a place where they look at me with eyes saying:  You're kinda my hero today!
  • It's a place where when I stop with food for the school the army of green ants tackle my vehicle to make sure everything is unloaded.
  • It's a place where I am loved without doing anything for them.
  • It's a place full of smiles.
  • It's a place ...... where GOD LIVES!
  • It's a Mozambican school ....... it's where my heart hides in difficult times.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Charlie 9 this is Foxtrot Romeo .... doing a dive!

"Francisco" .... Andy, our Swiss pilot called with his usual smile.  "What about a flight to see the school and library from the air?"  He laughed as he is one of the few people to know about my fear of flight in very small aircraft.  Please understand that my last flight in a small aircraft didn't go all that well as the passenger door opened on departure in the air.  But that is a story for another day.   But then again .... I thought ... my pilot also knows I don't swim that well .... so let's give it a try.  Dwight's 4-seater Cesna was ready and fueled for action and the pilot couldn't wait to get going .....!  It was an amazing 1/2 hour in the air.  This time around I will let the photos do the talking!  

Posing like a pro ....and I am talking of the pilot in blue!!  I'm just hanging on the propeller so my knees would stop shaking ... in anticipation of the flight. 
Andy, the Swiss pilot .... making sure everything works.  And after the normal safety procedures I realized that Swiss pilots do have an amazing sense of humor.
I wasn't sure what buttons he was pressing as it all looked very pre-historic to me.  But somewhow we got in the air!
The mission base with its housing from the air.  Left top is the litchie orchard.
PURPOSE OF THE FLIGHT:  Our bush school and clinic from the air.  The large building on the left is the primary school and houses 4 classes with about 280 kids.  And if you are very sharp ... down left is the new library building in progress.

Back on the mission farm:  On the left our leadership training center.  On the far right is the Women Training and Literacy center built by Alta.
A very busy mission base.  If you can spot my house ..... you are super good - it is the most hidden one!
The runway of the mission base back into the frame.
A safe landing after a super enjoyable flight ... thanks to Swiss Air and Dwight's Cesna!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Leaving legacies!

Try to imagine to have never seen a library in your lifetime!  You have no re-collection whatsoever of a collection of books or to have never ever read a children's story in your own language.  Oliver Twist?  Never had the privilege to read it.  Ernest Hemingway?  Who?  The story of Romeo and Juliet has never been told, Hamlet is a mystery and Jackie Chan is more known than William Shakespeare.  Imagine a life like that.  The most beautiful poems written ... never new poetry existed!  It sounds a total impossibility.  But it is very true and I live in a world like that. 

The great thing about being a Transformational Engineer is that we don't have to accept the status quo.  We don't have to believe that "that's just the way it is" .....!  Hopefully like you ... we get up and do something about it.  We have many projects that are ongoing at the moment.  Two of those will have a huge impact on hundreds of people.  Our new LIBRARY ... the first EVER in the region will allow children and communities to, for the very first time, be able to read books in their mother tongue.  It will be a huge blessing - here is a quick update report on how the work is progressing:


The other project is our Water Tower that is currently being constructed.  For many years we have had to pump water from a local pump we installed.  With the growth of our primary school and the establishment of a local clinic by the mission the need for more water was eminent.  Through many sponsors it was possible to start with the resurrection of a water tower that will provide clean water to the school, clinic and the community.
Our old and faithful water pump!  It has been providing water for more than a decade and served a few hundred school children as well as a whole community.

And YES if you wondered .... the fact that the pump 'survived' all the kids is an absolute MIRACLE!!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Women and their children!

I remember going to church with my mom and the glare of all the ladies with their huge and beautiful hats.  I remember making comments all the time as the hats always amused me.  I only really started speaking at the age of 2 my mom says.  Since then my jawbone worked overtime.  I also remember all the 'hush' sounds as I entered the church as a child.  "Sjjjjt" was a familiar strange sound everyone made in the church whilst staring at me.  I never truly understood the glares but soon realized children are not really welcome in church.  

Africa is different.  Children is very much part of daily life - also in the church.  No one is ever captured and dumped into a "Room for Mothers with noisy children".  The same happens in our literacy classes with the ladies.  It's noisy, difficult .... but amazing things happen when kids attend .... as you will see:  (and just loving it!!!)

And then normal life continues ... no baby sitters ..... just life!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Into Malawi on 2 wheels !

Pastor Binda delivering our bicycles to 2 of the women monitors in Malawi.
The call of 1010 women has a way to reach your ears.  Villa Nova is a small village on the border between Mozambique and Malawi.  People are very poor and the lack of just about everything hits you in the stomach.  But their call, when it echoed through nearly 800 km's of villages, mountains and rivers, were not for food or clean water .... or even just the basic medical care they so desperately needed.  It was for books - literacy material and Bibles.

More than a 1 000 ladies are attending the literacy program from the Simukai (shona word that means:  Stand up!)  program.  Due to the lack of roads and the distances people need to travel to get to the various 'Literacy Dream Points' it was decided to provide bicycles for the trained teachers and monitors.  We used the local church to help us with the distribution of bicycles so that the material could get to the awaiting ladies.  The screams of joy was heard in the Vatican I was told .....!  Well not really .... but you get the idea.  I think even the pope would have been moved anyway!

The Simukai program empowers the poorest of poor women to get back their dignity by teaching them to read and write by using the Bible as a tool.  Ladies from as young as 70 attend the literacy courses and when they are able to read and write for the first time they break out in dance and song.  It continues for several minutes ..... and then the whole school erupts in waves of screaming and celebrating.  When they grab their Bible ..... it's quickly opened to make sure .... they can actually read that too.  It's joy unspeakable.

Here are a few highlights of the latest delivery in South Malawi.  Pastor Binda (Moz/Malawi) and Alec Wilson (our team) helped us to deliver the surprise packages.  

Bicycles are loaded with blackboards and writing materials, books and Bibles for the various schools.

New stock arrives as a teachers gathers the various materials.  Some of the Simukai materials came by train and the rest Alta Rauch (Director:  Simukai) delivered via various methods.
It's all about dignity!!!  The moment women has the ability to read and write it changes their way of not just looking at life differently, but seeing themselves as a human being that has something to offer others.  Many old ladies are part of the program who teaches literacy in their mother tongue.
One of the many lady schools in Malawi receiving their materials - delivered now by bicycle.

Another happy school with materials arriving at last.
This was so cool!  Men gave their own bicycles too to help transporting literacy materials to the women schools in Malawi.  "Our children are being changed for the future which is fantastic ....." this man reported as he was eager to help.