Category Archives: Community

House Madeline – a concept house

Concept:~ {An abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances}

It is finally happening. At long last we are going to build our dream home! At times it seemed like our dream was just going to stay that…a whiff…a dream. But even when all the odds were against us, we managed to persevere and push through.

Our fascination with this build started 5 years ago. Read about it here and here.  We fell in love with a tin can…a shipping container…and knew this was part of God’s plan in sending us to Johannesburg. Container housing was still a fairly new concept in South Africa in 2010, although in certain countries it was already rife and accepted.  The whole concept of debt-free and off-the-grid living immediately struck a cord with us.

Earlier this year we secured a piece of land in Florida, Johannesburg, and if all goes according to plan…our first 2 containers will be delivered next week! I wish you can understand how excited and thrilled we really are.

The land in Florida

The land in Florida

At long last we can build a concept home that could be a solution to our country’s dire housing problem. Have you spared a thought to the destitute and homeless lately? I haven’t lived on the streets thus I cannot fully comprehend how bad it must be.

We are humbled. We feel blessed and grateful that God chose us for this work. Everyone has a work to do. Each one of us must fulfill our God-given purpose. I cannot wait to finally start on mine!

I have started a new blog for this specific purpose. It is new…I should upload a few pics shortly.

www.housemadeline.wordpress.com

Be sure to follow us!

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Hopefield wind farm – hope to 70 000 families

My family and I had to travel home about 2 weeks ago to attend my Granny’s funeral.  Ryce Phillipa Damonse (nee Ryan), passed on at the age of 100.  At the same time, it is a sad time for our family as well as a celebrated one.  I will write more on her life as time goes on.

So we had the opportunity to visit our beloved Cape Province again.  It will always be my home. Wow…it is breathtakingly beautiful.  You have to see it, to experience it.  The towering mountains, the rolling hills, the rusty-colored vineyards…truly magnificent.

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Our backyard…this is the view from the house my hubby grew up in

On one of our day trips we went to the West-Coast.  We were pleasantly surprised to find an enormous wind farm just outside Hopefield.  It was so impressive, almost eerie.

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Enormous wind turbines

As we came closer these tall structures in the middle of nowhere, almost intimidated us.  They gently, but productively whipped in the wind, apparently generating enough electricity to power 70 000 low-income homes, or 29 000 medium income homes!

This is extraordinary for South Africa.  We face so many socio-economic challenges, and times have shown that we need innovative solutions to eradicate poverty.  This is the first of a few such farms that will assist in decreasing the demand on the national electricity grid.  Exciting news!

Read more about this fascinating project over here.

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Thrift stores and surprises

I love Kensington!  *It’s my neighbourhood.

Yesterday I had some time to wander and explore.  Kensington is filled with interesting history and places.  One of them is Queen Street.  It is lined with loads of coffee shops, thrift-shops etc.

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I love rummaging through antique shops.  I love looking at items of years gone by…and even better when I can buy them!

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Where to look?

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Love these art deco light fixtures

My photographer friend, Michael Abrahams would love this antique camera collection.

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Vintage camera collection

And to my surprise…I found a vintage tea set!  Just like mine!  Wow…was shocked to see the price!

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Growing up, I used to admire this tea set my granny had.  She kept it locked up in her sideboard. Remember those sideboards?

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Sideboard

She knew I loved it, so on my wedding day…she gave it to me!  God willing, my granny, Ryce Damonse, will turn 100 years this year!  I love her!  Thanks Mamma!

I love my tea cups.  I’ve lost a few during my moving years.  😦

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I love putting it out when I receive special guests…like my girlfriends.

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Me (on the left) and some of my girlfriends…

Good times…and I will guard my tea cups and save it for my daughters to enjoy one day!

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Sadly sometimes there is no time to mourn…

This week I was fortunate to break away for a few days *

…much required when you live in busy Jozi.

We desperately needed to get out of the city and only decided on Sunday morning we will venture off to the North West.

Totally oblivious to the route we will take…I was quite surprised when we passed the notorious Lonmin’s Marikana Mines.  Last week saw a bloody massacre happen at this typically quiet mining town called Marikana.

Police opened fire on a group of striking workers on Thursday, killing 44 of them and wounding 78. Another 260 were arrested and charged with public violence.

The little town of Marikana began in the year 1870 on the farm Rooikoppes. The indigenous people of the area are the Bapo of Kgosi Mogale who were forcefully removed to Wonderkop in the 1960s. From the one farm in 1870, the settlement expanded into seven white-owned farms.  As in numerous other parts of South Africa, the South African War (SAW) of 1899-1902 disrupted the lives of the people of Marikana.  After the SAW, a few Indian families moved into what had then become a small town and opened shops. In 1933, Buffelspoort dam was constructed in the nearby Sterksroom river. This dam enabled the town’s farmers to irrigate their crops. By 1950, Marikana had seven white and five black schools. In about 1976, platinum mining began very close to Marikana. The mining town is called Mooinooi. Meanwhile, Marikana was given a municipality status, but as part of, and under, Rustenburg Municipality. (http://www.nwhist.co.za/view-place.php?placeid=48)

Now to start off…this story made headlines for the whole of last week.  I kept tabs while on the road visiting sites.  Now I don’t know all the exact facts of what happened.  All I know is that a lot of people lost their lives…unnecessarily.

I am not one for politics and proletarian rights but this is a real sad situation.  Driving through this town today (on our way back) it looked extremely calm.

Although there is still a huge police presence (we were pulled over by very stern-looking cops with huge guns), all looked quiet.

Made me think about all those families having to carry on with life after their father, brother, husband, son violently passed away.  He probably was the breadwinner too.

How do you move on with such a huge setback?  How do you make yourself to get up in the morning, tend to your kids and deal with the loss?

*This has been on my mind the whole day.  Sadly also I got the disturbing news that our building (contractor) foreman’s wife also passed away today.  She was young and suddenly fell very ill.  He is young also, and is now left to raise two children under the age of 5.

These people were ordinary workers trying to make a living and providing for their families.  They don’t have rich relatives or money stashed away.

Usually you take some time off to mourn the loss of a loved one…is it not unfair that some of them don’t even have this basic right.  Some of those left behind have to immediately get back up again and go to work!  No work no pay isn’t it?

Sjoe! (an Afrikaans word to express shock or disbelief; pronounced like shoo).  How do you deal with the inevitable…DEATH…it’s a part of life.  On the other hand some of us believe death is the beginning of our new eternal life.  It is something I really look forward to…but my carnal mind and earthly body has to deal with death as a human being.

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which isplanted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
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Urban stop @ graffiti

Graffiti ~ {A rude decoration inscribed on rocks or walls}

Today we went to church as per usual. After hearing a Spirit-filled Word we headed home. Then we ran into car trouble. We pulled over and rested under one of the bridges on Hendrik Potgieter Road and at first I was highly irritated at this inconvenience.  I wondered why would I let myself get upset after such a life-changing Word was just preached to me?  Then I decided to relax and just take in what this experience had to offer.

Graffiti on the walls

Graffiti (singular: graffito; the plural is used as a mass noun) is writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place.[1] Graffiti ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, and has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.[2] In modern times, paint, particularly spray paint, and marker pens have become the most commonly used graffiti materials. In most countries, marking or painting property without the property owner’s consent is considered defacement and vandalism, which is a punishable crime. Graffiti may also express underlying social and political messages and a whole genre of artistic expression is based upon spray paint graffiti styles. Within hip hop culture, graffiti has evolved alongside hip hop musicb-boying, and other elements.[3] Unrelated to hip-hop graffiti, gangs use their own form of graffiti to mark territory or to serve as an indicator of gang-related activities. Controversies that surround graffiti continue to create disagreement amongst city officials/law enforcement and writers who wish to display and appreciate work in public locations. There are many different types and styles of graffiti and it is a rapidly developing art form whose value is highly contested, reviled by many authorities while also subject to protection, sometimes within the same jurisdiction. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graffiti)

Some homeless people actually sleep under this bridge at night.  This brief 30-minute stop made me realise how ungrateful I can be sometimes.

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Why I can sleep in tomorrow…

Sharpeville (Photo: Baileys African History Archives; Corbis; Avusa Archives)

21 March: Human Rights Day

On this day in 1960 the police killed 69 people at Sharpeville who were participating in a protest against the pass laws. Many were shot in the back. The carnage made world headlines. Four days later the government banned black political organizations, many leaders were arrested or went into exile. During the Apartheid era there were human rights abuses by all sides; Human Rights Day is but one step to ensure that the people of South Africa are aware of their human rights and to ensure that such abuses never again occur. (http://africanhistory.about.com)

So this day we remember all those who gave up their lives so I can live a better life.  I don’t take it lightly.  I salute you!

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In and around Jozi

For my job, I drive a whole lot around Jozi.  There is such a lot happening around the city and I always have my camera ready.

Recycling being second nature, signs like these really grab my attention:

Interesting outdoor sign

Specialist outdoor media company Guerrilla IMC is responsible for this eye-catching billboard.  Last week saw a rainstorm pass through Johannesburg and while driving I caught this picture on camera while it was pouring outside.

Daryl van Arkel, Director at Guerrilla IMC:

It seems South Africans have become complacent with littering. “Seemingly people think it is fine to throw rubbish in our streets and out their car windows”. “Guerrilla will begin using unsold sites to communicate to people that littering is not OK and we actually care about the way our city looks! We hope the wider industry takes up this gauntlet with us. We intend on using a hard hitting message in the hope that people will wake up to this issue, in fact the message may turn some heads!” Another positive spin off of a campaign such as this is it is an opportunity to employ people who would otherwise not have a job opportunity which is much needed in South Africa right now.

One of the sites is at Greenside Quarter (corner Barry Hertzog and Gleneagles Drive, Greenside, Johannesburg) – during the day this site is highly visible to the passing traffic on Barry Hertzog drive, as well as local traffic in and around the Emmarentia dam and Johannesburg botanical gardens.

It is actually really shocking to see how many people litter.  When I’m out and about, I regularly see people in fancy cars throwing out cigarette buds out of their window.  Shocking!  Count me in…do your bit for the environment and don’t litter!

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How social media changed my life: Leo Crisp

This exciting post marks the first of many interviews of very interesting individuals.  Today we meet Leo Crisp.

Since its inception in February 2004, Facebook and other social media applications have revolutionised the way we communicate. Some bask in it, some not. Then there are people who optimise it to the full, maximising both awareness and spreading their business and personal brands. One such person is, entrepreneur Leo Crisp:

Lilly Loompa: Where were you born?

Leo Crisp:  I was born in Coronationville Hospital, Johannesburg.  I currently reside in Cape Town, South Africa.

LL: Your last name is very prophetic of your media background. Media speaks of fresh and new tidings. Crisp is a very appropriate surname don’t you think?

LC: Well, I always get compliments for having the such a cool surname.

LL: What is your current occupation? What other endeavors are you occupied with?

LC: My current occupation is running around like a rhino being chased by Chinese poachers… LOL – I am an Energy Services Manager which means I basically assist individuals, organisations, companies, municipalities to reduce their energy consumption. We’re in the business of clean energy. Check out our website www.gares.co.za

LL: How has Facebook and social media changed your life?

LC: It has created a platform to interact with both old and new friends and those with similar interests to mine.

LL: As of February 2012, Facebook has more than 845 million active users. According to statistics the average Facebook user has 120 confirmed friends. Leo, you have almost 5000 confirmed friends. Does that really represent your circle of friends and acquaintances?

LC: It represents people who I enjoy interacting with.  We engage on various topics like humour and politics. I love asking political questions around the contemporary situation we face daily.  But more importantly to get the views and opinions of my facebook friends on love, relationships, emotional issues.  These are issues we all face on a daily basis. I am also on twitter and can be found by searching for @LeoCrisp

Leo and President Jacob Zuma

LL: That is a lot of friends to keep up with. Do you find yourself spending much time on replies and comments to keep your friend circle active?

LC: Nope, I actually use social media mostly via my smartphone and via hootsuite which means I can update both twitter and facebook simultaneously or either one of the two or our business page named Green Africa Resources and Energy Solutions.

LL: You are known as a controversial individual. Whenever you post a statement or updating your status, is your goal to always stir the people?

LC: Well, I didn’t know I was known as a controversial individual. I just share the truth or what I’m feeling at the moment. So ja, if that is controversy then so be it. I’m just sharing my honest opinion on a particular topic.

LL: Do you think Facebook, Twitter, Hootsuite, etc can benefit mankind and address our social challenges? Do you think people use it for that benefit or do you identify more downsides to it?

LC: I think it can change the way we operate in this world if used positively and with information just a click away. Why not benefit those who need it for educational purposes as well. One can subscribe, follow or just befriend those that can add value to you. If they don’t add value, press the delete button and m.

Who inspires you? Who are your role models? Do you see yourself as a role model being involved in youth politics?

LC: I like the good things in many, various people but do not idolize individuals as they can disappoint you at any time.  Maybe with a sex scandal or even something worse. Many positive people inspire me like the ordinary man I meet on the street daily. For instance a good organizer and planner is a good role model. Meeting other people and heeding to their stories makes us discover each other’s passions and helps us achieve our goals.

LL: What would you want to achieve in 2012 both personally and socially? What are your goals for the year?

LC: My goal is to reduce the carbon footprint on the planet. Create awareness for using our resources like energy and water more efficiently. We are currently busy with a project in Gugulethu, New Crossroads Nyanga, where we hope to achieve 5MW of energy savings by the end of March. Working with young people and probably the most marginalized in Cape Town is probably a blessing in disguise.  More than 80% of our youth is unemployment. My dream is to impact Cape Town and the globe with better opportunities and ideally leave a legacy of hope.

Thank you Leo for sharing your story.  A remarkable young man, succeeding in making a difference.

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Carols under the stars

We have been visiting a very dynamic and Kingdom-minded church for the last 6 months and committed to this body about a month ago.  Kingdom Life Embassy (The church is busy changing their Corporate Identity so website is still under construction) hosted a Carols under the Stars at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens yesterday.  I helped with the decor for the production.

 

Carols under the stars

Once again apologies for the quality of the photo’s. I hope to get my camera fixed shortly.

Stage

The Worship team outdid themselves

Erin and the team were fantastic. It was so refreshing being under the stars with my hubby and two girls…really enjoyed being serenaded by the performers.  Thanks guys for a great evening!

 

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My weekend…

It was a busy one.

Friday – we had supper with friends, (two sisters) Shireen & Anthea in Benoni.

Saturday – WAS MY BIRTHDAY!!!  I am yet to get excited about my birthday, there was just so much happening I decided not to have a party.  Rather I chose to attend a traditional African wedding in Soweto.  It was so refreshing and lively as only the Sowetans can do!  I love the spirit of Ubuntu at gatherings like these.  It is so tangible.

“Ubuntu is a concept in the Bantu Language.

It is about the essence of Humanness.

Simply put: ‘people are people through other people’

I am human because I belong. This concept acknowledges both the rights and the responsibilities of each citizen in promoting individual and societal wellbeing.”

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Loved the decor!

The event was at Hope’s mother home.  They closed off the street and the guests walked down a red carpet.  Thanks for making us part of your special day Tebogo and Hope!  We hope to join you for your white wedding in February in Cape Town!  I couldn’t catch a photo of the bride and groom as my camera died on me!  Sorry! Read more on African weddings & traditions here.

Saturday evening – Went to another birthday celebration of a dear friend Samantha.  This party was also a combined farewell to friends of theirs.

Sunday – After a blessed time at church we attended a birthday party of 5-year old Roxy Botha. Thanks Mel and Reggie for making us part of your day!  We love meeting new people and we made some great friends at the party at Delta Park .

That was my busy weekend.  I definitely feel a year older after that!  I made a new friend at church, Melonie.  She jokingly asked me about the amount of weddings I have attended so far.  Maybe I should change my blog topic to that of weddings…what do you think?

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Charity sometimes comes with its own set of problems

Yes it does. It is very rewarding but also very frustrating many times.

As mentioned previously, we live in Naturena on charity grounds.  Ashley and I share the responsibility of taking care of the day to day running of the Breakthrough Centre.  The last few weeks has particularly been challenging.  We had a burglary, electricity black-outs and vandalism.

Firstly, about 2 months ago a group of kids from the neighbourhood broke the windows of the ablution block next to the creche.

Broken windows

We have identified the children and they literally live around the corner.  Our idea is to meet with their parents to try and find a solution to this challenge.  Hopefully we will do it soon.

Cable theft is a very popular crime in South Africa.  “Copper cable theft, which is estimated to cost the South African economy about R5-billion a year, has been declared a high-priority crime, “says Advocate Simi Pillay-van Graan, a Business Against Crime South Africa executive.

Last week the charity fell victim when a very expensive electric cable was stolen.  This happened during the wee hours of the morning after it was planted underground.  It appears the thieves dug it up and ripped it out.

Where the cable was stolen

The value was roughly R1250,00.  That is nothing compared to the loss the Gautrain suffered earlier this year when thieves stole cables to the value of around R45million.  Really disheartening when you consider that they won’t nearly get that amount back in selling it.

Then we had a few black-outs.  Some of them were related to the work the electrician was doing connecting the out-buildings. Then we had problems that we had to log with Johannesburg City Power.  I remember one call we logged at 01h00 am.

City Power truck

In total I think we were without electricity for about 48 hours.  Sjoe, reading this article back to myself is really exhausting.  I am not complaining, in fact I welcome these challenges.  It builds my character. It also teaches me patience and how to work under pressure.

On a more positive note, our neighbour who gave us problems earlier this year came around and made peace.  This time around he asked to chop down the weeds and bushes that grew since the last time he came to cut.  According to him it attracts more izinyoka’s (snakes) to his house.

Just a little update.

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Who am I?

I have been plagued by this question for the last few months.  Where do I really come from?  Who are my ancestors?  This topic came up at three social events this past week.

My granny, my Mother’s mother is 98 and still alive.  I have been meaning to interview her and find out who her parents were and where they originate from.  Unfortunately she is starting to show signs of dementia which means it makes it more difficult.

I think many of our social problems will be lessened if all of us knew our history.  It will give me perspective of why I am and who I am.  Why I harbour certain habits and values.  Imagine finding out your great-great-great grandfather was a king. Imagine how that will influence your current state of mind.  You will think and act very differently because you are of a royal blood-line. Like mentioned in 1 Peter 2:9.  Could I perhaps be of Khoi-San descent?

Bushman drawings

Or could I have European/Caucasian roots?  I also feel a deep connection with my African people.  I am an African.

Read former President Thabo Mbeki’s inspiring speech of 8 May 1996: I am an African.  It encompasses all who we are and our rich history as a nation and continent and people.  I have made a decision to start researching my family tree.  I know it will cost a lot of research and work.  But I realise the value it will mean to my family and the generations to come.

Any ideas on how and where to start?  Please let me know if you have taken on the challenge.

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My mom, the teacher

Teachers are totally underrated.  My mom is a teacher.  A passionate teacher I might add.  I once again had the opportunity to visit her school about 2 weeks ago.

Bergendal Primary

I decided it is the ideal opportunity to interview her and find out more about the school.

Please introduce yourself: I am Felicity Jacobs

How long have you been a teacher? 38 years

 

 

How long have been teaching at Bergendal Primary: 29 years

What grade do you teach? Grade 2

Eager grade 2 pupils

What challenges do you face as a teacher?  The curriculum changes too often resulting in poor learners. We have too little resources.  A big challenge I face is to feed a child before I can teach a child.                                                                                                            

What do you like about teaching?  To see how a young child can learn how to read and write.  They come to school with eager faces and willingness to learn although they face a lot of challenges like poverty and the after effects of apartheid systems like the “dop” system.  

Tell us about the history of the school. The school will be 50 years old in 2012.  Initially the name was Leuwenjaght Primary School.  Situated on Seidelberg  the school presently educates scholars up to grade 9.  When the school started it only had Grade 1-7.  

Roland Seidel purchased the farm 15 years ago and too saw  this as a wonderful opportunity to invest in the community with the aim to let the learners participate in the future growth of the economy.

A lot of renovations have taken place over recent years and with the help of Mr Seidel and other donors there are a number of projects underway . A computer lab was recently built and is also used in the evenings for adult literacy classes. Current projects include the building of additional classrooms as well as the inclusion of a library .

The school yard

A trust was formed to collect money for these renovations. There is still a lot that can be done for the community , so if you wish to get involved in this project please contact the school at the details provided.  Recently Charles Back bought the farm.

What are the immediate needs of the school? We need more classrooms.  We also need to employ more teachers but for that we need more money.  We are always in need for stationery, furniture and computers.                                                                                              

Bergendal Primary

Paarl South

021-863 3470

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I should be grateful…

Dry riverbed

Source: The Sacramento BEE

THE DROUGHT

The worst drought in 60 years in the Horn of Africa has put more than 12 million people in need of immediate assistance in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia. Crops have failed and livestock have died after decreased rainfall in two consecutive rainy seasons.

THE CHILDREN

The drought and famine in Somalia have killed more than 29,000 children under age 5 in the last 100 days in southern Somalia, according to U.S. estimates. The United Nations says 640,000 Somali children are acutely malnourished, suggesting the death toll of small children will rise.

Somalia drought

A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region. Although droughts can persist for several years, even a short, intense drought can cause significant damage and harm the local economy.

Wow…I have realised how ungrateful I am sometimes.  I forget how blessed I am.  Yes, I have problems…lots of problems. But I also have a lot to be thankful for.  I am healthy, alive and have a family that loves me.  Imagine not having running water at your disposal.  Imagine not having eaten in weeks/months.  Imagine watching your children die of hunger.

Forgive me Lord for being so ungrateful.  I thank You for being my Provider.  I will stop being selfish and forget about what I need and want.  My mind has been altered into living with more gratitude and making a difference in other’s lives.

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Our Daily Bread

This week sees a really exciting time in the life of the charity 1in1out.  As you might know, we stay on the charity’s property as the site managers.

Bakery

This is the bakery the charity acquired about a year ago.  It is fully fitted with 2 industrial ovens and a bread mixer.  This week we started training to start operating as a fully fledged bakery.

Cold weather

So training kicked off yesterday on what seemed like the coldest day in Joburg this year.  The bakery is a shipping container that has not been insulated like the container house on site.  It was so cold inside, we decided to move into the main house for the theory part of the course.

Doing sums

I thought baking bread was simple!  We had to learn how to do costing so you get maximum profit from your yield.

Today was more exciting.  We got to get our hands dirty and actually started baking!

Kneading the dough

Baking bread is hard work!!!  Hygiene comes first so I had to step aside as I have a deep cut in my right thumb.  I suppose it comes with the territory of being a DIY-er!

After about 2 hours of mixing, resting, proofing and baking this was the yield we delivered…

1st yield of Our Daily Bread!

I haven’t felt this proud in a while!  Our first yield of the Our Daily Bread concept!  The bakery will primarily operate as a non-profit business.  We will supply schools and communities that are in dire need with loaves of bread on a daily basis. Then whatever is left over will be sold to the local spaza shops to make up for some funds.

This is a great project.  The aim is to also bake pastries which will be sold to make some profit to fund the distribution of the bread to the schools etc.  We hope to officially open the bakery at the end of September.

Every morning before we start we pray and this morning’s scripture reading was taken from Mark 6.  I will only quote verses 39-43.

39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.”

Wow…this is so prophetic for what we are trying to achieve.  With the little we have we are aiming to feed thousands and with God’s help we know we will!  If you want to get involved, drop us a line. Every little bit helps!

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Why was I designed?

I have been thinking a lot about myself and my purpose once again lately.  Especially after the sad and confusing incident that happened in Norway last week, as well as the passing of Amy Winehouse over the past weekend.

I don’t personally know any of the people mentioned, but it just struck a chord as to where I fit into God’s plan.  I know for sure life is more than eating, sleeping and working…without a doubt.

A few years ago Ashley and I visited Maropeng in the Cradle of Humankind.  Although I don’t believe in the Big Bang Theory or evolution, it was a very interesting visit.  (Excuse the quality of the pictures, I took it with my cellphone)

Maropeng

I learned a few shocking statistics:

Shocking statistic

That is a really shocking fact and might be outdated by now.  I am sure the numbers are much more today in 2011.

Another one

I have always wondered what God’s purpose for my life is.  Sadly because we are not born with the immediate knowledge of our intention on earth, a lot of us might die without fulfilling it.

Humankind

Last year in October I started asking God some serious questions regarding mine and I was lead to this very useful document on the Internet.  I started working through the document and a whole new world opened up for me.  It really made me think and I started jotting down my goals and passions.  Since then, a few of them have materialised as well!!!

I challenge you to take a look at it.  It has changed my life and focus tremendously.  I still have a lot of searching to do…but I think the fact that I wrote it down has given me a head start.

Habakuk 2: 2

‘And the LORD answered me, and said: “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” 

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10 Reasons why I love Jozi

Jozi on the move

If you told me a few years ago that I would move to Johannesburg in 2010, I would have refused to believe you.  I always vowed never to trade my beloved Cape Province for another…especially not crime-ridden Gauteng.

One of my friends, Yvette lived in Jozi for close to 7 years with her husband, Ronwyn Hughes.  Each time we would visit them the discussion would come up.  For years they would pose the question: “Why don’t you guys move up to the city…it’s not as bad as they say it is.”  I couldn’t understand their obsession with this place.  Everything was so fast and literally furious.  The rat race was unbearable as well as the traffic!

However, if God has plans for you, there’s no fighting it.  So we moved to the city of gold in April 2010, completely by faith.

Having moved countless times, we have literally married the nomadic lifestyle.  Thus we naturally settled in.  It was our first move to another province and although we were sad to be away from our family, it was exciting.

New prospects…new beginnings, a new start…  so we learned to love it.  And as the Hughes’ pointed out…it is not as bad as they say.

  1. Yes, there is traffic…all the time.  It is bad and the pollution is suffocative.  However, there are six million trees in Johannesburg. On satellite pictures, the city looks like a rain forest, albeit man-made. There are 1.2 million trees within the parks and on the pavements, and 4.8 million in private gardens throughout the suburbs.

Jozi trees

  1. Joburg’s suburbs are beautiful.  The houses are palatial and the gardens are very well kept.
  1. What it lacks in a sea, it makes up in a few dams namely the Emmarentia Dam and Zoo Lake among others.
  1. My opinion is that people are more open to change that in my home province.  Please note: this is based on my personal experience.
  1. The city is magnificent!  I love the buildings and their history.  I have been doing some reading regarding.
    When gold was discovered in the area in 1886 , Johannesburg sprang up from the veld as a rowdy mining camp. The city will be 125 years old this year.
  1. Jozi raised world-players such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu amongst others.  They lived in Vilakazi Street in Soweto.

Vilakazi Street, Soweto

  1. Johannesburg houses a few cities.  The FNB Soccer City and Gold Reef city.  Soccer city was the flagship venue for the FIFA World Cup 2010.  It hosted both the opening match and the final.  Gold Reef City Theme Park, a living attraction that documents the gold rush and the birth of Jozi (Johannesburg), and the place to learn more about the city’s fascinating history of grit, glory and gold.

FNB Soccer City

  1. I love the winters here.  Temperatures sometimes go below freeze point, but the sun would be shining.  I can’t say the same for summers…I hate the thunderstorms!
  1. Surprisingly I have grown used to the street vendors.  Especially the ones that sell hand-made products.  I love their quality offering and how they encapsulate the city in their work.
  1. The city has a certain pulse and it’s addictive.  The inner city buzzes with people from all over Africa that gives it a raw energy that I like.  It truly is a melting pot of people, cultures and opinions.

Melting pot

There are many more reasons why I love Joburg, maybe even more why I should hate it.  The crime rate is probably the city’s most famous liability, the traffic is a nightmare and the road works have been dragging for years…but it has the Gautrain, Africa’s first speed train.

You see…whenever I hear of something negative about the place I now call home, I am quick to think of a positive.  I guess its part of being a nomad.  You learn to adapt and see the positive about your new home town.  It is a great survival instinct.

Oh, you want to know what I think of the new tollgate system?  Right now, I try not to think about it.  We as South African’s have amazing coping abilities.  I will drive myself by this motto: I’ll drive less, talk less, work more and try to create a better country! 😉

What do you like about your hometown or city! Please share!


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This was our day…

Today is June, 16th, a significant day in our history as a country.  You can read the full history right here.

We went to see the production, Alice in Wonderland, at the People’s Theatre at Johannesburg Theatre. This was really exciting as this would be the girls’ debut to theatre.

Show is about to start!

The guys and girls after the show

Our dear actor-friend, Solomon Cupido (on the left), is part of the cast.  Soon you would be able to see him in the new movie, “Ek joke net.”  which opens on 24 June at Nu Metro Cinema’s nationwide.  Check it out!

So after the show we decided to get together and have a braai since we were in the holiday spirit.  Solomon’s family were also visiting from Paarl, so before the braai we decided to take a whirl-wind tour of Soweto like we always do.

Wow…what a day it turned out to be?  We didn’t realise it would be such a brilliant day. We started out in Freedom Square in Kliptown, moved over to Regina Mundi church, then to Hector Pietersen Museum.  All these places were packed with people attending commemoration events…it was emotional and humbling.  Here follows our day in a photo story:

Jozi on the move (pic taken while driving in the car)

The Walter Sisulu Square (Freedom Charter)

Sundial in Freedom Tower

Freedom Charter

Eternal Flame (sadly not in working order)

Regina Mundi Church

Impressive interior of the church

Stained glass windows

Statue of Jesus in foyer

The story of Soweto

Hector Pietersen Museum

Struggle

Freedom

Democracy

Sjoe, I am still reeling.  It is so humbling to think and remember all our heroes of the past. I thank you…I thank you for your suffering and sacrifice.  Actually my words don’t do you justice.  Let me just keep quiet and remember you.

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What lies below the rooftop…

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the rat race I find myself in.  It’s a constant hurry to nowhere.  Early mornings, traffic, work, politics, crime, poverty, dishonesty, traffic again, rushed evenings…where are we all heading?

Rooftops in suburbia

En-route home I am always fascinated by the Johannesburg suburbs.  This is where the workforce of the economic capital of SA resides.  I always wonder what goes on in each house.  Does this house have a father?  Does he provide for his family?  Are they happy?  The huge house on the hill…is the owner content although he makes millions?

Are the kids unruly?  Does the mother realise how much damage she is doing with that extra-marital affair.  Does the family ever have supper around the the dining table and discuss the day’s happenings?  The seven o’ clock news strikes, and while the rest of the country watches the day’s events, the women with the bruised face contemplates how she can escape this abusive relationship.  She tries to hide the weeping from her young kids who are unaware of the situation.

How will the family in the dilapidated shack survive the cold winter?  Where will the father find employment tomorrow?  How will they make it on less than R1000 per month.  School fees, food, clothes, groceries, transport money…the list is endless.

My neighbourhood

All looks fine and peaceful from the outside.  Most of us lead secret lives.  My mother always says…”Elke huis het sy kruis.” Roughly translated…each home has its own problems.  How well do you know your neighbour?  Do I know them by name?  Do you make a conscious effort to reach out?  Do I realise I can make a positive difference?  I love the picture above…although we might be in turmoil here on the ground…the rainbow speaks of hope and a way out.

Genesis 9:12-16 (NIV) 

 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

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Visitors from all over…including a gnawer, a mongoose and a rugby team!

Last night I was happily going on with my business in the kitchen preparing sandwiches for the girls for school.  As I was spreading butter on the bread I noticed a small grey ball of fur in my blind spot and my hair literally stood on end. I was horrified and went stone-cold for a second as I realized it was a mouse.

Uuurgh, I hate small 4-legged furry creatures in my home!  And now there is one right here in my kitchen…in the cupboard!!

Mouse

This was the path he followed all along the wall and literally jumped up and slipped in the cupboard. The opening must be less than 1cm thick and he just squeezed right through it.

Now we have been living here for close to 3months and we have never had a mouse (or at least we never saw one).  We accounted this to the hear-say stories about snakes on the property.  We also recently discovered we have 2 meerkats on site!  They seem to live under my dream home…the container home.  I must say…I was pleasantly surprised when I saw one the other day.  He was so cute!  But he was too far to get a nice picture.  So I downloaded a picture from the internet.

Mongoose

This is not the exact specie but it looked similar.

For the last 2 weeks, the charity 1in1out has been hosting a group of 85 two-legged friends from Wales, England and Canada on-site.  Then I realized it’s because we have had so much traffic in and out the house since the visitors came that Mr. Mouse nestled in so nicely.  He must have slipped in while the kitchen door was open.  (Need to get those gauze doors)

This was our view from the kitchen a few weeks ago…

Before

And this is how it looks now…

The busy team

It’s a flurry of activity.  The guys and girls have sacrificed their holiday to come and work and make a difference to our poverty-stricken South Africa.  Among them is a rugby team from Cardiff, Wales.

The team interacting with some kids from the Lindelani Informal Settlement in Freedom Park.

They have some rugby matches lined up for the duration of their stay with local teams.  If they’re not playing, the whole team is involved in upgrading the 1in1Out site.  If all goes well, the site will be transformed into a skills development centre to benefit the immediate community firstly, then others there-after.

Constructing a floor

Here you can see the guys busy constructing a floor for the intended crèche.  The idea is that the space between the 2 red containers will be converted into a common play-area for the kids.  The team leader, Bill Hebner from Canada, is a huge advocate for container living as he himself has lived in one.  So he knows firsthand the benefits etc.

They have done a tremendous amount thus far.

Shuffling some sand away

The team from First National Bank

The team from First National Bank also jumped in.  Here they are painting the RDP house.

The team packing food

This is how some of the team members spent their Saturday night…packing food for the destitute.

We thank God for them.  They have come to make a difference…and indeed they are doing so.  As for my other guest…not sure how to get rid of him.  We have sporadically placed rat poison in strategic places.  Obviously this poses a danger as I have 2 small kids.  Do you have any suggestions that are safe and not harmful to the environment?  Please send them through!  Help…my house smells like mouse!

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Trouble with the neighbours…

Last week we got the devastating news that Ashley’s grandfather, Daddy May, passed on. He had been sick for a few weeks and passed away on Tuesday, 1 March 2011.  So we swiftly packed and within hours we were on the road to Cape Town.

Firstly let me say, although Daddy May was Ashley’s grandfather, he was actually his Dad. He literally became his father when Ashley’s parents unfortunately divorced.  So this was really a big blow to both him and his family.

So all went well with the funeral and we left Paarl a week later and arrived in Egoli on Wednesday, 9 March at around 9 in the morning.

After 14 hours on the road with a fully-loaded car and two nagging babes, the only thing I could think of was a glorious nap.

But we had a rude awakening when our helper and house sitter, Chris, gave us the news that one of our neighbours gave some trouble.  He came into the yard while Chris was inside and chopped off a bunch of trees!  This was our view when we initially moved in…

And this is how it looks now…

We were flabbergasted!  How can someone just come onto one’s property and do as he pleases?  I was devastated! I am not sure what type of trees they were…but they offered us some protection and privacy.  Before we couldn’t even see those rooftops.

Chris is from Zimbabwe and has been living with us for a few weeks. We have known him for the last three years.  Workers from neighbouring countries are regularly victims of Xenophobia, so he was forced to stay out of the whole debacle and watched helplessly as they cut off the trees.

Yesterday we decided to go around to the unknown neighbour who stays in this house…

We went around to the main entrance of their house on the other side and was greeted by a very hostile man who we suspected was the culprit.  Initially he made us believe he was only renting and will give us the number of the owner.  But upon us revealing why we were there…he totally blew a gasket!

He swore and shouted and rambled on about how nobody tells him what to do…and he does not give a hoot (that’s putting it mildly) about what anybody thinks of him!

We are still reeling about what happened.  We consider ourselves “good” neighbours.  We are reasonable people and are always willing to talk things through.  We don’t promote violence and malicious behaviour at all.  Ashley kept very calm while being sworn and shouted at all the while talking over the fence.  He refused to let us in his property.  His wife seemed very helpless and was willing to talk things through but her husband totally dominated the situation and we eventually left.

We immediately called the police and have decided to lay a formal charge.  This is not ideal, but we cannot just leave it there.  It is just not fair to us, or to the planet.  We don’t know what his reasons were, but the least he could have done, was consult us in the matter.

We pray that the situation will not get messy.  We have long-term plans to lay a herb and vegetable garden and will now also have to plant some trees to replace those lost.

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