Storm Clouds Looming?

Sadly this post is nothing to do with the weather but rather the rumours currently doing the rounds in some of the townships.

Whilst I was in Chris Nissen Park this morning I was told by one of the well known gossips (who also seems to have a finger on the pulse of community life) that the xenophobic violence is going to start again on Friday.

The View From Here - Pt 4

I really like these winter days before the rains come. After a few pleasant days the Northwester has picked up and is now pumping right across the Helderberg basin as it brings the rain ever closer. In the process the wind makes some dramatic shapes with the clouds.

Alfred sent another SMS this morning saying:

"Praise God the situation looks calm on our side. But some are still hungry for violence."

We really thank God for keeping Alfred and his family safe.

This afternoon I met Eduardo from Angola. He rocked up at the office looking desperate and confused.

MTB Photo

Here's a photo from my most recent mountain bike race, more can be seen here.

The weather was glorious even though the ride was tough.

We had a great time that weekend, see: Weekend below for more.

Friends & Foes

Last night I spoke to my friend Alfred, a Zimbo' living in a local township, as I wanted to check he was OK and to offer him & his wife accommodation if they needed it. Alfred told me that he'd managed to get his four kids to safety out of the township but he and Pauline were staying. He had arranged a house swap with a friend in the community (a South African national) in the hope that his house would not be attacked. One has to admire the bravery of Alfred's friend! I made Alfred promise that if he got into trouble he'd call me and I would go and pick him up. Alfred used to be a part of my men's bible study in CNP until his work commitments prevented him from attending.

A Spade Is A Spade

Let's be clear about just what is happening here in South Africa.

RACISM IS RAMPANT!

We've had stories about white students in Bloemfontein abusing Res' cleaners and urinating in the food, and now we have stories about neighbours turning on neighbours. Looting their houses, burning them and in some instances burning their neighbours.

South Africa is a deeply racist nation and needs to get a grip of the issues involved and do something to address them before the next generation adopt their parents attitudes and perpetuate the racism that is so deeply ingrained across all sections of society. Blacks, White and Coloured South Africans are all deeply racist!

Township Riots

International news agencies have been running stories of township violence in South Africa over the last few days. What is particularly shocking is that this violence is purely discriminatory as it's directed at foreigners living in the townships. Nigerians, Somalians and Zimbabweans seem to be some of the worst affected. In essence the people in these townships are behaving exactly the same as the white oppressor did during the apartheid years, this is the real tragedy!

Weekend

We had a great weekend in Montagu. Dean was riding the big race so we decided to go back to Joel's favourite place 'in the country' - Farmer Koos's farm. We took the boys straight from school on Friday and enjoyed a fantastic lunch on route - just look at that view! It was wonderfully warm and very relaxing. The boys simply loved pottering around the farm and Eli was often gone for up to an hour making himself at home with the animals/machinery.

Not In The Job Description

Once again, yesterday found me doing things I never thought I would have to and that certainly aren't in my 'job description'!! It was the day of the funeral for my friend in CNP (see: Grieving & Rejoicing). I turned up at 8 am knowing that CNP funerals never run to time, only to find that the first part in the house was already underway!! It was a truly fitting and glorious occasion, in the right sense of the words. My friend's life was honoured and all the glory went to God. As usual though, things never go as you might expect. I had greeted all the family members and stood for an hour in the wind and rain outside the house because there were so many people. Just as we were waiting for the coffin to be brought out of the house and taken to the tent in CNP for the next part of the funeral, my friend's oldest daughter came and told me that I was needed. I went in and next thing found that I was carrying the coffin whilst holding on to the 12 year old daughter who is wailing at this point. I find it strange that noone seems to want to comfort a crying child in this situation. I then spent the next 2 hours taking part in the service whilst trying to be of some comfort to the daughter who was really distraught, yet lucid enough to say that she would never see mummy again. How powerless you feel in situations like this! I was honoured to be able to speak about my friend and managed to provoke a few laughs as well as many tears amongst those gathered, so I think it went down well.

Winter Has Arrived!

Winter is well and truly here and the weather is awful. The Northwest wind is pumping heavily and has almost destroyed our TV aerial as well as taking branches off a few trees. The rain also arrived today which gets most locals quite excited but the English in us stops us from finding rain exciting!

Joel & Eli however couldn't wait to put their raincoats and welly boots on and go splashing in the rain. Thankfully they'd had enough after half an hour but Eli did manage to do some jumping on the trampoline in that time.

As you can see in the photo, the weather really isn't too good but it isn't deterring the boys!

Today is Mother's Day (the international one) so Joel helped me do a cooked breakfast for Mummy which was served in bed much to the delight of the boys. Hopefully Mummy will have a relaxing day if she can remember what one of those is.

Law In South Africa

A friend recently brought this to our attention..

Two recent court cases, have earned the attention of newspaper readers in South Africa

1. One person was fined R1 000 for not having a TV license.
2. Another was released on bail for R500 after being arrested for murder.

The moral of this South African story:

If you do not have a TV license and the inspector comes round, kill him.
You'll save R500.

Bible Study

We had an excellent bible study in Chris Nissen this morning. We were looking at the story of Samson as part of our series on Famous Bible Stories. The aim of the series is to equip the men with a good basic knowledge of where the famous stories are in the bible and what they're about.

Anyway, this morning we were looking at Samson asking the question; was his a wasted life or not? We came to the conclusion that his life was wasted but ultimately God triumphed and something good came out of it. We then sought to apply Samson's story to our own lives, what can we learn and how can we make sure we don't live empty wasted lives? Each of my men agreed that they want to live lives which reflect God's glory so that we can win the community for Christ. I was so proud of them for this!

Grieving And Rejoicing

Today has been a very sad day. We learnt this morning that our friend and patient in CNP who has recently got on to ARV treatment died. She had been very sick in the past week, but we never thought that this was it. Paula took her to the clinic on Tuesday and they immediately admitted her to the hospital where she stayed until her death. Thankfully, Paula, one of our carers and the family were all able to visit her in the final week and spent some quality time talking and praying with her.

Sing Along To Pink Floyd

As I was sat at the computer this evening Paula was feeding the boys and I could hear the David Gilmour CD I made from his recent Remember That Night DVD on the stereo. What really made me smile was the fact that Joel requested the CD, it's currently his favourite (having displaced Roger Waters to #2) and he loves singing along to classic Pink Floyd tracks from the 70's such as Breathe, Wish You Were Here & Comfortably Numb. He's word perfect and sings beautifully. In fact, he knows some of the Floyd stuff so well that he has his own names for them, for example Shine On You Crazy Diamond is known as the Aquarium Song. Joel's favourite at the moment is definitely Gilmour's performance of Echoes, he just can't get enough of it!

"Your Cape Town's Very Nice"

Today being the third public holiday in 1 week(!) we decided to go with our friend Jo into Cape Town, with a difference. This time we wanted to go to the Planetarium, which we knew would be a real treat for Joel. What a day we had! It turns out that the Planetarium is attached to the South African Museum a local version of the Natural History Museum, so we all had a ball gazing at dinosaur skeletons; stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes and getting truly knowledgeable about the great white sharks that we live alongside here in False Bay! Following a very memorable trip to the cafe where Jo had a 'small snack', and we all gazed on in admiration - we had an excellent presentation of stars, planets etc. etc. in the planetarium. Both boys were open-mouthed and loved the chairs that tip right back so that you can gaze at the presentation on the ceiling.

Bike Race Video



Here's a short video of the boys having a bike race. Joel is on Eli's bike and Eli very determinedly rides Joel's, watch his technique.

Breakfast

This was one breakfast that was thoroughly enjoyed, but probably for the wrong reasons.

This week is a bit of an odd week as Monday was a public holiday followed by Tuesday & Wednesday back at work with today and tomorrow also being public holidays. Great for family time but bad news for work and also quite disorienting as it's too easy to forget which day is which as it feels like the weekend all the time.

Guess we shouldn't grumble.