Family Update

We decided to brave the wet and cold and spend a few hours in the Nature Reserve yesterday with the boys! We were the only people there apart from those actually climbing the mountain, so it was a bit weird - but great for us! The Nature Reserve is really beautiful at this time of year. The proteas are out in all their glory and look beautiful against the dark greens of the surrounding foliage and the dramatic dark skies.
One of the best ways to make inroads into a community is to get stuck in and help with practical needs. So this week I've been trying to get more involved in this way. I spent some time with Aunty Florrie this week and with some help from Michael managed to stop two major leaks on her roof. The rains are due back over the weekend so our handy-work will certainly be tested.

We're also looking at how we can practically assist some of our other members especially one young couple who have three kids and no home of their own. Hopefully we can tell you more soon.

Inter School Sports

Joel & Eli's school (International School of Helderberg) has two 'sister' schools in the Cape so today they held their annual Winter Inter-IES sports event with three main events of Football (or soccer as they insist on calling it here), Hockey and Netball. Eli is too young to compete, but Joel was involved in two football matches against Hout Bay International School and Blouberg International School. They won the first one 3-0 and lost the second 4-2.

Miles 4 Smiles Assembly

This morning I had the privilege of attending the special Miles For Smiles assembly at Joel & Eli's school.

The total raised this year was R40,375 (£3100)which is an amazing amount of money for such a small school. Last year as a school we raised enough to pay for four cleft palate operations so this year we should be able to pay for seven and a bit which is fantastic!

Fresh Herbs

Paula has been wanting to grow her own herbs for a while so having successfully killed off a tree in the pot we decided to give it a try.

We planted Basil, Parsley and Rocket for starters and we plan to move onto Coriander next. Amazingly, despite our best efforts the plants are thriving and we've used a little bit already.

We just need to convince Eli not to play with his diggers in the pot which is no small undertaking!

Bakkie

We're very pleased to present our new bakkie which we were able to purchase with the very generous support of St.Andrew's Oxshott, Queens Road Wimbledon and some friends in Cheadle.

It's a Ford Bantam which is built in South Africa exclusively for the local market. The 'bakkie' bit (it means 'bowl' in Afrikaans) has lower sides than our previous one so it's far easier to get stuff in and out. It has already been a huge blessing as we've been transporting food and building materials here there and everywhere.

Dirk

This afternoon I had an experience which would probably scare the life out of most South Africans but somehow it seemed quite normal to me.

I was out and about with Michael and whilst he was in someone's house a guy called Dirk waved to me and then came over and got into my bakkie. Thankfully I've known Dirk for a few years and trust him. Anyway, he started to tell me that today was the day that he finally got confirmation that God is alive and well and he wants everybody to know this.

Feeding Programme

Our feeding programme in CNP continues to go well and As has become custom over the last few years, once a month we deliver food to some of the neediest folk in the community. Today we bought the food (made possible by the Phillipi Trust and St.George's Weald) for our 13 HOPE home based care patients. This is a monthly venture and really blesses the families concerned, particularly in these days of huge price rises. It is quite a big task, but, together with our local supermarket, we are finally getting a system together that runs like clockwork! We then use the bakkie to pile all the food in before taking it off for house to house deliveries - you should see the smiles on people's faces and hear their thanks!! It's very humbling.

Home Improvements

Michael has been making the most of the break in the weather (the rains are due back tomorrow) to get some work done on his 'extension' at the back of his house. I've been helping him over the last few days as he's been able to get some zinc roofing sheets and a 'wendy house' panel which we were able to cut to size and put up as the front of the extension. We then set about putting a window in and below you can see the finished article. I don't think anyone would rush to employ me for my building skills but it has been a lot of fun working with Michael. Maybe we could start a company and call it 'Bodge it & Leggit'.

Mother's Day

Ben 10 is alive and well in our house! A couple of months ago we had no idea who he was, then we succumbed (or at least mum did!) and got DSTV, now we are responsible for propagating his future!!!

As you can imagine, Joel and Eli were delighted when a friend of ours recently returned from the UK with 2 pairs of matching Ben 10 pyjamas for them! Joel couldn't believe his eyes and questioned mum for ages as to where they had come from - knowing he hadn't seen them in the shops here!!!

Miles 4 Smiles

This morning was a big one for the boys as they proudly donned their Miles for Smiles T shirts and set off to complete as many laps as they could in 2 hours to raise money for operations for children with cleft palates. The event was once again organised by their school and the boys had been looking forward to it all week!

Eli got off to a flying start (literally!) and took the little ones race by storm whizzing round the coned off track. The only trouble was that he didn't know how to turn corners, so we had to do a bit of quick coaching!

Chickenpox

For the last few days Joel has been lethargic and complaining of not feeling too well. Today he broke out in spots and the Dr confirmed the obvious... Joel has Chickenpox. He's actually quite proud of it, especially as it means he gets to stay at home tomorrow instead of going to church and will probably miss most of next week from school. Joel decided he likes the smell of the calamine ointment but doesn't enjoy the application as it's "too cold"

Hopefully Eli might catch it too and then we'll be all done on that particular childhood illness.

It's all go in the Finnie household.
It's always alarming to see how quickly an epidemic can become a pandemic. scarily though this particular pandemic transcended the normal route by skipping the epidemic stage and going straight into the full-blown pandemic status.

This is a pandemic that really should have the world seriously concerned! We've seen many ridiculous media events and stories over the years but the speed with which this Media Stupidity Pandemic took hold has truly broken any previous record!