Mfume Baba!

Out in the South Coast of Durban, there is an organisation that helps disabled children, where either their parents can’t take care of them, or they won’t. This area, is a place where there is no electricity or running water. The “staff” consist of volunteers from the community, who not only act as care givers to these children, but also take on the task of walking to fetch water (up to 5kms), making fires to heat water to make sure it is safe to drink and to cook food, among many things.

It is a difficult life that is the reality for most people in these remote rural areas. The thing that makes these people extraordinary, is that they are doing it for children who can not do it for themselves, children that are not their own. There are a few children there, but the child pictured, was born with half a brain and severely deformed appendages. He can’t do much for himself, but he craves attention. As you approach his cot, he sticks his tummy up in the air, and jiggles around, signaling for you to pick him up, or at the very least interact with him. When you do, he laughs and giggles, because you have literally just made his day. He is well loved, and it shows.

This “Baba” (a Zulu term of respect for a man), clearly has a soft spot for him, and what I love about this picture, is it shows on his face. He is not his father, but you would never know!

If you would like to know more, donate, or help in anyway, you can get hold of “Let Us Work” via their blog.

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Humble Sanctuary…

I know I said that I would post a picture of the moon with a follow on anecdote from yesterdays post, but apparently I am a liar who cannot keep my word. To be honest, the moon pic is not really that amazing, so I’m not going to get upset or lose sleep over a broken promise, especially since I am posting a picture of a church right now. So I think I am “redeemed by God’s grace and mercy”, and plus, I’m pretty sure no one cares. There’s always that!

This church was in the middle of Umbazwane, a mostly rural community in the northern KZN, South Africa. It is right by Sodwana Bay. This church was in the middle of a field, with uncut grass, and nothing really close to it, apart from the pastor’s homestead. It was built by the pastor, and the community, and although it is not exactly waterproof, its never wet inside. There are bats in the roof, but the church is clean with handmade wooden benches for pews. I usually don’t really edit photos, other than making them black and white, but this one, I wanted to just desaturate, to give it a moody look.

In a place where people have no electricity and walk to fetch clean water, I cant help but think of it as a humble sanctuary. It is all these people have really, and they take pride in it. The day I was there, a swarm, for lack of a better word, of butterflies came past. I managed to catch it on camera, but not very well as it happened so fast. I wish I had set up a faster shutter, but there wasn’t enough time! Again, all in one post, I have broken my own editing rules and added a 15% highlight so you can see the butterflies a little better. Most of them are black spots! So I’m including another angle of the church in all it’s coloured glory, that was taken earlier in the day when the sun was still very bright, and the butterflies!

A heart for change

In Lower Illovo, there is a “Tree Clinic” run by Operation Bobbi Bear. The Tree Clinic is basically a gathering of rural woman under a Natal Fig Tree (Ficus natalensis). They meet once a week to support each other, get treatment for minor ailments, receive HIV/Aids awareness education, talk about their issues, get advice and assistance with social problems, grants, child care and many other things. Operation Bobbi Bear also hands out second hand clothes and some food items that have been donated by private people and companies. This is one of the Zulu spiritual leaders at the Tree, addressing the woman before a blessing was given to an unborn baby. Some representatives from Keep a Child Alive (one of the funders of The Tree Clinic and OBB) were also visiting that day. The weather was beautiful, and Mrs Ndandwe was excited to see all the woman with a heart to change their communities.