Why I love Dutch people

Last year I wrote about a place called Tshepong – a victim support centre here in Bloemfontein. It’s badly under-funded but has a brilliant leader, Lani, who keeps her staff inspired and motivated. If you want to read the original story I will attempt to hide the link here: in a feat of technical prowess. We wanted to do something to help, but it’s tricky being foreign and new, in a tiny church community made up of people with hardly any income. Lani’s wish was that we create a room for young families to feel comfortable and welcome rather than sitting all day long (literally) on hard benches in rows out in the waiting room. (Actually their desperate need is to have a ‘safe house’ to take women to, rather than sending them back in to threatening situations. There’s not much we can do about that yet…)

We are linked with a network of churches all over the world. A team of people came to help with our launch, and in the middle of a very hectic week, we got busy at Tsephong. On the Monday morning of that launch week we weren’t sure if we had any money coming in at all, or any resources, but we had a plan to just, kind of, ‘do something’ there if we could….! All very vague. But the Dutch people in our team were VERY gracious, very willing, very adaptable, and then…. just got on with it (hence my title)!!

Here’s a few such Dutch people for example: Jan who was just under 2 metres tall and hardly needed a chair to stand on to paint the walls. IMG_7199

 

IMG_7277Also a lady called Hanneke who was more than happy to create a mural, and her husband Heggert, a mime artist, who was happy to mingle and smile, pray for people, build things out of wood… it was quite incredible to realise the talents and personalities of the people who had been sent to us that week.

 

Our friend Jabu (not Dutch) was also helpfully tall! We bought nappies, paint, chairs.. just basics. We wanted to make a space to sit outside in the shade as well, even for the staff who must sometimes need to take a breath…. to give them a break from the trauma. Can you believe it, we asked at Mizpah, a favourite cafe, for some pallettes to build benches, and the manager just GAVE us benches instead! Heggert fixed them up. Somebody planted some winter pansies.. it all came together. Before:

 

After:

Next, our ‘sending church’ in Worthing UK collected some games and craft bit and pieces, which came out in visitors’ luggage. We had the fun job of delivering everything and saying hello each time. Other churches, e.g. from Montana, USA sent cash which we are gradually spending there and building relationships.

I want to say a big belated ‘thank you’ from Tsephong. I’m sorry I haven’t written this update until now, but I’ve still been finishing up and buying little bits still. Yesterday I delivered a little see-saw and when I asked to take a photo, the security guy was embarrassed about the mess.  I said not to worry – you’d be delighted to see that the place is being USED!!!! Hurray.  I hope this scene makes you as happy as it did me. see saw