We cannot focus on the past and all the missed opportunities, but we can focus on the future and all the opportunities in front of us.  We, as normal middle of the road people, have so much to be thankful for and when I look at the positive attitudes of the communities living in the shacks around us, I am humbled.  For us, in Hlanganani, the importance of health, food and school are our focus, because those are the basics. However, to develop further than that, takes love, mentorship, security, spiritual wholeness and inclusion into the life and adventure, that life can offer.  This requires others, like us, to include those, in our thoughts, sponsorship, education and offering opportunities and exposure to those that have limited opportunities.

It was hard, during the riots and the Covid shutdown and school holidays, that I had organized the job shadowing for the children over the age of 16.  Two out of the five managed to do their shadowing.  Randburg Magistrates court were so accommodating and helpful and gave our “little lawyer” an eye-opening and informative tour of the courts!  Thank you so much to those that open their arms to allow the children to receive other experiences.  Two children did not pitch for theirs, which breaks my heart, they just have no idea of what wrong choices make, in the direction of their future.

Our student at North West achieved super results and is still going forward, I’m proud of him.  I’m looking forward to seeing him in his teaching career.

The month of July, we experienced a stricter lockdown as well as looting in various parts of the Gauteng; these elements have contributed to making it even harder for some of our families to have a regular income stream. Hlanganani is an advocate of the importance of “teaching one to fish”; however, there are times when there are no fish to be caught! Therefore, we have been blessed by the generosity of some of our partners who donated food parcels to the children and their guardian families this month. Each food parcel consisted of the basic food essentials: mealie meal, rice, beans, soup mix, lentils, pilchards, sugar, oil, candles, etc. We are delighted that the families will have nice, full bellies! These parcels are a wonderful way the children experience God’s love, as all compassion shown to them is a tangible expression of His love.

A number of us have tested positive for Covid so that has kept us isolated and slowed things down a bit.  However, Mandela day saw some donations come in and we were able to distribute them to our children.

A Treasure Trove of Books

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

— Dr. Seuss

One of the difficult elements of Covid restrictions for our youngsters is little to no schooling. This year most government middle schoolers are only attending school once per week, leaving them barely educated and with lots of spare time on their hands, as most do not have access to technology. When asking the young kids in Dieploot what they greatly desired, their response was pleasantly surprising… books.

As the late Kofi Annan was quoted saying, “Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.” Books help educated; they inspire your imagination, and transport you into different worlds, lives, and experiences. They give our children hope for the different possibilities life can offer, who they can strive to be, and what they could experience beyond that of their dirt roads. However, with no library insight and little to no access to books, their desire to read, to improve their English and literacy level is very challenging to achieve.

As a huge lover of books and an advocate for children of all ages to be able to read and listen to books being read out loud, this was one “desire” we could not wait to fulfil. So, armed with a plan and a list of book topic requests, we set off to the local book stores & thrift stores, finding some great deals for under R10! In addition, Olivedale Friends of the Library were amazing and donated over 40 beautiful books for our variety of ages, reading levels, and interests.

As a result, our little neighbourhood library in Diepsloot has been birthed. Now the children can loan out a few books per month. Thus, hopefully, helping them bridge the gap until schooling returns to normal and as a possible bonus, giving them the gift of loving to read, the hope of greater education, and opening up a world of possibilities of what the world could hold for them.

The preschools two preschools that our HBC have started have been moving along in fits and starts while Covid hiccups around us – here are some photos of what’s been happening.

One thing I have learnt over this 2020/2021 time, is that if God wants things to move forward, they do, despite the odds against us. I hope you enjoyed reading the letter! 😊

Be to others as you would have them to be to you, take care and thank you for your love and support. ‘Till next time.