Right now we have a visiting team from our home church, Red Rocks Church. We've been working in the squatter camp of Freedom Park, just outside of Rustenburg, South Africa.
It's been a great trip, so far. I always love seeing how this kind of a trip impacts those who come to South Africa to work with us.
We are building a new shack for a very destitute family. It's unusual to find a complete family unit living together in Freedom Park. Both the mom, dad, and 3 children have HIV. They are living in a shack that is in extremely poor condition. The shack belongs to someone else and they are just letting the family stay there. The local caregivers have asked us to build a new shack for this family to give them cleaner living conditions. (Freedom Park is technically an illegal squatter camp, so we can't actually build a proper house.)
We are also working on a new community garden on the property of the medical clinic that runs the HIV treatment program in Freedom Park. They have a plot of land that they want help turning into a community garden. The soil there is very thick, nasty clay. Worse than anything I've ever seen. It is VERY hard work turning the soil.
Our team really have been troopers, doing a great job. Once we get the soil broken up we are going to bring in some truck loads of manure and topsoil to mix into the clay. Hopefully making better soil for a garden.
In the afternoons the team is spending time with the kids in the OVC (Orphan and Vulnerable Children) program in Freedom Park run by the Catholic church. They oversee the kids in the area who are vulnerable, making sure that they get meals, medical care, and they try to get them in school when possible.
In the after school program the kids get a hot meal, play games, have tutoring and Bible lessons. We are spending time with those kids, doing arts and crafts and Bible lessons.
Yesterday my kids, Madison, Kyler, and Kendi, went with me to the after school program. They were a little overwhelmed by the attention they got from all the little African kids. The kids in Freedom Park aren't used to having white kids come play with them. Madison did well, becoming a little "teacher's helper" for our team. Kyler and Kendi were a bit overwhelmed by everyone wanting to hold their hands, and touch their hair.
Overall it's been a great trip so far. I love sharing our lives with visitors. I know it will impact them for the rest of their lives.