This blog is an account of our lives and ministry in South Africa. Please click on the tabs above to learn a little more about us and what we do.

We hope you enjoy our blog. Please feel free to leave your comments, we love to hear what's on your mind!

(If you got here from facebook or Twitter you can read the rest of our blog at SmithSA.blogspot.com)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

We wish you a very


From the Smith Family
Lincoln, Jenny, Madison, Kyler, Kendi and Isabel

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day of Reconciliation

Today is a public holiday in South Africa called the Day of Reconciliation. Two historical events took place on this date. The first was The Day of the Vow, where the Voortrekkers vowed to God that the day would be celebrated in thanksgiving if they were victorious in their battle against the Zulus. The second event was when the military wing of the African National Convention was formed to fight against apartheid.

After the fall of apartheid, the first democratic government, tasked with promoting reconciliation and national unity, acknowledged the significance of December 16th in both the Afrikaner (the Voortrekkers) and liberation struggles. Day of Reconciliation was first celebrated as a national holiday in 1995.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Orphan Art Project Has Returned!

Several years ago we started the Orphan Art Project as a way to raise awareness and financial support for the orphans and vulnerable children we work with here in South Africa.  For more information about how and why the project was started, please read our Orphan Art Project blog.

Recently, the Orphan Art Project has kicked off in Ft. Worth, TX.  Check out the website and facebook page for more information and details.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mama Agnes

Mama Agnes is a woman that we work with in the community.  She is an incredible woman, a true hero.  The sacrifices that she makes for the orphans and vulnerable children in her community are truly inspiring.  I recently asked her to share her heart with us so that we could make a short video and introduce her to you.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Birthday Party for Kyler and Isabel

Last week Kyler turned nine and Isabel turned two.  Kyler had two friends over for a sleepover, then the next day we had a joint party for Kyler and Isabel.

Watching a movie at the sleepover

Isabel at the sleepover

Isabel and "Aunt" Bri
(Bri is a YWAM missionary who helps us with our kids)

The grown-ups at the party

The kid (and Bri) table

Isabel wore her party hat for about 1.4 seconds

 Time for presents!

A Dora babydoll for Bel

Lots of Legos for Kyler!

Pretty pink cake for our sweet two year old

She blew out her candles in one breath

Kyler wanted a dirt and worm cake

Make a wish!

 Beautiful princess Kendi

Kyler continues to be a sweet, quiet little guy.  He is very loving and compassionate.  It is fun to see him grow and mature!  He is turning into a young man before our eyes!

Isabel is developing such a fun personality.  She is goofy and keeps us laughing with her silly faces and antics.  She can be a pretty stubborn and frustrating at times, but isn't that what a two year old is supposed to do?


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

(Oops, jumped the gun and posted this a day early!)

National Women's Day

Photo Source K. Kendall

Today is National Women's Day here in South Africa.  In 1956 on this day, 20,000 women marched to government offices in Pretoria to protest the "Pass Law."  This law required black people to carry a pass proving that they were allowed to enter all-white areas.  These women delivered petitions signed by over 100,000 women.

At the end of the march, the women sang freedom songs.  The song "Wathint' abafazi, Strijdom!" has become known as the anthem of the march.  It includes the line "When you strike the women, you strike the rock."

Women's Day celebrates all women who have fought for women's rights and equality in South Africa.

For more information on National Women's Day, please check out the following links.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Twitter Followers, Read This!

Photo Source Travelin' Librarian

Several people have asked if we are still tweeting, and the answer is yes and no.  The internet connection at our house is so slow that I can't log onto twitter from our house, so posting on twitter has been pretty difficult.  So, I've connected our blog to twitter, and when we post to our blog it shows up on twitter.  But recently, our internet speed has gotten even slower*, and we're having a hard time posting to our blog from home now also.

We are praying for a faster internet speed to become available to us at home, but for now we will post to our blog when we can!  If you would like to follow us on twitter, my name there is @JennyinSA.


*To give you an idea of just how slow our internet speed is - dial up runs at around 52 kilobytes per second, our speed averages about 5-10 kilobytes a second.  What that means is that our speed is 5-10 times slower than dial up.  Fun stuff!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mama Agnes is Honored

Recently, a local primary school made a donation to Mama Agnes in honor of Nelson Mandela day.  (Mama Agnes is one of the ladies that we work with in the community.  She helps feed between 80 and 100 orphaned and vulnerable children every day from her home.)

Every child in the school brought food or toiletries to donate to Mama Agnes and the needy children that she looks out for.

The donated items

The school was celebrating Mandela day.  Every year South Africans celebrate Nelson Mandela’s birthday by encouraging people to participate in community service for 67 minutes in honor of Mandela’s 67 years of fighting for social justice.  I think that it's remarkable that Nelson Mandela did not want his birthday celebrated as a national holiday; instead he wanted it marked by service to others.  Mandela is truly an extraordinary man.

The school children at the assembly

I thought that I was just there to drive Mama Agnes and to help her transport all the donations back to her house.  When we arrived we were escorted in front of 1,500 students waiting patiently in the hot sun for the presentation to begin.

Mama Agnes, myself, Rebecca (another missionary we work with), and my two oldest kids, Madison and Kyler, were brought to the front of the school assembly and asked to sit in the seats of honor for the presentation.  For Madison, Kyler, Rebecca, and myself, it was a little awkward to be in front of all the students.  We aren’t heroes, Mama Agnes is.  I was just there to provide transportation.

Kyler and Madison at the assembly

Rebecca and Agnes at the assembly

The school administrators and Agnes

It was great to see Mama Agnes honored with several speeches and songs from the choir.

There were enough donations to completely fill my SUV and another pickup truck.  We took the food to Agnes’ house and completely filled her living room.   She was able to make little parcels to give out to all the children that she looks out for.

Part of the donation was canned meat that she fed to the kids the next day.  The kids were in an unusually happy and energetic mood, singing and dancing as they started their walk  home.  Agnes told me, “The kids are happy because they ate meat today.”


Friday, July 22, 2011

On Any Average Day . . . Snakes!

Warning - This post may creep you out!!

We've seen our fair share of snakes here in South Africa.  At our current house, we've had a spitting cobra and a puff adder.  I didn't get pictures of either of them.

We recently had this snake in our house:

We've been told it's probably a harmless mole snake.  Regardless, I really don't like any snakes in my house!  We have 3 cats and a dog, I'm not really sure how this thing got in.

At our previous house, we saw spitting cobras on two different occasions.  The first time, Kyler was riding his scooter on a sidewalk behind our house.  He opened a gate and yelled that there was a snake.  I came running, opened the gate, saw a cobra flared up at me and freaked out.  I ran yelling "IT'S A COBRA!! IT'S A COBRA!!!!!!"  I probably scared it as much as it scared me. By the time Lincoln arrived with a hammer, the cobra was long gone.

The second time, we heard Rocco barking and something slamming into the fence in our yard.  Lincoln went out and saw this cobra below striking at Rocco through the fence.

When we lived at the Children's Shelter, the snake below was found and killed near the playground.  It was a 6 foot long Mozambique Spitting Cobra.

Our friend Johannes killed it with a shovel.

And just because you can't have too many dead snake pictures in one post, here's another small snake that we found and killed in our house.

Fortunately, no people were hurt by any of these snakes.  The same can't be said about the snakes though.


Monday, July 18, 2011

South African English

English is spoken all over South Africa.  But there are a lot of South African English words that are not the same as American English words.  I found this fun South African English dictionary of some of the more commonly used words.

A few that we hear on a regular basis:

So long - In the US, this would mean farewell or goodbye.  Here in South Africa it means "in the mean time."  For example, when seated in a restaurant the waiter will bring a menu and say "Can I bring you something to drink so long?"

Biscuit - This is the name for a cookie.  The word for a typical US biscuit would be "bread roll" or "scone".  But the "o" in scone is a short sound,  scone here rhymes with the word "gone".

Now Now and Just Now  -Both of these mean "not now".  As far as I can tell, "now now" is sooner than "just now".  For example, I might say to my child "Please find your shoes, we are leaving now now."  Now now is another way of saying soon.

"Just now" could mean pretty much anytime in the future.  If someone tells me "I will get that to you just now", it means "I will get that to you at a time in the future that is convenient for me."  Lincoln learned this the hard way when he went to someone's place of work to pick up some paperwork.  The man he went to see told him that he would get the papers to Lincoln just now and then left the office.  Lincoln hung around and waited for quite a while, thought the man had forgotten about him and ended up leaving - without the paperwork.

Robot - We actually don't hear this one that often, but it always makes me giggle a little when we do.  Traffic lights here are called robots.  "Make a right turn at the 3rd robot."  Giggle.

Shame - This is an all purpose word used to show understanding, sympathy or to indicate that you think something or someone is really cute, or perhaps really sad.  "Oh shame, look at that adorable little baby!"  

Or "It was so cold in my house last night that I'm pretty sure I got frostbite" "Oh shame!!!"

Fillet is used instead of the word steak. It took a while to get used to saying "fillet", because here the "t" is pronounced at the end of the word and the word rhymes with skillet.

Crisps - In the US we call them chips.  Chips here are what we call french fries.

Is it? -This is like saying "really?" and is very addictive! I find myself saying this all of the time!  A friend will say "I went to the store yesterday" and I will answer "Is it?"  It kind of drives me a little crazy!

Those are some of the most common words we hear, check out the link above for more!


Friday, July 15, 2011

4th of July in South Africa

Sorry this post is a little late.  Our internet speed at our house has gotten so slow that we can no longer post to our blog or upload pictures from home, so we have to go to a friend's house or the mall to get online.

On the 4th, we got together with the other American missionaries living near us and had a BBQ (this is the one time of the year we don't call it a braai - the South African term for a BBQ.)

We gathered at the Children's Shelter where Lincoln and I used to live and work.  Our friends Jeff and Abby still live and work there.  Jeff and Abby have 2 jumpy castles they use for children's outreaches and they set them up for the kids to play on.

Kyler and his friend Matthew


Madison and Isabel

 Madison, Kyler and Isabel

We can't get fireworks here, so we had to settle for cheap, novelty sparking candles.  The candles were Pink, White and Blue, close enough.  We lit the candles and sang "The Star Spangled Banner."  It was very patriotic ;)

We ended the night with a bonfire.  The kids loved it!


Monday, July 11, 2011

On Any Average Day . . . Fires!

Fires are a very common occurrence during the winter here.  We've never really been told why everyone burns pretty much everything, it's just the way things are done.  We assume that burning weeds and tall dry grass is cheaper and faster than mowing, and it also probably has something to do with making the soil more fertile for crops.  Though much of what we see burning is not farm land.

Some fires are probably accidental, and some are probably set by kids messing around (we're pretty sure one near our our house was set by kids.)

Lincoln and I were driving home from Phokeng (about 25 minutes from our house) and I happened to have our camera with us.  In that 25 minute drive I saw probably close to 20 fires.

Coming from Colorado, where fires like these would cause mass evacuations, it still freaks me out a little to see this!

The above and below fires were right next to the highway.  Often the smoke will be so thick on the highway that visibility is almost zero.

 Three separate fires burning.

This is the road coming into Rustenburg, on the horizon you can see the smoke from all of the fires.  We breathe this junk every day!

A few days before I took the above pictures, the fields around our house were set on fire.

This is our front yard and our dog, Rocco. 

The two pictures below were taken out of my bedroom window.  The concrete wall is the edge of our yard, and about 10 feet away from our house.

The pictures above and below are of our backyard.

The kids have now seen enough fires to know that we are relatively safe.  Here, Madison poses by the fire.

This is how the field in front of our house now looks.  It will stay like this until it rains again, probably not until September or October.