Last week was exhausting. On Tuesday I had a call from the Shelter telling me that there was rioting outside on the street. That they were setting fire not only to rubbish and tyres but also humans. My girls and the children had locked themselves in the shelter while all the men went to see what was happening. Then the news broke, social media went ballistic and pictures started to rear their very ugly and scary heads.
Pictures of thousands of people fighting, fires burning, bodies set alight. Bush knives swinging and blood flying. The pictures were horrendous. The pictures told the story of thousands of African nationals who were being targeted due to the fact that they are NOT South African.
A week later and the fighting has calmed somewhat but now we are fighting another battle. Literally thousands of people, homes burned to the ground, belongings stolen or set alight, terrified children, broken hearts, all crammed into refugee camps scattered across our city.
Those of you who know me know that I literally can not do nothing. So we teamed up with our best friends and started putting calls out for donations. Clothing, blankets, food, baby supplies started to pour in. Soon our storage space was so full that we were overflowing. So many generous people stopped by with support, both physically and emotionally.
On Sunday afternoon we took a trip to one of the refugee camps to deliver the items. 5 large vehicles packed with donations made their way to the camp where we were greeted by the Red Cross and some amazing refugees. As we unpacked the donations we were overwhelmed with the generosity of hundreds of others who like us had decided to not sit still and do nothing. So many like hearted individuals who believe in the beauty of the country, this continent.
After the horrendous things that we had seen during the week it was encouraging to see so many people, of all races, religions, classes pulling together to love on these beautiful people. We spent time loving on a number of mothers and their babies. Sitting with them and listening to their stories and praying with them. Sharing the love of God and ministering peace and joy.
I was humbled by these beautiful women and their capacity to forgive those who had done so much wrong to them and their families.
The women’ s tent had over 500 people sleeping in it. Women, babies and toddlers everywhere. Newborns squalling as their mothers tried to change their diapers in the freezing cold. Rain coming in the sides of the tent. Toddlers running around bare foot having a ball, unaware of the situation. All they knew was that they had a load of new friends to run and jump with.
Women huddled up together trying to stay warm and catch five mins of sleep while their children played. Some sat and chatted, some braided each others hair.
I was overwhelmed by the peace and calm. Their capacity to band together and lift each other up spoke volumes to me. We didn’t want to leave. And now I am eager to go back. I am eager to build relationships with these women, to hear their stories. To love on them and to learn from them.
If you would like to support us in this new mission that God has called us to please donate to PayPal username firstname.lastname@example.org
The camps are far away so we will be using most donations for petrol money and the road tolls. We will also be purchasing diapers and baby products. Please also feel free to share this post with anyone who you feel would be able to help.
Your love and prayers are so so appreciated.
Love from Martin, Vashti and the kids. xx