Some of the young men Martin has been helping
So this homeless guy stands begging on the corner down the road from me.
Some of the young men Martin has been helping
So this homeless guy stands begging on the corner down the road from me.
One of the girls that we are very close with is battling so much. Yesterday Cands and I went to the brothel to spend some time with her. We took all the brothel girls handbags filled with toiletries and as they were all still in meth comas we sat and spent some time with Mik. Cands asked her when she was going to be done with this life, she said shes just not ready to face things.
These girls of ours use drugs in order to survive what is happening in their minds and hearts. When they come off the drugs they have to then face the trauma, the PTSD, the profound pain that was previously masked by their drug of choice. Mik told us yesterday that she doesn’t see herself as an addict, she isnt greedy with her drugs, she doesnt binge, she doesnt use a lot, she just uses the minimum she needs to be able to keep the trauma at bay. My heart aches because what she had just described to me was the definition of addiction.
Denial is a coping mechanism. The majority of girls deny just how much they use and how dependent they are. They deny how sick they are. They deny the trauma. They deny the pain. Because if they admit it all they might just fall apart.
The beautiful thing is that now that they have us they are learning that they can be open and honest with the truth. And they know that we will NEVER give up on them. That nothing they ever tell us will cause us to turn away from them. We have proven over and over that the love that we carry, the love that we offer is the all consuming, unconditional love of a Father who is passionate about the lives of His daughters.
#weseeyouweloveyou #homelessnothopeless #unconditionallove #extravagantgrace #hopeforthesoul
A little while ago we met a lady called Zandile. Zan has lived on the streets alone since she was 12 years old. Shes now 24. Half of her life has been a matter of survival. No love, no care, no support, this woman has fought daily to make it through till tomorrow, every day potentially her last.
By the time we met her she was already dying. He body riddled with a number of illnesses that are slowly breaking her down. Eating her body and taking her life. That first Thursday night we fell in love with her. One of my team members pulled her into her embrace and just held her. Singing songs of love and freedom over her Paula let the Holy Spirit use her. Zan told us her story and gave us an idea of how sick she was. But we were not ready for the full truth of Zan’s condition.
After that initial meeting we were all praying for Zan, for her health and her heart. When she came to us the following week we had a glimpse of how broken her body was. But still we did not know the full extent.
That night I cleaned her Norwegian Scabies infested feet and tried to cover her open sores. I had never seen anything like it before, my heart was broken. She was clearly in so much pain and I was losing my grip while trying to seem like I was in control. I didnt want her to see my horror or the tears that I was desperately trying to hold back.
And then Zandile disappeared. She didnt come to us for weeks and we were very worried about her condition, where was she? Was she even alive? Then one Thursday night one of her friends came to find us, to tell us that Zan was sleeping in a shelter and she was really sick.
Leanne and I dropped everything and went to her, we managed to get into the shelter and found Zan on a bunk bed barely breathing. She was way worse than we had realized. We had to get her to the hospital, right now. Leanne picked Zan up off the bed, carried her down 2 flights of stairs and put her in the car.
Now here’s where I want to explain some things…
Nothing we do is straightforward, nothing is easy, NOTHING. When I say that we had to get her to hospital it wasnt that simple. You see Zan’s body was going into withdrawal. She was shaking, vomiting and her body was shutting down, she HAD to have fix before she could go to hospital, otherwise the withdrawal was going to kill her. In first world countries the hospital would just take her and give her meds to halt the withdrawal, they would sedate her or give her methadone to fight off the symptoms of withdrawal. But not in the government hospitals here. Zan is heavily addicted to a drug called whoonga, its a sreeet drug that has low grade heroin cut in with loads if other highly dangerous chemicals. Often things like rat poison, chemical cleaning products and prescription medications. It is HIGHLY addictive and incredibly dangerous. For R7, 50p, 70 cents, you can get a rock which will keep you high for a couple of hours, and the withdrawal can kill you if not done correctly. So here we are, in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Durban trying to figure out how to get Zandile a fix without drawing attention. Thankfully one of our ladies came to see what we were doing and she went to get Zan a rock. We do what it takes.
Once fixed up we took Zan to hospital. We pulled into the emergency ward and found a gurney, no one bothered to help us as we carried her in and then wheeled her into trauma. By this time Zan was calm but her breathing was very poor. Doctors immediately put her on oxygen and they told us to wait for the doctor to come.
So we waited. We tried to keep Zan calm, and stay calm ourselves. At one point she pulled off her mask and tears were pouring, she looked at me and said…
“I have been alone for 12 years and now I have you loving me like a mother does.”
This sentence will be with me forever.
A few hours after arrival a doctor finally came to check Zan, it was the worst news, there was nothing that they could do for Zan other than make her comfortable. Her organs are shutting down, her CD4 count too low, immune system nonexistent, TB in her lungs and a severe infestation of Norwegian Scabies attacking her whole body. In short Zan is a few weeks away from death.
After a bit of a fight we convinced the hospital to admit her. She was put onto a fantastic ward where the staff really cared for her. She managed to stay in the hospital for 2 days, but her addiction got the better of her and she discharged herself so she could get a fix. Our hearts were shattered, but we understand. We understand addiction, we understand our ladies and their needs.
So now we are supporting Zan as she tries to survive a bit longer. We are paying for her shelter fees so that she doesn’t have to die on the street. At least there will be some level of dignity and when she does pass away we will be contacted.
It is INCREDIBLY painful when one of our ladies “fails”, but we understand. We get it. Our commitment to Zan is that we will love her and walk with her until she is no longer with us. And in it all Zan has experienced the love of not just a mother but also the love of her heavenly Father.
Please will you be praying for our Zandile? Please pray for our team, and please pray for our family.
And just a bit of exciting news…. Our new Hope’s Anchor website is LIVE!!! Please go to
And check it out. And here are a few ways that you can support our family in this work that we are doing…
Thank you to all our supporters without your prayers and financial support we couldn’t do this vital work and ladies like Zandile would suffer and die alone.
Due to job loss and change of financial situations we lost a number of our main family supporters this month. Their love and generosity have been an incredible blessing to us and our family.
As a family we live by faith, I guess we are classed as a missionary family as we are here in full-time ministry. Although Mart is working on getting us financially independent we are not yet there, and we survive here running @hopes_anchor_durban by the love, care and generosity of friends and family. As things stand right now we will not financially make it through next month unless we gain more financial support.
We know that we are called to do this work, to be here speaking and fighting for those who have had their fight and voice hijacked. We will continue to fight for Durban’s most vulnerable women and girls for as long as Love has us here. He knows and in that we find our peace. If you would like the opportunity to support our family in the work that we are doing please pop to our
If you didnt see my post on FB you may like to take a look at the following link and see the plight of the homeless in Durban and the conditions that the majority of our ladies live in.
#missionarylife #livinginafrica #livingbyfaith
The past couple of weeks have been very hard. Our hearts have been shattered by the pain of our girls. There is a devastation that we will never truly be able to understand. We have approximately 15 ladies who are sleeping rough every night and they are all in really bad shape.
Last week Zinhle came to us in awful pain. Her body is fighting AIDS, TB, severe scabies, and goodness knows what else. Her feet were maggot ridden and rotting. She could barely walk and the hospital had given her antibiotics and paracetamol. As if that’s going to help at this point!!
This week we had been given a few bandages and antiseptic cream, so I tried to clean Zandile’s feet as best I could, bandaged them up and put on clean new socks. She was going to go back to the hospital on Friday to try and get more help. We really hope that she did.
Then there was Tanya she had blown out 12 veins in her hands and arms and blown 3 in her groin. I sat with her and cleaned each one and dressed them. As I did so her tears streamed down her face. Her face and her words made me ache. “why am I such a failure?” Tanya has been working the streets for years. She goes through phases of being OK, getting healthy and then comes crashing down and every time she crashes its worse than the time before. It’s so painful to watch.
I cleaned her up and told her that she is loved, that she is precious and that she is seen. She knows that she needs help, but she isn’t ready. And that is more painful than anything else.
Some days it feels that we aren’t doing enough, but for Z and T what little we did for them on Thursday night was more than they had been given so far.
Turned away from the government hospital because of their addictions, because of their job, because of their status, they came to us desperate for help, desperate for love. We gave what we had, and although it doesn’t feel like enough to me, it really made a difference to them.
And amongst the devastation we get amazing news. Our new NGO papers are finally in our hands!!! This is a game changer. Now we can start putting in our proposals for a vehicle and for our property. Things are about to explode and we are beyond excited.
If you would like to help us in the work that we are doing here please pop over to our PayPal account email@example.com
if you are a uk tax payer we can claim back the tax on your gifts
We appreciate every bit of support.
With love from the Downs Family. Xx
When I sit to write the events of last night I chuckle to myself. Candice and I always end up doing the tough stuff, the stuff that puts our lives on danger, the stuff that really needs to be done but very few have the nerve to do😂
Last night we went looking for Aliyah, we prayed that we would be able to find her as sometimes tracking down the street sleeping girls is hard work. Within 5 minutes we spotted her begging in a take away. She was not happy to see us, she knew that it meant that the bed was ready and she would have to make a massive step away from the streets and all that she knows. Away from her boyfriend Braino, and away from the drugs. This was going to be her one chance to save her life and get the medical help that she needs.
This decision really was a matter of life and death. If she didn’t come with us then she would have died on the streets within the next couple of weeks. I stood back and could literally see the spiritual battle that was raging around this girl. It was savage. It was frustrating and I got incredibly angry. The darkness was holding this child so tightly, fear sitting like a vulture on her shoulders, addiction wrapping itself around her legs preventing her from getting into the car and escaping to freedom.
She refused to come with us, so we got back into the car and drove off. Leaving her begging for money for her next hit. I was seething. I knew that the only person who could get her to come with us was Braino, so I prayed that we would find him and that he could talk some sense into her. And just like that there he was on the corner of 2 of the most dangerous streets in Durban. As we pull up the car is surrounded by drug dealers wanting to sell us whatever we needed.
Both Cands and I have known dealers for years, we know how they operate and how to deal with them. As I put down my window and call Braino over I firmly let the dealers know my intentions, “sorry Ma.” “OK Ma, no worries.” hands up in surrender realizing that they had made a mistake. I take one look at Braino (I’ve known him for 7 years) and tell him “your girlfriend needs to come with us or she will die”. He knows it’s true.
We took one of the girls in the car with us to help us to convince Aliyah to get into the car and come to Braino, he couldn’t come with us as the dealers in that street will kill him if he shows his face there 🤦🏻
We find Aliyah and Mbali manages to get her into the car. We get her to Braino and all hell breaks loose🤦🏻🙄 again we are surrounded by dealers thinking we are customers, I put them in their place, and Braino tries to explain to Aliyah that she has to come with us. Then every homeless drug addict in the vicinity starts shouting at her telling her she’s crazy if she doesn’t take this opportunity. How lucky she is to have us. How they wish that they could go. Aliyah is unbudging, she’s not coming with us.
Then along comes Basil. Aaahhhhh BASIL!!! Basil is Aliyah’s dealer. Tall, dark and very very handsome, well dressed and smelling like leather and meadows😍 I hear @candiceede catch here breath! Lol. I just think to myself “oh boy this isn’t going to go well” I had just told off approximately 10 dealers like they were naughty school boys, and now along comes this guy who’s clearly in charge, we might be in a spot of trouble now. 🤦🏻 Leaning himself against the side of the car he asks Aliyah what’s going on. After he hears the story he’s clearly going to do whatever it takes to get her into the car and away from this place. He calming talks to her and offers whatever she needs, she said nothing will make her get into the car. They all disappear around the corner for a few minutes, when they come back Basil wants to know if it’s OK to let her have a hit before she gets into the car. So yeah I send her to go get high before we take her 🙄🤦🏻😂 whatever it takes.
After her fix she comes willingly and says her goodbyes to everyone.
At the respite unit we realize that she’s way sicker than any of us knew. She weighed in at 28kg, and was covered in sores and full of thrush and a number of other issues. Now her healing begins. Please be praying. She is currently detoxing and it’s going to be rough. Please pray that she stays there and doesn’t run away. Please pray for healing.
We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your love and support. If you would like to help our family financially please go to our Just Giving page which is supported by our UK Church, Kings Road Church, Berkhamsted. Thank you
This week I finally sat down and started to write my book. By hand, with a pen and paper. For the past 2 years I’ve been running our ministry and life via my phone and it’s been a bit of a nightmare.
Trying to write my blog has not been enjoyable because I spend most of my time correcting and deleting because it’s so small and hard to type on.
To write a book on my phone is impossible. When we were robbed they took our laptops and we have not been able to replace them. It’s just so expensive here to find a decent laptop. So we just haven’t been able to get new ones.
Now that I have started to take my writing seriously we really need to replace what we lost, so I have started a crowd funding page to help us raise enough money.
If you are able to help us please visit our link below and donate. We appreciate every single penny. More than ever. ♥️
Thank you for the support and love. Much love from the Downs family. Xxx