Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Africa Segment #2

Segment #2: Kimiad!

Kimiad itself is a phenomenal story of God’s provision & blessing. I cannot do the story justice, but I’ll suffice to say that the church was essentially given 120 acres of land 45 minutes south of Johannesburg (if you’re curious, google “Heidleberg, South Africa” and Kimiad is a few miles from there.) There was a former retreat center on the land that had fallen into disrepair, but in the last few years Eastside has worked to restore the buildings and grounds. They are still working on what God’s plan will be for the entirety of the land, but for now the restored retreat center will serve as a launching and training ground for volunteers during the 2010 World Cup. After the World Cup, they'r eho

So we arrived late Tuesday night but were warmly welcomed by the caretakers of Kimiad, Piet & Linda, and their daughter Sam. The most dramatic observation we all had upon arriving was that it is cold. Not like late evening September chill, but like a no-kidding, need-a-ski-jacket cold. It doesn’t matter that this country is named “South” and “Africa” both of which Americans associate with being sunny and hot, it is cold. But unfortunately, it’s not cold for long enough in the year to require all buildings to have heat and certainly none of the cinderblock cabins at Kimiad. Night #1: 3-4 blankets.

The following morning everyone came to breakfast in about 4 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, a ski hat and a scarf. Peit led us in studying the Word, then offered us breakfast as he told us the plan for the day. There is a building in the upper part of the grounds that is next on the list for restoration. A church in Virginia paid for drywall and contractors to turn the two large rooms into 14 small bedrooms. Our job was to work around the contractors to prepare the rest of the building. The girls were in charge of painting the roof and the external beams which had rusted over the years. Just before we arrived they had given the metal roof an acid bath, which allowed us to start right in.

When Peit told us our jobs, he said the girls would be painting and the guys would be inside demo-ing walls. I’ll be honest, I was kind of upset because why did the guys get the fun jobs breaking things? Then we saw the wall.

The guys worked in a cloud of dust chisseling at the cement for hours. The girls realized we were grateful to be able to work outside. Once the sun came up, the land heated up nicely and the roofwork was plesent to downright fun.

The second night we got a bit smarter and most of the girls filled up waterbottles with hot water to heat up the bottom of our beds. Night #2: 3-4 blankets, 1 hot water bottle.

The 2nd day was a continuation of the 1st days work, but that night added some complexity. The plan for our first work after Kimiad had been to go to the rural area of Marapane about 2 hours north of Pretoria. However, the day before we arrived in SA, the pastor we would be working with in Marapane called and told us he had spoken to the chief in the village who said their would be riots in the weekend and it would be unsafe for us to come. So as we worked, we started to pray like crazy that God would open the doors we needed to work where he wanted us.

Over the next couple days, God did open doors (really cool story I'll write about later), and we got connected to a young paster and his wife in a rural town called Mametlake. This word is in Tswana, a tribal language spoken in most of the region. I still cannot pronounce the third syllable of this town's name; it requires a significant ammount of spit in the back of your mouth. But you can Americanize it and make it sound something like "ma-ma-clark-ay"

The team worked at Kimiad through Saturday night... Then set off for our adventure in Mametlake early Sunday morning =)