Monday, March 1, 2010

Forgot some things....

I forgot to tell you about the Afrikaans that we met during the Cell Group meetings that were held each of the Wednesdays that we were there. About 12 men and women meet together to study the Bible and share their lives with each other. These committed Christians were very welcoming and thoughtful in their discussions. Charlie gave a homily on each of these evenings. I know that they were well received and gave everyone some thoughts for their week ahead. The second Wednesday the meeting was held at the house that we were in. It was a lot of fun to host such a gathering. One woman came to visit us briefly on the Thursday we were leaving. She had purchased a box of dog pills named Bob Martin. The Afrikaans all got a kick out of the fact that this is Bob's name. The pill helps keep the dog's coat shiny.
On our last Thursday the men wanted to go and hike the Lion's Head, which is shown in all the photos; it is right next to Table Mountain. As we were going towards the Lion's Head, Amy suggested that we try to go to Table Mountain so we did and it was open this time. There was a great cloud cover over the mountain, but the winds were not high so we took the ride up in the gondola. The gondola was great in that it rotated as we ascended the mountain so that all people could get a great view of the area. It was extremely cold up on the top and still windy. During our time there, the clouds did shift for about five minutes and we were able to see the most magnificent views of the entire area. We were able to see Robben Island as well. We spent at least an hour on this portion of the day.

Then the men were dropped off to hike the Lion's Head. It was a long hike, but they transversed it in very good time. They even had to climb chains to get to the top. They said that the views again were spectacular. Later that afternoon we went back to Century City to have a final steak dinner at a very nice restaurant. Then it was eventually off to the airport for our trip home.

We really captured and used every moment we had to be in God's great glory in the townships, the country-side and the city.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I am home.

The flight from Cape Town to Amstredam went well. We were able to sleep some which helped pass the time. The 11 1/2 hour flight seemed to go much more quickly compared to when we flew to South Africa because we then flew during the daytime. The men went to McDonalds to get some fortification with bacon cheeseburgers for the second part of the trip home. We parted at the airport in Amsterdam around 1pm (Amsterdam time) in the afternoon. I had a 2 o'clock flight and Bob and Charlie had a 2:30pm flight to Atlanta. The gates were right next to each other. You get patted down and go through security at the gate again in Amsterdam even though you have not left the airport. The flight from Amsterdam was uneventful. I was able to take some short cat naps on the way. I was fortunate enough to only share the three seat with other one woman. I arrived one hour early with lots of snow on the ground. It had snowed the previous night and even into the day. Don was there to great me and it sure felt great to see him. I had no problems going through customs and the like.

Now is the time for me to try and assimilate and understand what I observed and witnessed during my 11 day adventure. One thing I know is that I had the privilege of traveling with three wonderful men of great faith. They brought a lot of joy and laughter into the experience. They got me hooked on playing the card game of "Oh, Sugar." We reminisced some of the memorable lines from the movie, "Oh Brother Where Are Thou." We were able to meet and hopefully comfort the Boone family (the missionaries) with conversations from America. There was a lot of laughter and kidding that went on and that was just what was needed,

The need in the poor areas of South Africa are immense. It is hard to put into words how the people live, but it is not who they are as human beings. There may live in physical poverty, but that does not necessarily mean that they were poor in spirit. There was very little begging. There was never someone looking for a hand-out. What I experienced was a great sense of gratitude and appreciation for our visits. Each person we met and gave something to quickly said those magic words, "Thank you."

The trip was both a mission of help to those who are less fortunate than me and a trip for me to fully appreicate all that I have been blessed with. I often felt guilty about all that I have when so many others have so little. It does not seem fair. I am very glad that I went and I will continue to contact Amy Boone with ideas to help the teachers in the school for children with disabilities. That beautiful little school and its children and teachers need our prayers as does the orphanage in the poorest township that I visited. Maybe in the months ahead we might consider how we can help them in other ways.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


We went to the school with the preschoolers and the special education kids for the last time. We brought a lot of food to help the teachers with feeding the children for a month thanks to the generosity of one of our community members. They were extremely thankful; they really needed the food. I worked with the teachers and gave them the book that I had compiled for ideas to work with the children, both preschoolers and special education students. Bob and Ken finished the light project. They put up 3 panels of florescent lights and they worked beautifully. I was able to bring two beautiful chocolate cakes to share with the children and teachers. It was a terrific treat. Later in the day, we traveled to Table Mountain to go on the gondilas up the mountain top and get a panaromic view of the Cape Town and all the surrounding towns. We were a couple away from getting tickets when they said that the Mountain was closed. The wind has been so high all week that every time we called, the mountain was closed. Today, especially in the morning, there was no wind. We were so hopeful. We will try again tomorrow, first thing in the morning. We went out to eat fantastic pizza and salad. Then the group of Christian South Africans came to our house and Charlie led a Bible Study and we celebrated one of the woman's birthdays. Tomorrow the men are going to try to climb Lion's Head, a natural mountain that looks just like a lion's head. Bob, Charlie and I leave for Amsterdam at 10 minutes to one in the morning on Friday morning and I arrive back in New York City at 4:30pm on the same day even though I have traveled about 24 hours. Be well and I hope to see you soon. Signing off from South Africa. Johnine

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday morning and afternoon

Dear Ones,
This morning was a challenge to say the least. There were about 14 children with varying disabilities in the little room. I began to clearly realize that all levels of children with disabilities are in the room: custodial, trainable, and educable (old terms) so it was an impossible challenge to work with them. At one time for over a half hour, the Xhosa teacher just left me with all the kids and just disappeared with no explanation. One of the children had messed her pants; thankfully there is a woman who takes care of these needs, so she helped get her clean and such. The school really needs 2 or 3 teachers for this room of 14 children because of their immense needs. There is only one teacher and her name is Portia and her helper,Patricia. It was an overwhelming day today. Bob and Ken were trying to put in light fixtures into the ceiling while I was conducting class. I did introduce the word cards (for those students who could grasp the idea) that I had prepared for the students and they seemed to understand fairly quickly. The children love the children's singing CD's that I brought with me. We sing songs and create movement with the songs. This activity is enjoyed by all the students. In the afternoon, I went to the Linge School in another township and tutored two groups of student in English for about 40 minutes each. I was a substitute for one of the missionaries who had surgery today. The students were all in the 8th grade and they did a super job. It was a lot of fun, hopefully for them. I know that I enjoyed myself very much. I am going to the grocery store to purchase food for the preschool/school for the children with disabilities for the month. I am also going to purchase a chocolate cake as a treat. Tomorrow I am going to leave the book where I have been compiling ideas for the teachers to use for both the preschoolers and the special education students. The three men and I have been playing the card game, ""Oh, Sugar" most nights, even till midnight. It is a fun, challenging game. Tonight we are going to teach the missionaries how to play it. There have been a lot of laughs during this time. The men are off hiking on one of the mountains. It is cool today and it has had a few raindrops throughout the day. Talk to you tomorrow.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Moday and Tuesday

We left many things for the orphans and the workers. The women at the Baptist Church made the most wonderful bags by cutting strips of plastic bags and crocheting them. I have one for myself and will show you it when I return. It can be easily washed. Later in the afternoon we went to the Green Market, which is a open air market for items made in Africa. I only found one item, a piece of fabric that will be a beautiful table cloth. The thing that is frustrating to me is that people negotiate the price of the item. After we had dinner we went to see the movie, "Skin", a true story of a woman here in South Africa whose skin was darker than her white parents and all the trials and tribulations that happened to her in the Apartheid era. The disparity between the people is dramatic.
We have been driving on the left hand side of the road everywhere. Charlie has been doing most of the driving, but Amy, the missionary has also been using the car that was rented. A traffic signal is called a robot. A sspeed bump in the road is called a humped zebra. The sign will say, "Humped Zebra Crossing." There are many homes with thatched roof. In fact these homes are extremely expensive(3 million rand). The roofs are very complicated to make and therefore are very expensive.
I will talk later.


Another day!!!!!!!!!!

Dear Ones,
Sunday was a day like I had never experienced. We worshipped in a shipping container; there are several put together to make the church and the kitchen. We sat on wooden chairs that were connected together. The small children, the Sunday School class sat together, while the adults sat together and the youth group as well. Eddie, a 23 old year orphan, led the church service. He really reved it up a notch. The music was all acapella, all spoken in Xhosa with some English for our benefit. There was dancing. It is completely inadequate for me to describe the joy that was emulated with the people in attendance. It was an extremely uplifting. God was present in all His glory. Eddie beat his hand on a small red hard cushion, similar to a kneeler in the US. It kept everyone on the beat. What was incredible is that everyone came up to a basket near the front and deposited their offering to God: the little children and adults as well. The pastor, Julius said that even though, the people are poor, they must all give thanks to the Lord. I will try to describe to you personally what it was like. What I can say is that I have been dreaming of this kind of service for my whole life. We then went to the waterfront later in the day and saw all the beauty that this had to offer. What a change in scenary. I will have pictures to show when I get back. The church is founded by Julius and his wife, Irene who are in their 50's. They also have 20 children that they are taking care of because they are all orphans. It reminds me very much of Gerry and Jean Scott. Mike, the Missionary and the three men planted cauliflower and brocolli for the garden that has been created to feed the children. There is swiss chard, corn, carrots, onions, beet root, and cabbage. The soil is rocky, but can be used with assistance of fertilizer. The garden is all organic. Julius can only water the garden at night because there is no water available during the day. There are central watering areas. You will not be able to comprehend the conditions that the people live in. When we visited the rooms for the orphans, they are all clean and each child shares a bunk bed that is very sturdy.

Until I speak to you again!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What a day!!

We went out on an excursion today. We left a little after 10am and went to see the penquins in Boulder Beach on the Atlantic. Unblievable to see. Then we went to the Cape of Good HOpe, the very tip of Africa, between the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. On the way, on the winding road, we were inches from very extremely large baboons. We saw four of them just walking on the side of the road. We were having our picture taken at the Cape of Good Hope and there was a large group of young people getting their picture taken. We asked them where they were from. They were from the USA and they shouted out their states' names. I heard New Jersey. The gal came towards me and asked where in New Jersey was I from. I said Whitehouse Station and she screamed at me, "Oh, shut up!" I never heard that expression. She was stunned and she even took our picture. She said that she went to the Whitehouse School, which is about a block away from our house. There were about 23 gals and only 2 men traveling as college students. We went on a hair raising drive on Champman's Peak. It was stunning scenery. I am taking a lot of pictures. I will try to post some pictures in a few days. I have had some home cooked South African meals; they have all been tasty. I will write again soon.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Third day

This is our third day here in Cape Town. I haven't seen much of the city yet, just the highways and some neighborhoods. We have been in the last two days to the flats where the shanty towns are. I have been to the school where the preschoolers are and the children with disabilities. They greeted me today and said, "Mama Johnine". The children are so affectionate. The poverty that they live with is staggering. The poorest people in the US are not as poverty stricken. I found out yesterday that the life expentancy of some of the people is 38 years old. Also I learned that there will be 5 million orphans in Cape Town alone within the next five years. Staggering statistics. Amy, the missionary asked us to tell the children and the teachers how old we were. Ken is 72 years old and Bob, my brother-in-law is 71 years old. I think that the teachers especially were surprised. I finally know the names of the teachers who are genuinely appreciative of my efforts. I purchased many puzzles and books for the children with the money that I was given. Today I purchased a CD/Tape/Radio player with some of that money as well. I taught some lessons about calendar and the weather. I was able to purchase flip boards with pictures of everyday items on it as was doing a language lesson with it. I took pictures of each of the children so that I can get them duplicated. I will have them laminated so that they can be used in the lessons. Today we are supposed to go to Table MOuntain to see the views. Tonight we are going to a barbeque with the other missionary families. We start the morning with a devotional; tomorrow is my turn. Wish me luck. It has been extremely enjoyable getting to know the three men that came with me. Charlie is the Pastor of the Tellico Village Baptist Church. Ken is a retired Baptist Pastor who moved from Michigan to Tennessee two years ago. Bob,my brother-in-law worked for the Department of the Interior in the National Parks System before he retired. I have been able to talk with Don via Magic Jack and Skype. It is incredible to think that we can communicate via sight and sound even though we are 10,000 miles away. Love to all.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

second day

We drove out to the school for the preschoolers and the children with disabilities. We brought balloons, crayons, paper, straws, music CD's and the teddy bear mascot. The children were beautiful with their welcoming smiles and laughter. We blew up the balloons so that each child coud play with it. Some of the children knew what color it was. We sang songs from the CD's that I brought. Bob and Ken sang some songs for the children. We met the teachers who seem very attentive to the needs of the children. One woman knew both English and Xhosa so she was very helpful. The children all wanted to touch my white skin. They couldn't get over the fact; it made them laugh. We did some stretching and exercise. One girl was introduced to the weaving of the potholders. I took some of their pictures and then showed them on the digital camera. They got a real kick out of that. I was holding one of the little girls who had been crying and she fell asleep in my arms. Talk about heart rendering. What a joy! There was lots of activity, but little organization. Tomorrow I will go back hopefully with a plan for the teachers... a schedule of sorts. There is about three hours of instruction time and then the kids rest in the afternoon after they eat
It is sad that everyone is locked in for fear of someone breaking in and hurting someone or taking things away. There are gates everywhere and locked doors. The school is surrounding by small shanty homes. Amy, the missionary says that 1.2 million people live in this area that we were in. It stretches from the main highway all the way to the ocean. There are paved streets throughout this area.
Well we are going out to purchase children's books and workbooks with the money that individuals gave me.
Bottom line the children are precisous, so loving and accepting and extremely well behaved. What a pure joy!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More from the first day

We just got back from a lunch near the monument for Cecil John Rhodes, the man who is honored and founded the Rhodes Scholarships. It was near the base of Table Mountain. We sat outside and had a full view of the entire city of Cape Town. We were able to see the Atlantic Ocean and all its beauty. The beaches look pristine white. We ate lunch overlooking this magnificent view. We ate outside. The restaurant had a thatched roof as do many of the homes that we have seen.
I made a surprise call via Magic Jack to Don who was thoroughly surpised. The Magic Jack is plugged into the computer. The reception was unbelievably clear and distinct. .
We are definitely going to the school for the children with disabilities. I am eager to meet them and their teachers.
Mike Boone, the missionary just told us that it is supposed to be 100 degrees this weekend. Yikes. He said that we have brought the heat with us. It feels delicious to me. There is little humidity.

Love to all,

First Day in Cape Town

The iggest room to Amsterdam (7 hours) and to Cape Town (11 1/2 hours) were uneventful and yet very enjoyable. The Dutch food that was served was delicious and organized in clear little boxes. I crocheted, read, watched a video and talked and slept a little. We got here in Cape Town right on time at 11pm on Tuesday night. Everything worked like clock work. We picked up a car and drove to the house. It is really beautiful and modern. I have my own bedroom with private bath. It is the master bedroom, I suspect.

We are going to do some sight seeing and getting food and money today. I hope to go to the school for children with special needs tomorrow.

The weather is in the 70's and sunny. I will post again soon.

I send my love to all.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Getting Ready to Go

I am getting ready to begin a new adventure. I do not know what to expect, but I am going to be open to where I am being led.

Through the generosity of many people, I am able to take a lot of things to the children I will be visiting. Thank you everyone for your overwhelming generosity.

I will be visiting children in an orphanage, a high school and a remote school with pre-school children and children with special needs. I hope that I will especially be able to help these children with their special needs. Many of these children do not talk or communicate. These children with varying needs, ages 3 to 17 receive little education; they are all placed in one room. I am preparing to take a sampling of ten pictures that will help them learn to communicate their needs to others. These pictures are of daily living activities that they need for their life. I am also taking letters of encouragement to the young people in the high school from the students at North Hunterdon High School in Annandale where I used to teach.

This trip became available to me because of my sister and brother-in-law in Tellico Village, Tennessee. Bob, my brother-in-law has gone on many Mission Trips with the Baptist Church. My sister-in-law, Janice told me of his next trip, one to South Africa. Of course, I said that I would love to go to Africa. I asked Janice what they needed and she read from a notice that the first thing they needed was a Special Education teacher. Talk about a Godincident. Well, it took only a minute for me to decide to go. So on October 7th, I made my reservations.

I will fly out of JFK on Monday, February 15th to Amsterdam and arrive there on Tuesday morning and meet up with Bob, my brother-in-law, Charlie, the pastor of the Tellico Village Baptist Church, and another man, Ken. They will be flying in from Atlanta. We will then board the plane to Cape Town and arrive in Cape Town late that night. There is a 7 hour difference between the east coast and Cape Town.

I have a new netbook which I am taking and I hope that I will be able to access the internet and post of this blog. I have contacted the people in Cape Town and they say that there are cell tours all around the area that we will be staying.

We are staying in a beautiful 3 bedroom Guest House on the Precept Ministries property. We are at 6 Wisteria Lane. It has a living room with a tv and such, three bedrooms, a bathroom, a laundry room and a full kitchen. There are pictures on the internet of it.

All my bags are almost packed and I am ready to go!!! I am bringing four skirts and many different tops to wear daily. Married women must wear skirts. I am hoping to purchase some fabric and yarn while I am there.

Wish me luck and pray that all goes well.