June 17, 2005
hello there! how is everyone?? hope well.
okay, so thought it was about time to make a little entry. am sitting in a bit of a dodgy internet cafe in sunshine (the also dodgy suburb im living in) with an abundance of computer game addicted chinese people shouting obscenities in frustration of just being shot by the dude three computers down. nice.
Well i cannot believe we've been here for over a month now. the time is just flying past so fast. but we all kind of expected that.
We certainly have got really stuck in. i am loving the work so so much. and have also fallen in love with melbourne. its great. its winter now, and ruddy freezing. but thats pretty refreshing after 8 months of scorching heat. quite enjoying it actually.
so yeh, we live in a suburb called Sunshine. nothing like its name suggests. nah its fine really. its about 20 mins outside the city. we catch the train into the city everyday to get to work. conveniently our place is right next to the station, so you can run out with a cheese sandwhich 1 minute before your train leaves.
so, im in the life centre every morning (explained in the previous entry). i have totally fallen in love with this, just love it. we get loads of homeless people coming through, as well as the rest, drug addicts, prostitutes etc. it all goes hand in hand im sad to say. but yeh ive really got to know the regulars now, and have built up great realtionships. i love them. such cool guys, who have been shunned all their life but now have a little bit of hope and happiness out of the salvos. oh by the way the salvos are so well respected over here, not like back home. no brass band jokes this end!! hahhahahaa. ooo that makes me think of harold from, neighbours, which leads me nicely on to my little expedition last week to ramsey street. yes, thats right, i was prancing around nicely outside lous place and harolds house. it was great. actually pretty sureal. its a lot smaller than it looks. were going again with a mate from work here who knowsd the film crew really well, so we'll go when theyre filming and hopefully get to hang out with the extremely talented actors and actressess. no sarcasm there.
erm so what was i talking about. yeh work, so after the life centre theres something different going on every afternoon. we have loads of community groups - basically if anyone who comes along to the life centre has an interest in something, we set up a club for them. so theres anything from fishing and chess club to the almightily inspiring book club. we also have a community lunch every tuesday where we get stacks of people coming for a free 3 course meal, really gives a sense of cimmunity for them all. we give out food parcels everyday. and also offer a service called ER which is run every morning too. here we interview people who may have a bit of a desperate immediate need, and provide the approriate stuff for that - being a food voucher or referral to a particular service (housing trust, rehab etc). erm loads of the clients come to church on sunday as well. which is just awesome. its so relaxed, just because of the people youve got coming. have been really involved in worship since the start, and its been really great. last week, we had a handful of our regulars just rocking out all over the joint, dancing around, being totally undignified - not initiated by us as well. admittedly most were wasted from alcohol and heroin, but at least for a couple of minutes they had soemthing to be happy about.
i aboslutely love being with these guys, just yeh theyre a whole bunch of decnet people who have a lot to offer when you give them a bit of time.
okay am absolutely desperate to go to the loo so will end here before i have an accident.
hope everyones well, miss you all hugely. please keep praying. any questions please feel free to post a message on here or email me personally. i promise ill get back to you as soon as i can.
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May 23, 2005
im so sorry its been ages! i seem to say that every time i make an entry. whoops. but yeh, just taken a while to get sorted here and stuff, and to find somewhere i can use the net. the interent cafes are pretty steep, and so have to resort to the free hour i get at the library! which so isnt enough time. hee heee. oh well, its nice of them to offer that service isnt it!
okay, so im working for the salvation army, which is so awesome. the work they do is amazing, im loving it, and so glad im here. ive got some blurb about the salvos and the order, which im part of, so ill just copy and paste it for you guys to have a gander......
Introduction to Melbourne 614
The Salvation Army Melbourne 614 is based on a worldwide model of Salvation Army
Services working in inner city environs. "614" comes from the following Bible
Isaiah 61:4 "They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long
devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for
The Salvation Army views itself as providing services to those most in need,
fulfilling its role through direct service provision and through advocacy for
social justice on behalf of those who seek its help. The Salvation Army also
provides a safety net for those whom other systems and services fail, while at
the same time having a commitment to increasingly develop service capacity to
respond before people become detached from their community.
The International Mission Statement of The Salvation Army is as follows:
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical branch of the
universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is
motivated by love for God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ
and meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
ORDER:614 are a group of passionate Christians who live together and are
abandoned to the cause of winning the city of Melbourne for God.
ORDER:614 will stand
: as a witness against the world's value system
: against the Devils wrapped agenda
: against any compromising or naval-gazing within the church
: and fight for the lost, the last and the least of our city
(from the words of William Booth)
yep so theres 28 of us all living in this big house thingy, which is awesome. we live, work and train together. but kind of all involved in different areas. were still working out our timetable and stuff, so its all up in the air, but im loving it, and getting involved with loads of differnt things - the life centre (the drop in place for druggies, etc), ER (emergency relief), night outreach, community groups etc etc, its fab. love it so much
and melbourne is an awesome city too. i really love it, loads to do and see, and just a cool place to be living it. we actually stay about 20 mins out of the city, in this dodgy suburb called sunshine. its great really, just hosts the odd gang war. hahahha. dont you love it. !
sorry that this is horrifically brief and scatty, but feeling the pressure of mny limited time in the library!!!
okay love you all, miss you loads, thanks for your emails and stuff - so appreciate them.
will try and write again soon, when heads a bit more in order.
take care homies
with love xx
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May 09, 2005
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May 03, 2005
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April 08, 2005
man its been too long - sorry. really is so flippin hectic here, hardly have a minute to myself! have been lame in keeping up with this. sorry! whoopsie.
okay so whats been going on. well, were kinda starting to wrap everything up now, which is weird, and very sad. its jus 2 weks til were out of here to trek around. theres lots of things to tie up, and people to say goodbye to. Hospitality is a HUGE part of indian culture, and for the next 2 weeks were at someones house every single night. for real. no eveings free! but thats absolutely cool, i love spending time with these people so much, and we have got a pretty awesome holiday ahead to relax and do what we want. its all going so fast though, im sure were going to be leaving before we know it, and yeh that does make me sad to think about it! i really have had an amazing time, met some quality people and got to know the people ive been working with in the slums and stuff so well. will be hard to part, but will be satisfied with the knowledge thatweve had a really great time together. and who knows, maybe i'll see them again......
it is hard when leaving people you know havnt got all that much hope, and leaving people who you kno w are in real bad violent and un fair situations. nearly every woman ive been in contact with in the slums is wrapped up in a load of domestic hardships, with absolutely no where to go and no one to turn to, well except the few staff that ive been working with here at Oasis. i can see that the projects really have been so beneficial. they all have sucha positive attitude even though their situations are appauling. theyre really rich in charcter and optimism, which really blows me away. and theres something really genuine and true in these people - theres no posessions or materialism or society for them to hide behind. what yo usee is what you get. and i like that.
So, onto oz in a few weeks. we heard from Oasis UK a week back about our placement. We'll be working with the Salvation Army in melbourne.yes i see you squiming, but dont worry, i wont be wearing navy blue boys trousers and a grandad jumper, blasting 'onward christian soldiers' on my trumpet. no way. they actually have a really cutting edge youth programme, and we'll be working alongside a team dealing with drug addicts and prostitutes and stuff. very much street based, i think. but who knows it may end up being completly different - seems to be the story of OASIS! but always turns out to be amazing. am really excited about it. cant wait. think it will fly though, seeing as its the last placement and the shortest. the time were there excluding the holiday is actually pretty short, jus 10 weeks. jus have to get stuck in from the start.
so yeh, we leave to go trekking around india on the 22nd, have a late train so have all day to get things together. probably start packing in the morning, knowing me. leaving things to the last minute surely is the best policy...
okay well i have full intention to write again just bfore i leave, so yeh, watch this space.
i hope everyone is well,
miss you all a lot
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February 27, 2005
sorry its been an absolute age again since i last wrote! time really is flying so flippin fast and i dont get much oppertunity to get to the internet cafe.
well, ive been having an amazing time here, as usual. it is a bit of a struggle sometimes, india is tough,just the emmensely different and rich culture. not to mention the appaling poverty just everywhere you look. sometimes its just all a bit too much, but god is totally my rock when it is hard. so all is cool. but i wouldnt change a thing, i really am loving it so much, its an amazing experience and i love living and being a part of such different cultures. india is stunning too, when you look above the busy crowded city areas!! but yeah, i am so happy to be here.
the projects have been fab, really got stuck in now. Balwadi has managed to get another room in the slum which the one is in presently, which is awesome as theres so many kids on the waiting list of the school. so thats real exciting, should get up and running in the next couple of weeks. i have loved teaching at the pre school so much, i didnt relaise it but its actually a real privaledge to teach these kids the fundamentals of their knowledge that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. the kids are absolutely adorable as well, i really am going to be sad to leave.
and relationships are really building up so well with the women who work at Jacobs Well. we can all have a real laugh with them now which is great. i love walking back into the office each day and getting to hang out with them for a while, before doing the stretch class at the end of the day! which is going very well by the way, basically just 20 minnutes of histerical laughter due to the fact that these girls have never done anything like this before. it really is hilarious. but one of the ladies invited us to her house after work, and she was so so happy that we came. but it was a real eye opener. after seeing these women in a pretty normal environment every day, at the oasis premises, you forget that they are actually so poor. it really was heart renching, just one room, concrete, no proper floor, where her, her brother and her mother all live and sleep. they had no belongings either, just some cooking pots in a corner. was real tough. really does break my heart. but shes such a beautiful girl, anita, and shes so content with what she has, realises that she is very poor, but will never moan or complain. these women seem to just know that thats the way it is, and nothings going to change that fact. still not right though. feel like you want to transform all the slums! just isnt fair.
but theyve been teaching me how to stitch properly! they have these amazing vintage Singer sewing machines, theyre amazing. but they produce the most amazing clothes, really beautful stuff. its such a good project for them, really makes them feel that they belong to something, ang gives the a bit of hope i guess. the english classes they also get are so amazing, opens up endless oppertunities for them here where you have to speak englih to get anywhere. i really am learning that english is the international langage!! really, everyone speaks it. feel quite lucky that i dont have to learn a language! heheeee. GCSE french and german was enough thankyou very much.
ive heard theyre thinking of abolishing GCSE's and A levels?? is this so?? can someone please fill me in!! havnt heard any news in ages, and just get to hear little snippits of whats going on. have heard about a british library nearby so im going to have a look later, apparently they have the times and independant and stuff. never been so excited about reading a paper!
so yeh, havnt been ill again since last time which is great. really is hard work being ill here! for a minute i thought i was going down with the flu again, but all turned out to be okay. am enjoying being on top form for once!! is so tiring though, its getting real hot now, and it just burns you out. apparently when we all go on holiday, its going to be smack bang in the middle of summer, hitting the 50's. oh dear. sun cream and litres of water me thinks.....
we've been planning our holiday already, as weve been told we have to get train tickets real soon. so, it looks like were going to be able to trek around. we'll start of in a place called 'Goa'. theres real stunning beaches here, pictures look amazing. then we'll head north to rhajistan for a while, check out all the cool palaces and desserts and stuff. oh and the camels of course. then we'll head over to Deli, hit the Taj and all that. cant wait, but just is going so quick. we only have 8 weeks left before we leave for holiday! couldnt believe it when i worked that out this morning. crazy.
We all went sari shopping the other day, theres two weddings for staff memebers of Oasis which is so exciting. cant wait. but they told us that you have to wear saris, and you cant wear the same one to both weddings. i wasnt complaining though, the textiles here are just so amazing. the colours and the silks are beaut. was very happy to get myself a couple of indian numbers!!is pretty cheap too. so that was fun.
KFC is still under 'refurbishment'!!! what am i going to do?? paid a visit the other day to check the story, and it actually looks so much worse than it did a few weeks ago. and if indian timing is anything like african timing (which ive been told, and am slowly learning, that it is) then i dont htink its going to be ready for me before i go.....................arghhhh!!!!!! its okay though, because it was good, but still didnt taste half as good as home, so i guess im not really missing home. just hope KFC in oz is more like the real thing. ooo by the way our ALPHA placement in Sydney has fallen through - they cant take us on anymore for some reason, so were going to actually be in melbourne for our time in oz. they havnt completely sorted out what we'll be doing yet, but oasis UK will let us know soon. so watch this space. im told melbourne is actually cold, which will be refreshing after so much heat! really looking forward to it. you flamin golare!!! yeh, need to work on my accent.
so, thats the recent update. thanks to those who've been emailing, it really is so great to recieve your mails.
til next time
miss you all greatly
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February 05, 2005
hey hey everyone
just had time to write a quickie before me and jennifer venture out for our day off. we heard about this huge shopping centre thing about an hour away, so we visited last week and were very happy to find KFC, McDonalds and Pizza Hut in one building. oh my word i feasted. joking. but yeh its about 1 1/6th of hte size of bluewater, but was very comforting being so western. so yeh were going back again today, but just to have lunch and go to the cinema there. im quite excited - will probably be some random hindi film, but still the cinema experience will be fun, havnt done that in a while!
so, the last couple of weeks have been spent settling in. and im loving now. sometimes the business and the smell is a bit too much, but i love the fact that im here, living here for a while. its an amazingly intersting culture, with so much to learn. i love it. and the projects im involved in are so great. theres two main ones i'll mbe working with over the next 3 months, with a couple of sideliners. firstyly, everyday, im teaching at a prescholl which has been set up by Oasis called 'Balwadi'. its right in the middle of the slum area, and is for kids between 3 and 6 from the community area. i love it, the kids are just so so sweet. and its such a great project, providing education for hte kids. its also such a great oppertunity to witness to the mums who come and drop them off. ao yeh i love that- never done childrens teaching but all is going well. spent all of yesturday afternoon making a huge collage about the lost sheep. man there were sheep, tissue paper and cotton wool everywhere. its fun, means i can be childish again. but yeh thats everyday from 9.30 to 12.30.
The second main project im based in is at another school called Radient High. this school was started by the church that I go to (Adenai) for older kids, who have learning difficulties, or are just slower as a result of not having any previous education. but yeh this is an amazing project aswell. been getting to know the kids the last week and theyre great. i teach most afternoons, either a music, drama, games, or dancing lesson. so yeh is awesome - and pretty tailored to the gifts gods given me. its a privaledge to be able to use them as a way of investing time and energy into these kids, who all come from pretty horrific backgrounds.
So, me and jenny are based in the community, which im loving. and jennifer and victoria are based at the oasis offices. here there is a huge project going on called Jacobs Well. this was established by Oasis a wg\hile back. its basically a project to get the women of the community trained up in life skills and tailoring - something to give them an identity and soemthing they can belong to. so, the main thing is tailoring. they make amazing sawa kameez and sarees, as well as bags and purses etc. so yeh they were complaingin of back pain from being over hte sewing machines every day all day, so ive started a stretch out class for them, ehich happens everyday at 4.45. they absoutely love it - prancing around to a bit of music. and its actually helping them a lot. they want me to teach them a dance aswell, typical to england and america. so yeh i'll do a bit of street with them, but i made htem agree to teach me some indian styley dancing too. should be interesting!!
so thats really great because it means i get to build up relationships with those girls who hang at the office doing that. they all have bad stories about abusive husbands and what not aswell. its pretty heart renching.
so ive been loving hte last couple of weeks. bangalore is cool. like i said, theres stuff about it which is a bit difficult to hack sometimes, but hey ive found KFC so im alright. (it isnt the same as home but it will certainly do)
okay sorry it isnt long today, ill write again soon
Top 5 ways to die in Bangalore:
1) Being trampled to death by the huge mass of cows which wonder the streets
2) Falling out of a rikshaw (the mode of transport, these crazy little motorised mini car htings, bright blue and yellow, with no sides and three wheels. these guys race around on the roads its so flippin dangerous. we crash all the time!)
3) From inhaling fumes from the local 'river'. oh my word i gag everytime
4) being electricuted (recently found out that nothing is earthed here. hmmm yes, good plan)
5) falling down under the pavement into the sewers. the pavement shouldnt really be called a pavement, more like a colection of stones and slabs thrown in a kind of random array.
love you guys xx
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January 17, 2005
well hello everyone. has been a very long time! firstly, i would like to apologise for my silence, but we havnt had internet acces for the last month. last week was spent traveling to india and satying in bombay, and the three weeks before that we were on the round around Zim for our holiday.
So, theres so much to catch up on!! would like to say a late merry christmas and happy new year to everyone. i was so annoyed as i spent 2& 1/2 hours when i was in mutare before leaving writing everyone christmas emails, then went online to send them and the internet was completely down, and no one in mutare could get online for ages!! thats africa for you.
hope you all did have a good crimbo. we all got up at 5 to go up the mountains and watch the sunrise on christmas morn! was actually so nice, its beautiful up there - my favourite place. then we went to church, where i was roped in (as usual) to some dodgy nativity, having to wear a sheet once again (yes everyone who was at the gift last year can now have a little giggle in rememberance of me as mary, oh my word how embarrasing). crimbo lunch was pretty cool, all the close families in the church got together at this one dudes house for a massive meal. was really nice, was chicken instead of turkey, but still damm good. it was the most bizarre experience spending christmas day out in the blazing sun, by the pool. souldnt really get my head round it! but was so nice to have a christmas which genuinely wasnt driven by presents and all that commercialism. made you able to really appreciate christmas for what it is.
so, moving on, the holiday. it was sooooo much fun, possibly one of the best holidays ive had in my time. was really nice just to wind down after such a busy 4 months. well whn i say wind down, i dont really mean that at all - it was probably the most active holiday ive ever been on!
we started at a place called Hwange, its another game reserve place. that was really cool, we went on game drives and all the usual. then we went to Victoria Falls, which was so amazing. its pretty touristy which was actually quite refreshing after being so isolated for so long. really really busy though, as we were there over new year. on new years eve, we went to this really posh african restaurant. the food was lush and there was just so much! we ate impala, osteriech, warthog, wilderbeast and crocodile! oh and some dodgy worm thing, which i got a cirtificate for, but the dude spelt my name totally wrong. was hilarious, spent ages trying to spell out the letters as clearly as i could, but obviously was making no impact at all. the crocodile was actually really nice but to my surprise the warthog was hte best. so that was a different experience! and there was a group of african drummers dancing around in skimpy bits of cloth which was too funny. they were really good though. so we stayed there till midnight, then went onto a praty that was going on somewhere else. was a really good new year. hope you all had fun too.
new years day was spent white water rafting up the Zambezi, which was so good! i lved every minute of it. theres about 22 rapids, some of which were easy peasy but a lot were absolute mothers. our raft flipped once which was quite good going, but i managed to get blasted into a huge rock as a result. no fret, i was fine, just got stuck in the current for a while til some dude rescued me! how lame. but yeah that was so good, wolud reccomend to anyone. the next day i did the bunjee jump off the bridge. theres a video of it which ive sent home so im sure thatl be circling soon! also another amazing experience. think its 111m drop, i screamed all the way. but would like to add that was out of pure hilarity, not becuase i was petrified. im hardcore. no obviously i was nervous when i was getting harnessed up, but by the time your on the platform and your toes are over the edge you know youre gonna do it nay second so you make the decision to just get over yourself and enjoy it! i really loved it.
after a few more days in vic falls we moved onto this place called antelope park. this is an amazing place where they have vreeding programmes for lions, leopards, etc etc. we did some pretty cool stuff here too. we got to walk with 3 lions round the game park, again, completely sureal. also got to feed little lion cubs which were adorable, go on an elephant ride and swim with elephants! the later being possibly the funniest thing ive ever experienced. you start out of the water on the elephants back, holding onto the guide. theyre actually flippin uncomfortable! roody great spine which sticks out a mile. but yeah, then the ellie walks into the river, and goes about half way. then the guide just started shouting at the thing and it just goes under. you have to stay on hte ellie to obviously oyu go under too, then it comes up so your head is out of the water, but its still submerged. it was the funniest thing knowing that under you was this huge grey mass just mucking around. it would occasionally roll onto its side which was hilarious too. so yeah all in all the holiday was amazing. was good to meet up again with the other half of our team too (the four that had been in Bulawayo when in Zim).
after the holiday we went to harare, the capital, for a few days before we flew out. some of our mates we had made from mutare came up for one of the days as its only a couple hours drive, so it was cool to hang out with them and say our final goodbyes. i really liked harare. its a lot busier than little old mutare, but it was cool.
unfortunately though, i got really sick the day before we had to fly. puking big time, think i got some kind of bug. but the oasis guys seriously didnt htink id be flying, which was quite a worry. couldnt actually keep anything down, was vomming even after a sip of water, so we got down to some serious praying, and after some docotr came and helped me out, i felt like 100 times better. was so good. so, had no problems flying the next day. all was good. however, we were yet to find out when we arrived in bombay, that all of our luggage had not come with us after our connnection flight. we flew from harare to kenya, then changed from kenya to fly over to bombay. but our luggage hadnt changed with us. so, first night in bombay with absolutely nothing! we had to trek an hour to the airport the next day to collect it all, praise god it was all there, and an hour back. so was a real pain as we were supposed to start our orientation that day, but least we got every bag back without anything being lost or stolen. so we spent a few days in bombay. i have to admit, i got really bad culture shock. zim is so laid back, and chilled, things get down but its relaxed, and i loved it. then we were suddenly dropped into this culture which is SO loud, busy, intense, smelly, brash and crazy. found it flippin hard on the first day, but god has really been looking after me. we travelled down to Bangalore, where ill be staying for the next 4 months, a few days later. it was a 24 train journey, which was nice and interesting! wasnt half as bad as i imagined, especially as we pretty much slept for all of it, after being so knackered form the plane. the loos however were not the most pleasant. actually so unpleassant that it became hilarious. it was your regular squatty, but it went straight onto the track. its actually really hard to pee when you can see the ground moving so fast underneath you!! crazy.
so we finally arrive in bangalore, and i praise god that he has placed me here. its still busy and loud and all of that, but it is generally sooooo much nicer than bombay. its cleaner (apart form in the slums), and just a little less intense. i hated bombay but love bangalore. we spent the first few days settling in, getting to know the area, and buying all our Sawa Kamis. this is the name of the clothes we have to wear. loving the indian styley. me an jennifer are staying with this family from the church. they are so so nice but so flippin strict. as soon as we arrived the list of rules came out! probably good to have some discipline for a few months though. but yeah allowed hot water twice a week, so cold showers most of the time, but im getting used to it. its actually not half as bad as you think after a while. all part of the service ay. oh and me and jennifer have to share a pretty small bed which is interesting! good job we get on really well. bit of a probl;em though becuase i seriously sleep talk and laugh every night (which i have learnt since being away and having to share a room!), but jennifer is a heavy sleeper so not too much of an issue. apparently i just giggle and say random things like 'awesome' and 'hey girl!!'. better than shouting obscenities though i spose.
so it was our first day at work today. were based at the oasis offices, the team are so lovely. theres one woman from england who is like a permanent missionary, who is our coordinator. shes so lovely, so i know we'll be fine. she looks really like you though mum, which is pretty weird!!
we visited all the different projects in the slums that we'll be involved in over the next four months. im really excited about whats to come, some real potential. oasis india are just initiating a project dealing with child trafiking, which has recently been highlighted due to the Tsunami. so that is so intersting, and its cool to be involved with the initiation of that. by the way, to those who were asking, our placement hasnt changed due to the disaster, were still in bangalore as scheduled.
so yeah, loads has passed in the last month, has been really hectic. but i have been thinking of you all all the time, was sad being away from you guys at christmas and new year. i wish you all the best for 2005.
erm i have a new mobile number now, had to get an indian sim card. dont have the number on me right now, but if you would like it, ask my folks or josh or steph or someone. theyve got it. i also have an address you can send post to. i know this isnt subtle but PLEASE SEND CHOCOLATE IMMEDIATELY, AM FADING RAPPIDLY. really, the choc in zim was horrific, and is equally as bad here. no pressure though.
just realised that i dont have the address on me either, how organised. ill get it and post it on here within the next couple of days. oops.
so, just a few prayer points:
1) thank god that our plane journey accross was safe, and that i could actually fly and our baggage was all fine.
2) for our team, adjusting to india, culture shock etc.
3) me and jennifer in our host family, that we have the right attiuted towards the way that they work
4) ive been ill since the day we got here - really bad stomach and was sick today after lunch in some slum. so if you could pray that the food starts liking me that would be great! its so annoying as i love the food so much. feel 4 months of curry for breakfast lunch and dinner is going to become a little tiresome though. may have to really entirely on chocolate supplies. shame.
5) the oasis india team, that we'll be able to get along side them and work effectively and to the best we can, as to serve god 100% in this place.
6) for my brother and his girlfriend who are due to have a little bambino feb 8th!
thanks so much guys, sorry, was a bit of a novel. so ill come on again and give you my address in a few days. hope you are all well, miss you all sooooooooooooooooo much.
loads and loads of love
me x x x x x x
ps. dont have time to spell check, so sorry about the words that dont make sense!!!!
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December 15, 2004
Hows it?? Thought it was time for a bit of an update. Been a couple of weeks since ive last written, times been flying as usual. The week long kids club we were doing- going bananas- went really really well. We were shattered before it even started, so the week was a bit of a mission to get through, but it was so much fun. We had between 40 and 50 kids each day which was awesome. Every day the kids would have to board the makeshift aeroplane, and land on ‘banana island’. They loved it. So that was all successful, but weird when it finished, as that meant it was the end of our programme. Cant believe how quickly its gone, but absolutely loved every opportunity ive had, and everything weve done. Ive definitely fallen in love with Zimbabwe, it’s a fantastic country, in a right mess, but the people are just so friendly, and the places you can go and the things you can see and do are just amazing. Im sure ill make a visit back one day.
We’ve just come back from spending some time in the bush, which was also awesome. We were in a place called Mahenye, in Gonerozhou. It was such a cool time. Had a bit of an adventure though. To get to the place where we were staying, you had to cross this huge river bed in the 4x4’s. there was no problem there, crossed easy, no worries. But whilst we were there in Mahenye, there was unexpected rains, and the river started to fill up, at a flipping fast rate, so much so that in one day we had become stranded on this island. It was hilarious. Obviously we had to leave this place, so when the time came, we just had to wade through the river, lugging all our gear on our heads. It was so much fun. There was the small factor of crocodiles which made it all a little more life threatening however. Gonerozhou’s water is known for an abundance of crocs, and there had been sightings of them in the river we were crossing. But there really was no other choice, we just had to wade as fast as possible. Eventually, this guy rocked up with a dodgy little rowing boat, and he took us back and forth with the gear. Luckily 2 of the vehicles we had traveled in had been driven to the other side of the river on the day we arrived, as they were needed for a game drive, so they wernt stranded. But one of our cars was stuck there. We just had to go, leaving someone camping there with it. The water had come down to knee level by this morning, so they were able to cross and come home today.
So all was a bit crazy, but we all had such an amazing time. It was so nice to just spend some time away as our programme finished, with the people weve got to know over the last few weeks. A bunch of guys joined us who had come home to Mutare for crimbo holidays.Theyere all studying in south Africa, that seems to be what people do after school – go to south Africa or over sees. so it was really great to get to know them all as well. Theres so many of our mates who are going to be living in England by the time were home. Most of them are hitting London, so itl be cool to hook up with them when were back.
So, we got back yesterday, today weve just been catching up with washing, sleep, and vegging out. Tomorrow were going to the lake with the guys – the lake we went to in october, with the bridge you can jump off. Should be fun, we’ll have a braai as well. Mmmmmm the steak out here is so good. Its nice to be off now, and just chill out. Theres certainly loads to look back on, so much has happened out here over the last couple of months, met and interacted with so many people. I really praise god for the opportunity.
Its weird that were starting to get things ready for leaving,. Cant believe theres only 11 days till we leave mutare, then were off on holiday! Cant wait. Still trying to psyche myself up for the jump off vic falls.
Chrsitmas is quite a hard time to be away, especially when youre not getting much post from anyone. Really miss all you guys. But my team are quality, were all helping eachother out. Itl be fine, looking forward to all the banta of Christmas day.
Anyway, ill write again just before I leave mutare.
Hope you are all well. Please keep praying for us, especially at this time where were starting to pack up and say goodbyes to people. Its quite easy to get a bit low when youre evaluating all that’s been and gone.
Well catch up with you all soon. Take care
All my prayers and thoughts,
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December 05, 2004
Cant quite remember when I last blogged, so sorry If I repeat myself at all! Time continues to rocket past, so weeks are really feeling like days.
All is really good out here, im still loving every minute of it, and having an amazing time. Its getting a bit harder as Christmas is approaching, its definitely going to be weird not spending it with my friends and family. But were still really busy so that helps to keep the mind of it! Nah, everyone out here is great, we’ll have a lovely Christmas. Us four girlies are going to trek up a mountain early Christmas morning to catch the sun rise. It really is stunning. what better way to spend Christmas. Thought I better make the most of the sun this christmas seeing as I’ll never experience the two together again! It really is so hot, even though the rains have come. It’l be as bright and hot as ever in the morning, then suddenly, in the afternoon, itl absolutely bucket down for a while, then completely clear up again. Its quite fun, the only thing is a lot of bugs like to rear their ugly heads during the rains. Weve recently discovered the hugest flying ants in the whole world. They are massive, and come out in force in huge number without you even realising. They die really quickly, so when the rain stops, theres just this carpet of ants on the floor. Rank.
This last week has been quite bizarre, it was the last week of our normal programme.so there was a lot of goodbyes. Pretty sad really. Our last trip to the down Syndrome school was great, but a bit heart renching. We gave out the Christmas boxes that we had put together for the 20 kids who board there. When we arrived, ahlf the kids wernt there, and we were told by a carer that they had gone home for Christmas. Unfortunately we wernt told that this would be happening, so their boxes will be kept for them (hopefully) and given to them when they come back in the new year. Unfortunately, weve been informed that when things lke this have been done before, the gifts often go walkabouts and find homes with members of staff etc. but for the kids who were there, it was great. A really special time. They absolutely loved it. Most of them took ages to get excited because they couldn’t get their heads around the fact that the presents and clothes were actually for them. Once they realized this, they were jumping about and screaming and shouting. They were saying thank you for the next hour in any way that they could. It was so great to see them in some half decent clothes, by the looks of things they’ve been wearing the one set of clothes for years. So that was pretty emotional, as we had to say goodbye to them that morning as well. ive had such a great time working with those kids, and im really going to miss them.
We also paid our last weekly visit to the old peoples home. We’re going to pop into them the week before Christmas though, so we’ll say our proper goodbyes then. That’s been a really cool time too, hanging out with the oldies.
We experienced something new on Wednesday. We went to pick up elios, our translator, before going onto Dangavora (another high density rural area), but when we got to his house, his wife said that he was at a funeral at the church there in sakubva. This wasn’t unusual, elios would often be doing funerals. So we went up to his church, as he was due to be finished in half an hour. But when we got there we saw elios and he said that it had all been delayed due to transport problems, so he invited us to stay for the funeral. Eventually, the coffin arrived in the back of a pick up. It was a really weird experience, loads of people were dancing and singing, all the drums were going. You also had the relatives whaling and crying at the same time. Elios told us that it was a 32yr old woman, who had died of AIDS, leaving her two kids orphaned as the dad had died of the same thing a couple of years ago. It was so sad. The kids were just distraught. So once the coffin had arrived, some people carried it into the church, and everyone followed. Obviously everything was really basic, but the service was pretty similar to that of an English funeral. Elios preached for a short while, and there was a reading, all in shona. A couple of family members and friends then got up individually and said something about the lady. After a few songs, everyone paraded out, and the coffin went back into the pick up. We all had to drive to the graveyard for the burial. When we got there, you had to walk a pretty hefty distance to get to the grave that she was to be buried in. ive never seen so many graves in my life. The section for children was massive too. Really really disturbing. It gutted me, just so sad how many people are dying when they shouldn’t – for reasons that wouldn’t be a problem in England or America etc, but are just so huge out here. Its so unfair. When reading the grave stones I saw that no body reached past the age of 35/40. so that was quite a sobering experience. Really sad but glad I got to see it.
On a happier note, all week weve been running around trying to make sure everything was in order for the youth service that was to be led entirely by the church’s youth group this morning. A lot of the guys were really nervous about sharing testimonies etc, so we spent a lot of time just preparing them and going over everything with them. It actually went so well, everything was successful. I led worship, with four other youth members in the band. We had a good few practices, and they were all really nervous, but it went so well. praise god. So that’s a big relief now, pressures off. Weve just got the summer holiday kids club (Going Bananas) all of this week, then everything really winds down as Christmas approaches. We’re going over to the church this afternoon to set up the hall. Its set on a island, so weve got to decorate the hall with loads of beachy things. In true African style, weve got good few real palm trees that someones uprooted and let us use!! Hilarious. The palm trees out here are amazing. Absolutely huge. I’ll definitely try and get one in my garden when im older. Something tells me the weather conditions wont be quite right though. Oh well.
So, this week will be busy, kids club in the morning, and prep for the next day in the afternoon. The week after were going into the bush for a week with the scenior youth. Cant wait.
Still no news on who I’ll be paried with in Bangolore, but we should be finding out soon so I’ll keep you posted. Cant believe that India is so close on the horizon. That’s definitely going to be a culture shock.
Well I hope all of you are well, and enjoying all the festivities. I think were going to put some deorations up around the house tonight which should be fun. Please continue to pray for us all, especially during this lead up to Christmas. Take care, miss you all loads.
All my love, bec x
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