“Eh, it is so quiet here today without my students, Steph.” Gretta said to me yesterday when I dropped by to say hello. Gretta runs a creche (preschool) in Sweetwaters with over 90 kids. She does an amazing job of keeping them all in line, and helping them learn. The students she was talking about, though, were the 6 college students from Azusa Pacific University, who had been helping her out in the morning for a few hours every week. They would spend the morning playing with kids, and doing whatever Gretta needed done, whether it was fixing her broken tire swings, making her compost heap, or cutting out decorations for her Christmas party.
Gretta started teaching at creches over 20 years ago. She started at this creche in a tiny one-room building over-flowing with children. But through her prayer and perseverance (and partnership with iThemba), she now has a large two-room classroom, with a store-room and kitchen. iThemba has been partnering with Gretta’s creche for the past several years, and it has been so fun to see her good work with the kids and faithfulness be rewarded.
“You have to do it because you love the children.” Gretta always explains. “You cannot do it for the money, because we are not paid very much at all.” Gretta, who was widowed this past year, spends her spare time in her gardens (she has three on the property of the creche). She grows veggies for the kids in the creche and the community. One of Gretta’s dreams is that the community would be inspired by her creche and gardens and start to serve each other.
When the APU students left on Thursday, she cried as she said goodbye to them. “You have been such an encouragement to me. I love you so much, I will call you my sons and daughters. You must go back to the US and tell everyone about Gretta, this short and stout lady who is working at Sbukosezwe creche.”
When I saw Gretta yesterday, she had made a bracelet to remember to pray for “her students” from the US. I am so inspired by Gretta’s example, and I know the APU students were also touched by her generous love, her hard work, and her dedication to the community.
Sometimes it is easy to complain, and it is difficult to give of ourselves to others. These next few weeks will be very busy for me, as we get ready for camp, for the Jabulani Kids Club Christmas party, and for the teens thank you dinner. But I think of Gretta with her 90 kids at her creche everyday, and I am inspired to keep giving and going.
- Praise God for the great work that the APU students did with Gretta, and in the community these past few weeks.
- Pray for strength and energy these next 3 weeks as the end of year events start piling up.
- Pray especially for good weather next weekend, since we have the Christmas Party, and a lot of the activities need to be done outside!
- Pray for Gretta, that God will keep giving her strength, and will use her to inspire the community around her.