Nompilo competing during a race. She was NOT running this fast when she was helping me. 🙂
When we have a team visiting us, it means I get to go be involved with every aspect of iThemba’s work for a few days. This week, that meant I visited running club for the first time since I got over my mono (glandular fever). I have posted about running club in the past, but for those who don’t like hyperlinks, running club is a group of students from a local high-school coached by Thulani, one of our discipleship fieldworkers. There are about 40 of them, and this term they are competing (and winning) against super-priviledged schools in the area.
I took the team to meet the club and join in with the practice– and hopefully encourage the kids to keep going and be dedicated. Thulani had us start by running a few warm-up laps around the stadium (which also doubles as a cow pasture). Since I didn’t want to be lazy, and I wanted to set the example by participating, I decided to run one lap. My friend Nompilo, a student in running club who also was in art club last term (and is one of the fastest on the team), was very kind and slowed pratically to a walk so she could jog with me. Then, as we approached the end of the first lap, I was going to stop, when she wrapped both her arms around me and said, “No, it’s okay, I’ll be with you, you can do it! Keep going.” And so I kept going.
On my own, I would have done just one lap, but with Nompilo I was able to do two. 🙂 What a beautiful picture of encouragement, teamwork, and the fact that we really do go farther together. We really do need each other.
Many of the discipleship fieldworkers have been facing very serious situations in the community with the kids they work with: suicides, abuse, death from AIDS– and all of this has been taking a toll on them. Thankfully, this team we recently had from Restroation Hope was able to pray for them and encourage them to keep going. To see the American church come hold hands and gather around the South African church, praying for the Spirit help them finish strong was a beautiful picture of Christ’s body at work.
- Pray that the discipleship fieldworkers will continue to be encouraged.
- Pray that the running club will become a group of students who support each other in making wise choices.
In Sweetwaters there are no organized after-school activities for children or teens. The schools do not have sports teams that compete against each other, and there are no after-school cultural activities. Here’s two cool after-school clubs that iThemba has been involved with lately. These after-school clubs not only keep kids off the street and doing something productive, but they also give children a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem. Both of these programmes also help to link the community of Sweetwaters/Mpumuza with the community of Hilton. Ever wonder what hope really looks like? Here are two tangible examples:
Running Club: In a partnership with the JAG foundation, Thulani, one of our discipleship fieldworkers, has a running club with some students from Mashaka school. This club meets after school for training and this term they are competing against other high-schools in the area. Many of these schools are very privileged– they are some of the best schools in our country! It is so much fun to give these students a chance to compete (and do REALLY WELL!) in this context. At their recent meet at Maritzburg College, many of the students placed within the top 15 in their section (each section had up to 150 runners). This week, the students are competing at Michael House boys boarding school.
Warming up and ready to go!
Time to stretch
Nompilo running hard
Art Club: Anna has been running an after-school art club for eighth grade students at Mashaka. Every week for the past 3 months, these 24 students have faithfully come and done art-projects. Anna just arranged an art exhibition so the students could show their work to their parents and the community. Members of the Hilton community also attended. The students received awards for their participation, and the school choir sang and danced. It was great to see students so proud of the work they had done.
Students proud of their work!
Anna with some of her students, and their certificates
Visitors from the Hilton community also came to see the art.
some of the artwork done by the gr8 after-school club
Some students showing off their work.
Anna and the Mashaka art teacher, who teaches during the week.