News: Life is never boring

Holy Family has been established for 10 years this year – from a very small home initially for mothers dying from AIDS and their children to a fully established registered children’s home for 70 children. There is a celebration to mark the occasion. Fran (see page 16) is organising a concert, the children providing the entertainment – singing, dancing, gymnastics, ball skills etc. I have started to teach a group of kids to juggle – I knew my juggling skills would eventually go international. Ha Ha. The kids get a kick out of seeing and doing something new and we have lots of laughs. I think I may be roped into some cooking for the arvo tea as well.

Fran has been experimenting with the local food – some is very nice while others I would be happy to leave. Fran has just cooked up a batch of Mopani worms, which have been dried and salted (they look like hard fat caterpillars). You boil the dried worms, drain and then add fried onion, tomatoes and of course lots of salt. She got one of the local women to test it out and with a few tips managed to get the recipe right. I’ve also tried deep fried grasshoppers which taste ok – just crunchy and salty.

I start a teaching program with one of the local staff next week. Basically, I will be showing her how to look after the children’s health needs and to run the clinic. Olga has had some experience as a carer and over the next six months I hope she will gain the knowledge and experience to work in the clinic. I have developed an education program with lots of resources, so they can be used as a reference. One of Palms’ objectives is to promote an exchange of skills so that the focus is on community development not just providing aid.

A White Rhino, one of the Big Five animals in Kruger National Park.
Over the last few days we have had torrential rain – rivers are overflowing and there has been some huge damage to local villages and communities in the Northern Province which were in a poor state to begin with. We were unable to transport staff to and from the local village on Wednesday as the river was flowing over the bridge and no one could get through for fear of being swept away. Many gates at Kruger National park have been closed and evacuations have occurred both there and in some villages. Although we now have a flowing waterway at the back of the property and the grounds were flooded, we were fortunate as no major damage occurred at Holy Family. However the frogs are loving it. So last year fire surrounded Holy Family and now this year it’s a flood – life is never boring .

Carmel Lawry, a nurse from Melbourne, is volunteering at Holy Family in Limpopo, South Africa. Her placement is supported by Palms Australia, the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (OLSH) and AusAID. 

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There is both a moral and social responsibility attaching to these experiences of foreign cultures,
and if nothing awakens in our own soul, making claims and demands upon us,
calling us to change the way we live, then we have been merely parasites and invaders. - David Tacey