Braai’s and Birthdays!

They-wa! What kind? How’s it?

So I basically said Hi, How are you? In “Coloured” slang.

Don’t worry, I know it’s not politically correct to us but the community we are staying in is called a “Coloured” community which is what we would call Mixed Race or Bi-racial. There are a few other ethnic groups such as Zulu and Indian but it is predominantly Coloured. So even though the language they speak is English, they also speak Deep slang, making it difficult for others to really understand what they are saying. But we are beginning to pick some things up.

We have also found ourselves very integrated into a local Church called Joy Chapel . Although it is one of 11 churches in Mariannridge, our South African Team leader, Tebogo lives with the Pastors’ family so we got a lift with them in the morning. The church is held for 2 hours from 9am to 11am, similar to most of the churches although it sometimes goes over, but it is hard to notice as so much is going on. The service is very loud from the worship team to the very energetic and youthful – spirited congregation. Even the grandma’s are up on their feet dancing.

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Services are held in English but often they sing a mixture of Zulu and Afrikaans songs as many tribes are represented in the church. One word I can use to best describe the ethos of the church is “free” in all senses of the word. From the way they worship to the way they embrace each and everybody. The members made us feel so welcome that we also attend cell group on Tuesdays and Youth on Fridays. Our first week in the church, we were asked to lead the Friday Youth session. The ages range from 15 to 25 years. As nervous as we were and without having an understanding of how the youth program is usually run, we accepted and we realised that South African kids are excited over the same things as any other kids. The famous game of “30 seconds” seemed to already be a big hit among them and their competitive edge meant that creativity was at its highest.

One thing that South Africans love to do is have a Braai. This is pretty much a Bbq but it is very popular and brings everyone together all year round. They normally eat every type of meat including ‘wors’ which is similar to sausage but bigger and is indigenous to the people of South Africa. We were invited to Kaylen’s birthday, one of the girls from the church, who had a “Bring and Braai” which meant that we literally had to bring our own meat. We also got to try Chakalaka, which was like a very sweet salsa sauce that went very well with the Braai meat and Puthu, a Zulu delicacy, similar to potato mixed with sweetcorn, butter and salt.

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One of the South African volunteers, Jabu came across an outdoor Braai on his morning jogs and we decided to check it out also. It was pretty much an outdoor restaurant where you are able to purchase your own meat at the counter, pick your seasoning and then go outside to cook it to your liking on the grills provided. The restaurant itself was situated on the side of the road, meaning that it was very open with music blasting, while people came in big groups to cook their meat, drink and dance. Our initial plan was to walk there, but one of the church members from Joy Chapel, Basil, was driving passed and gave us a lift. We also invited him to join us. Thank God we did as we would not have managed the walk back because of the amount we ate!

Last weekend, we joined forces with City Celebration which are a dance network that visit many different communities, sharing the art of dance with young girls in particular and encouraging them to express themselves in many different ways. We expected 100 girls, however only 20 turned up. The numbers were disappointing but when we asked the local people, they informed us that it was very common of the Mariannridge community to promise that they will come but never show up. Despite the turn out, we didn’t want to give up so we invited girls who we saw on the street playing or were walking passed and encouraged them to come in and take part. We also found a lot of young boys on the streets that seemed to be very bored and were causing a nuisance, so we invited them in also. After all the efforts, there were around 35 kids. The second dilemma we faced was that we were providing lunch and therefore had a lot of food left over. But God had a much better plan. Luckily, we had only decided to make a few of the sandwiches until we knew how many people were coming. The rest of the bread was still sealed so we donated the rest to Uncle Ralph for him to distribute to the local houses. This was such a blessing in the end and we were really happy that things all worked out so well. We were also asked to lead a few games for the kids including the Okey Kokey!  And of course, face painting was involved! By the end of the day, we were exhausted but not tired enough to say no to yet another Braai! This time we were invited by the YLT (Youth Leadership Team) who were another group of students implementing a spirit of active citizenship in the community. We intend to collaborate with them in a few upcoming projects so stay tuned for this.

We still need prayer in regards to our upcoming projects which involve planning for a sports day in the primary school and a big litter campaign to clean up the streets of Mariannridge.

We are all still doing very well in terms of health and team bonding so we thank God for that.

So I am just rushing off to a meeting but will post another blog next week. Thank you very much for all the prayers and support, we are so grateful and we pray that God continues to bless us and that we trust for God’s hand to be in everything that we do.

Thanks again and God bless

Gayle

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