There are so many encouraging and exciting stories that we probably need a book to record them all, but here are 3 gems we would like to share.
Adam came to Chrysalis on 25 May. He had run away from Lower Crossroads, Khayelitsha, when the xenophobic attacks started in Cape Town. His story started when he went to work on the morning of the 23rd. The attacks started during that day. When he returned home at 5.00 pm, he found his wife and 8 month old child were missing. One can just try to imagine the shock and trauma. He was transported to Chrysalis on the 25th and was so traumatised when we found him that he could barely communicate and appeared to be comatose. He spent the day on his bed with a blanket over his head. Everyone else in the dorm was so worried about him. A group of young volunteers took it upon himselves to find Adam’s wife and child. They put a photo and a short editorial in the Cape Times and after lots of networking and phone calls, remarkably Adam’s wife and child were found in Pietermaritzburg staying with the only people she knew in South Africa. On Monday 14 July, Adam and his wife and child were reunited in Cape Town. We think it is nothing less than a miracle. And there’s more – the family are living in a room in Belville and Adam has a job working in Blackheath, Cape Town, as a security guard. They were given household goods, including a double bed and are now back on their feet reunited, safe and happy! Praise the Lord!
Rodrigues is a young man in his twenties from Mozambique. He came to South Africa 3 years ago, unable to speak the language and with very limited resources, to earn money to support his sister through school back in Mozambique. He started a computer repairs business in a container in Phillippi, a very poverty-stricken rural area of Cape Town. He also doubled up as a security guard. When the attacks started, he fled and lost everything. He told us when he arrived at Chrysalis, that he felt destitute and hopeless, afraid and confused. He was owed a month’s salary by the security company, who refused to pay him. We have taken legal action against the company and expect payment to be released shortly. In the meantime, through much support, love and caring at the camp, he took the brave decision to return to his home town of Xai Xai in Mozambique and start an internet cafe and computer training company. Just imagine doing this with no resources and just dreams!! Guess what – we got him a donated bus ticket to return to Mozambique, 5 secondhand computers (donated by the Clicks organisation) and R2000 in cash raised by a volunteer who raffled a Springbok rugby jersey at a pre-primary school. As I’m typing this, Rodrigues is on the bus on his way home! Is that amazing or is that amazing?! God is good!
LATEST NEWS – Rodrigues has phoned to say that he has arrived safely in Mozambique! He can’t believe he is back home and sounded so happy. He had to pay for the computers to get through the border, but at least they got there OK! It took him 38 hours to get there!!!
Abdul is an 18 year old young man who travelled alone overland from Somalia two years ago. It took him almost 6 months to get here. (Pause for a minute and try to imagine a 16 year old overland without a passport to a foreign land from a war-torn country). Abdul, similar to Rodrigues, came to earn money to send back to support his family in Somalia. He has a mum and dad and 8 brothers and sisters. When we asked him why he came, he said he was the one who had had the privilege of a private education and could speak English. He was the family’s hope and lifeline. Remember he was 16 at the time. He came to Westlake Village in Cape Town, where with some assistance, he started a small shop in a corrugated iron structure 4 metres by 2 metres. He lives and sleeps in the shop, watches TV, cooks and eats in the shop, and trades from the shop! On the 23 May, he fled from Westlake and his shop was ransacked. The police brought him to the camp in Tokai. Like so many others, he was traumatised, hopeless, confused and unsure what the future held, if anything. Over a period of 6 weeks, we encouraged him, reassured him, loved him and got involved in his life. Someone came up with the idea of helping him to start up his business again. We negotiated with his landlord who made the premises available, and 2 churches – St Martin’s, Bergvliet, and Common Ground, Rondebosch, together provided an opening stock to enable him to re-start his business. 3 weeks later he is doing well, his business is thriving and he is able to start accumulating money which he can send back to his family in Somalia. We are greatly heartened by what God can do when a few willing people can turn someone’s life around.
There are many other stories we can tell you, but we would probably have to write a book to tell you them all.
WHERE WE ARE AT
At the moment, there are approximately 90 people left in the camp, mixed nationalities, men, women and children, and a partnership between Common Ground Foundation (CGF) – (see their website www.commongroundchurch.co.za “Get Behind the Refugee Reintegration Programme”) and Westlake United Church Trust (WUCT). CFG and WUCT are matching each other Rand for Rand to finance the reintegration programme (RRP).
HERE IS A CHALLENGE
Would you like to support the programme? If so, kindly use the bank account of WUCT and any donations to be referenced as CGF/WUCT RRP. Please remember to give your contact details (address or telephone number is fine) because if there are any funds over when the project is completed, we would like to disperse them amongst the donors. We know everyone is wary of phisting these days and so we are specifically not asking for bank accounts but we would like to contact donors at the end of the project to discuss how to deal with any excess funds. All the funds are managed by a chartered accountant. If you have any queries or questions, kindly write to firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to telephone me on +27 835571337 (mobile), or +27 217011049 (office).