Sjoe, it’s sobering to be in such a place as Bhambayi, thinking of the challenges, concerns, and fears its people live with daily. Today, I was surrounded by the brave women of our society, in an area that houses 75,000 living in makeshift housing.
It is the second week GCF Africa runs Empowering Victims in Crisis Events in collaboration with the South African Human Rights Commission and their SHINE Programme (Social Harmony Through National Effort). Last week it was Phoenix, this week here. Victim empowerment and family strengthening are our focus ensuring the safeguarding and protection of our future.
The settlement has a vast and ongoing history of violence, distress, and death. And the stories I hear, from the youngest of 17 years to the oldest in their 70s, are real and frightening. In between all the training activities, I hear someone saying “We will never heal from this!” If I did not know Jesus, I would have said the same. I’m crying when writing this, trusting God for healing for each and everyone in the room. If you are a believer, pray with me.
The training venue has corrugated iron walls, a small door, and not a single window. The perspiration is dripping off us all in the heat of summer. We move as close as we can to the door for the slight breeze.
At the end of the day, I can go “home” to a comfortable bed, to an actual room. I can drive away in an air-conditioned car, and buy myself a takeout meal and a bottle of water, but what do my newfound friends go home to? A crowded shack made of temporary material, uneven ground floor, sharing all facilities with 8-10 others. Walking and jumping mud puddles in the rain, going home to no water, food, employment, or vision. South African hopelessness is tangible.
Life often seems incredibly unfair, but as we keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus, there is hope. He made a way out!