I’ve actually been here for over 10 days now but haven’t got round to updating my blog yet. It’s been an action-packed week or so and I’ve loved every minute of it!
Highlights so far:
- The children.
There’s been a lot of boundary pushing and discovering of ‘time out’ for a couple of them, but it’s SO lovely to come back to the house and be greeted by a sea of little arms to hug and greet me. It’s harder to get out of the house to go anywhere as I face a barrage of questions: ‘Where are you going?’ ‘What are you doing?’ etc…
One of the 4 year old girls has taken to giving me fashion advice as well… ‘I don’t like your trousers, go and change!’ and another one: ‘I don’t like your hair when it is up. You look like a maGogo!’ 😉 These children are not afraid to say what they think!
I’ve spent a fair bit of time each evening with the very small ones helping with feeding time and general cuddles, especially with the smallest who just wants a bit of snuggle time often. Although, he did throw up all over me yesterday. But to have managed 10 days and not had to change my clothes wasn’t too bad, I thought.
It’s literally like falling in love with 18 little people all at the same time and never being quite sure who to cuddle next. I’ve come up with a few nicknames. One is Mr Chilled, a toddler who is quite placid and doesn’t get too stressed at mealtimes, just sits quietly to wait his turn. Another is Mr Charming, who has such an expressive face that he communicates so well, although he needs some special one-on-one attention to encourage his development.
Another favourite (I have 18 favourites!) is my little ‘Pooh bear’, a mischievous little boy who is always looking to find creative ways of exploring the house. One morning we found him sitting like Winnie the Pooh and his honey in the middle of the living room floor after having climbed up somewhere, helped himself to a big brown pot containing vaseline ointment, scooping it out and smearing it all over himself and taking a taste. He was in his element! Later that day I saw him wander into the bathroom with some brightly coloured toys only to reappear a few seconds later empty-handed. Of course, they weren’t left in the bath or the sink… !!
I’ve decided he’s an intelligent boy, always looking for creative expressions of play! 😉 (I’m sure there are parents all over the world nodding in agreement at these antics right now!)
And then there’s the girls. There are three 4 year old girls who are similar in height and it’s taken me longer to get their names straight. I thought I had it sorted but then one of the Aunties re-did their hair and I got confused again… #weave
2. The shop
I’ve spent a fair bit of time working in the charity shop this past week. It’s been an interesting place to be as I haven’t done retail since the good old student days of M&S food department. I had fun re-organising some of the items onto new shelving and also doing the window displays. Auntie Irene remarked that she thought my house must be immaculate given how I’d done the shop (I had to set her straight on that one!).
I’ve found myself thinking ‘you’re selling a lifestyle, presentation is key‘ as I set things out and move things round in the shop, trying to present them in an inviting way.
There are many regulars who pop in to purchase stuff and I’ve had some great chats. It’s also been good to explain to new people about Hotel Hope and a few have gone on to contact the office to help out with donations. This is all vital work in helping with the self-sustainability of the organisation.
I’m eyeing up a few gorgeous animal paintings, but if I see another glass vase come in I think I’ll scream!! If you live in Jo#burg and are planning a wedding, running a florist’s or just love vases, come by Resurrection in Melville (corner 2nd Ave and 7th st) and take some of them off our hands (for a modest price!)
3. The community
Everyone around here is so friendly. Not just the lovely lovely staff and volunteers at Hotel Hope, but even out and about in Melville. It’s a new experience for me being able to walk around the streets in South Africa (although still not very safe at night) and I’m appreciating being able to do so. In KZN we drove everywhere! It helps that I’ve got a foreign accent, I’m still being asked if I’m Australian at times (an odd phenomenon that keeps happening to me and which I 100% blame on too many Aussie Soaps as a teenager. ‘Neighbours’ has a lot to answer for!!)
I’ve been to several different church events and prayer meetings and have had some inspired times of worship already, which is wonderful. I’m still in Phase 1 of my time here, a time to settle in, enjoy the moments and not stress or worry about the future.
This verse has been very much mulled and mused on this past week. God is working his purposes out. I’ve had a few moments where I’ve felt I’ve been helpful in the right place at the right time over this past week and that’s encouraging for me.
Tomorrow at church and then next week at a SILENT retreat will be further times of refreshment and blessing. Thank you for all your prayers, I’m feeling sustained and guided through this wonderful time in the sunshine (and THAT would be highlight number 4, but I’ve run out of space! 😉