Free State

Nothing can describe this outstanding landscape, It’s was so vast and wide with flat peaks peering through the horizon and the land was so empty. Endless plains stretched out before us and as we travelled beneath the almighty sky, the layers of clouds engrossed our eyes and the storms lay before us.

The storms brewed ahead of us as we entered in, great droplets hit the windscreen, our visibility slurred. Rain fell like a sheets hanging from the clouds and we were incased and untouched in the shell that drove us forward. On the other side, rainbows appeared through the clouds. We could see one end from the other, every colour so vivid and bright! And then we saw the fields glistening with dew drops, making whispy flowers glisten.

We drove further, still through the forever changing landscape. Table topped mountains and red soil lay on the ground, and that straight road ahead continued on. Times passed by, in awe we gaze into the distance, still overwhelmed by the beauty of this Free State. The time came for the sun to set and the cloud contrast to dropped.

Low cloud and darker tones surrounded us and the last trickle of light touched our faces. Night time fell and a gentle glow hovered through the atmosphere, the day left behind and the land began at rest. Somewhere in the distance there were faint glows of human life but for now the journey slowed down, leaving us full of outstanding memories of all we had seen.

The darkness came and it was time to reflect, what a privilege to travel through an untouched land, a space nature intended, pure and spectacular…


Lets Go Jozi offers a place for school children to come after school hours. There intention is to give the children a safe space to hang-out, do their homework and continue learning.

State education in South Africa is very poor and most of the children I have met at similar homework/youth projects  I have ended up teaching, rather than just assisting them with their homework.

Most of the children have a very short school day finishing at 11am. This leaves the rest of the day for the children to do whatever they please, some causing violence and other trouble. I heard from someone this week that a children got stabbed outside of the school gates by another child! These children are board and are being influenced by the streets to behave in a certain way. If Lets Go Jozi and other after school clubs weren’t in place I am sure these problems would increase! Johannesburg needs more projects like this to reduce the growing problems with School children.

It was really great to see the adults who work with the children provide a space for learning and having fun. Some of the children do there homework, others continue learning on a program called Kharn Academy, where they gain ‘energy points’ as they progress through the stages (theres certainly a bit of competition between the kids).

To give the children a break from work, Enzo (one of the youth workers) takes the kids up on the roof to play some hockey. There is a really good balance of a learning environment but also a space to have fun in to!


The Greenlight project reaches out to girls working as commercial sex workers in Diepsloot and Randburg.

The Greenlight team meet before their outreach in a building they believe to be an old brothel, but they are unsure as to whether the building is inactive at night or not! Above are one of the families that now live in the old brothel! Below is the Greenlight Team!

Girls are usually recruited and sometimes forced to work as commercial sex workers. They are particularly vulnerable due to the high rate of unemployment and lack of opportunity in the areas they live in.

Through the Greenlight project, Oasis Youth Change Agents, build relationships with these girls, train them to become peer educators and come to a place of healing and wholeness, which includes freedom from substance abuse and access to opportunities for alternative employment.  

When I was in Guatemala I saw a similar sort of thing happening with a street outreach team who seek to see street living children & youth leave the streets. The team was predominately made up of ex-street living young adults, whilst out on street outreach I saw them able to engage and meet on a level with the people living on the streets, as they once were there themselves, they got it! See the post Generate a Generation for more info on this topic.

Many have ministered effectively to hurting people because they have triumphed over their own hurts

It is tough to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped! But the most important thing is to not give up on them, because if we give up then all hope is lost. One day they may see the potential that we see in them and pick up their mat and walk away…(Generate a Generation)

The girls start conversations about sexual health with people, by introducing themselves on the streets of Randburg and Diepsloot. It was really encouraging to see the girls engaging and talking to people on the streets about sexual health, all done with a smile yet a real seriousness and importance to the outreach!

They talk about issues such as STI’s, how to use a condom, myths related to sexual issues etc…

These outreaches happen 3 days a week.

Would you?

Chicken feet are not something I’ve ever considered eating! Here in South Africa the people enjoy a well braai-ed chicken foot regularly! Some ladies asked me today if I had ever tried one, my reply was a swift “….erhhh no, are you for real?” the ladies I was with just laughed at me. We went onto to talk about all sorts of different foods they enjoy here, another being cows head! My thoughts were, well at least they don’t waste any of the meat! But I am not sure how I feel about these chicken feet…

Later on that day I was walking through a township with these ladies and they pointed out a lady preparing a bucket full of them, I went over intrigued, turned back to everyone and said “So all of you like Chicken feet?” in chorus they all said YES! Now I ask myself maybe I am missing out, everyone seems to like them, so do I need to try these chicken feet they rave about…would you?

Rainbow Kids

Rainbow Kidz is a pre-school based in the township of Grahamstown in South Africa. The drive down to Grahamstown was breathtaking as we drove through the Free State, although the drive was 10 hours long it flew by as we made our way through the beautiful African plains.

On arrival to Grahamstown I was greeted with a very English looking town. The architecture has a lot of English influence and for the first time in 4 months I felt like I was back in England! The next day we jumped in the ca,r to go and visit the Rainbow Kidz project. As we drove through the beautiful town I found it hard to imagine coming to a undeveloped part of the city, but as we drove through the streets you could see the level of poverty slowly creeping upon us.

On the hillside parallel to the road small shacks sat amongst the overcast morning and cows grazed on the sides of the road. Amongst our desaturated  surroundings the Rainbow kids pre-school sprung into our view.
We were greeted by the teachers at the school and 21 children staring back at us. As soon as I got my camera out the children came to life, laughing and enjoying a new toy, that was my camera to play with. I would take a photo then they would rush over and see the photo. I had to be very sly to capture those natural moments.

We sang songs and played with the children.The environment the teachers had created for the children was so inspiring and safe. This little hub in the community was not only a safe place for children to learn and play in but also a place of hope. Rainbow Kidz sticks out in this part of Grahamstown, it is a place of refuge and safety and is more than just a pre-school it is a building that reminds the community that they are not alone, there is great potential for relationships in the community to change through this little project.

Change Agents

I spent my first few days here in South Africa in Johannesburg with a project called Bridge the Gap. The Oasis teams hope is these young people we become ‘Change Agents’ in their community.

‘People who are committed to their own on-going development as well as that of their wider community.’

With young people between the ages of 18-25, the program explores  youth development, community development, health and other initiatives aimed at ensuring that all people have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Bridge the Gap engages with young unemployed people who are seeking to see change in themselves as well as transform their community. It is such a privilege to have been apart of this project just for a few days and see the potential that is there. I am excited about this project because it is giving opportunity to those with potential to be change agents in their communities.

The Bridge the Gap program includes:

  • Life Skills (Rhythm of Life)
  • Basic Computer Skills
  • Community Project Volunteering Opportunities

The Rhythm of Life change agent model is such an inspiring outlook at looking inside and outside of yourself.

  • Rhythm of Life: Mirror to Self
  • Plug: What gives you energy? How do you spend you time?
  • Pot: Relationships, positive & negative, influences, family, friends
  • Puzzle: Everyone has something to give
  • Tree: How are you impacting your community?
  • Clock: How do you use your resources? money, time
  • Circle: Awareness of inclusion? Circle of Inclusion
  • Health: How are you looking after yourself? spiritually, physically, health, exercise.

This model has challenged me and I have started to ask myself questions. How do I spend my time, who encourages me, who doesn’t, how am I impacting my community around me, am I looking after myself. All these things are the rhythm of life and to be affective we can’t just focus on one aspect of our life, all things work together.

‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose’ Romans 8:28

There is so much more going on than I can begin to write but this gives you a small insight into some of the work they are doing here in South Africa


‘Our vision is for community – a place where everyone is included, making a contribution and reaching their God-given potential.’ Oasis

Since the clinic opened in 2007 it has grown with support from the community, several governmental and non-governmental partners together. The project has seen significant progress in reducing the incidence of HIV, preventing AIDS and empowering people to take responsibility for their own wellness.

Today was my first visit to the clinic in Cosmo City, it was great to see a project that is so beneficial to the communities wellness and development. From talking to a few of the volunteers that help at the project, I was able to understand the huge benefits the clinic has and is having on the continual growing community.

“We believe that this comprehensive approach to community wellness would significantly improve the general well-being of our community over time.”

I was so pleased to here that a major achievement for the clinic has been the fact that there has been a 0% rate of HIV among babies whose mothers attended the antenatal clinic, this sure testifys to the effectiveness of clinical services with community based follow up.

Community Health Workers act as change agents in the health and well-being of the community, with a specific focus on HIV, antenatal care and home-based care, reaching an average of 15 000 people each year.

Unimaginable Window

Last week I visited the Rubbish dump in La Terminal. I had been told about the conditions the people and children are in, but I could never have imagined a place like this could really exist. Over this last week I have questioned whether to post these photos and tell you about the rubbish dump. I came to a conclusion.

The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength, the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God, will be all his joy and delight. He won’t judge by appearances, won’t decide on the basis of hearsay. He’ll judge the needy by what is right, render decisions on earth’s poor with justice. His words will bring everyone to awed attention. A mere breath from his lips will topple the wicked. Each morning he’ll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots, and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land. Isaiah 10

I messaged some good friends of mine earlier in the week and they gave me some advice. Through reading and praying I understood that I am a ‘messenger’, a ‘window to the world.’ I feel that it is my responsibility to tell you about the places I go to and give you any sort of chance to respond in ways you might choose. How will you ever know these desperate places exist if I don’t show you and tell you about them.

The following is what I wrote a week ago about a very desperate place!!

16th October: Rubbish is something many people I know, would not want to pick through all day everyday. Today I visited La Terminal, a place bustling with buses and people selling just about everything and anything. I went to a place where all the waste from the Terminal is dumped. As lorries of rubbish pulled up, I saw people quickly scavenging through the waste to find fruit and vegetables they could eat and plastic bottles and cartons they could recycle. At the time I couldn’t take in what was going on before my eyes, it was surreal I couldn’t believe that everyday there were people and children picking up, eating and playing amongst rubbish, this was desperation!

After 15 years of being away from the place she once lived, today Reina visited the terminal, she said the following:

It has changed a lot, it doesn’t look the same as it did before but it is still a sad place, you can’t say its got better because there are still children running about, working and suffering in the rubbish. There are still single Mums there, lots of children and maybe it’s more hidden but they are still growing up in the same environment that’s on the streets where bad words are being said and alcohol, drugs and violence is still happening.

Reina’s testimony has been videoed and is one to look out for. Her life is one I cannot begin to describe. She has the scars to show but has come out the other end a changed and transformed woman.

Many of the younger children will go to primary school but when they reach secondary school age the parents of these children cannot afford the school fee’s.  A single mother who was born on the rubbish dump and has 3 children of her own, and another on the way said the following:

My name is Carla and I have been working here for 20 years. Life on the rubbish dump is hard. It is difficult for me to express the reasons why I am here. The greatest opportunity to help my children out of this place would be the opportunity to study, that of which I didn’t have. I would like them to have an opportunity to study and to have a better life, rather than them just being around here. I don’t want this life for them, I want them to have the opportunity to study. They have done some of primary school but it has been hard to continue paying for there studies. If you asked me for anything else for my children the best thing that would help them achieve their goals would be to study.

Above  is a sweet little girl  I met  playing amongst the rubbish, she walked over to me itching her head, as she got closer I could see her hair crawling with knits! This made me so sad, I just wanted to give her a bath…(Next week I am going back with a team who will be washing and -de-knitting children’s hair!)

Alejandra who has been working with the people and children on the rubbish dump for four years below, talks about the greastest need for the people who work on the rubbish dump:

I first thought that the biggest need was to give them clothes and food but I have come to learn that more is needed than that. Many of the people express the need for education but more than anything I have found that the biggest need is the love of God because I have seen that the love of God is very powerful and can change the lives of people who are suffering.

Alejandra organises activities and there are times where we she can take children away from the atmosphere of the dump.  She says “I like to be able to have times with them where I can take them to a safe place where I can use those times to spend quality time with the children and hopefully instill in them a desire to live, work and believe in a different life.”

Generate a Generation

Tiempo Rescate (Time of Rescue)  longs to rescue street-living people and generate a generation of ex street-living people who will serve in places with the people where they have come from. The power and potential in this vision is huge….

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him,“Do you want to get well?”  “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

John 5: 6-8 – After many years, this man’s problem had become a way of life. No one had ever helped him. He had no hope of ever being healed. The man’s situation looked hopeless. But no matter how trapped, in your infirmities, God can minister to your deepest needs. Don’t let a problem or hardship cause you to lose hope! God may have a special work for you to do in spite of your condition, or even because of it. Many have ministered effectively to hurting people because they have triumphed over their own hurts.

The last bit of the paragraph above is what I want to draw your focus to. Some of those serving on the street team are young people who used to live on the streets. They were once ministered to themselves and are now helping others like their old selves.

Jorge (Left) and Manuel (Right) are good friends (Above). These boys once lived the same life and grew up together in the same children’s home. Sadly their lives are now worlds apart. Today I saw Jorge ministering to Manuel who is still living on the streets. Unlike myself Jorge knew exactly what position Manuel is in and how he is feeling, because he himself has been there. He gets it! Jorge has beaten the streets and is now using his past hurts to effectively help those who are in the position he once was in.

‘Many have ministered effectively to hurting people because they have triumphed over their own hurts.’

Jorge and Cesar bandaging up Manuel’s bad knee…

It is tough to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped! But the most important thing is to not give up on them, because if we give up then all hope is lost… One day they may see the potential that we see in them and pick up their mat and walk away from the streets…

For more about the street work Tiempo Rescate to please read this blog post: ‘Walking away from Loyalty’