When Given* was three years old, her parents divorced. Given’s mother then took her five children to live with their grandmother. Sadly, life continued to be a struggle and providing the most basic necessities was a challenge. Eventually, Given’s mother, overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring and providing for her children, ran away, leaving her children under the care of their ageing grandmother.
Abel* is 15 years old and has never known his parents. Abandoned as a baby, he was left on a railway track, helpless and alone. By the grace of God, an older couple, the Bandas, found Abel and took him into their home, where he has lived ever since. Although they were kind enough to rescue Abel, the Bandas themselves live in extreme poverty and have had difficulty in providing for all of the household's needs.
Last Friday we had the monthly Hands on Deck meeting here at the hub. This is when news and updates from individuals and communities are shared. George had just returned from a brief trip to the new communities Hands is supporting in Swaziland. The drought has hit these communities very badly, with many children forced to drink water from a stagnant pool where cattle also drink.
David and Jane Newsome are currently serving as long term volunteers for Hands at Work in South Africa. Read below to find out how they're getting on:
We are all really excited that It's now under a week until our Hands at Work gathering. We will be meeting at St. Luke's Church, St Albans on the 28th November 10am-4pm. Before Saturday we ask that you do two things:
Firstly, we are planning on doing a bring and share lunch. Can we ask that you all bring a sweet or savoury dish to share please.
Secondly, please RSVP...
Secondly if you haven't already can you RSVP using the link below.
We look forward to seeing you all there.
We are really looking forward to seeing you all there.
Firstly can we ask a favour...
If you know anyone who you think this event might be of interest to, please do invite them.
Secondly, please RSVP...
Although it's an informal event and you don't need to pre-book your seat, it's still really helpful for our planning to know rough numbers. Could you please take 10 minutes to let us know how many will be coming in your group by registering for the event on the link below:
Exciting news! On Saturday 28th November from 10am until around 4pm you are invited to a Hands at Work gathering.
It will be hosted in St Albans (it's the same location as last year if you came.)
The format will be a bit different to last year but will cover:
What's happened in Africa this year
What's happened in the UK this year, including progress against 1,2,3,4
A chance to learn more about Partnerships and how we want these to develop.
A look ahead to the challenges set for 2016.
In the afternoon we plan to run informal workshop sessions for those interested in:
Volunteering in Africa for a year - or those who might want to challenge a friend or family member to step out.
Those leading a team or going on team visits
Probably one on partnership for those who are looking to help their partnership go deeper or are interested in a new partnership.
We're relaxed on the details, particularly the workshops. We'll respond to the needs of people attending to make sure it's valuable.
We'll also sing, pray and enjoy some good coffee and excellent cakes.
If none of the Hands stuff appeals, then come for the cakes!
We'll send some more information out as we run up to the event. In the meantime can I please ask you to extend personal invites to people you know who this might appeal to.
A team from Biggleswade traveled to South Africa with Hands at Work in the summer. Now they have returned they want to share their reflections from their trip:
I sit here with bags under my eyes, blisters on both hands and feet and apparently aged by at least 7 years (even without the beard!) Whilst my body and mind is definitely feeling the strain I have to say I have had some of the best times and am feeling immensely proud of every one of the 8 young people who signed up for this adventure.
Are you interested in going with a team to Hands at Work? Why not read below a blog from one of our teams who are currently in South Africa. Remember that every day is different!
Richard Westwood and his team of school children and teachers have arrived safely in South Africa. Below are some of their reflections so far from their blog: Link for Life with Children & Care Volunteers at Siyathuthuka
My name is Alison Dilley and, as well as seven others, I attend the church of St Andrews Biggleswade and belong to the youth group called The Room. I have recently finished my A-Levels in Geography, English and Psychology and have applied to read English at university in the September of 2015.
I think and hope that our team are in good shape to give of themselves and learn from the people we will meet. It’s exciting and daunting all at the same time, it costs a lot and the preparation has been going on for months –so why are we doing it?
Have you got an event for Hands at Work coming up that you would like to promote? We'd love to advertise it on our website and Hands at Work UK Facebook page. Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For the past 3 years, St Albans Abbey have given Hands at Work a very generous gift from their missions giving support to our work in Swaziland. We would like to thank all those who fund raised.
'We look back and say we were at our happiest when we literally had nothing." There were three waves of the AIDS pandemic. The first wave was when people got infected, called the invisible wave. The second wave was when thousands of people started dying. The third wave is what Hands at Work is involved in now, caring for the orphans that were left behind.
Although this was our third stay with Nomsa it was our first visit to the new centre in Kaphunga, Swaziland and we were concerned to see how dirty and ragged the children were. One of the cooks commented to a young boy about the state of his clothes and he replied that he had no more soap.
On one of the hills overlooking the community there is a full size labyrinth, marked out with slate, the narrow pathways filled with gritty sand. The idea is to walk the labyrinth slowly, following the paths that lead almost to the centre but not quite, then almost back to where you started but not quite, until eventually, with perseverance and patience, you reach the centre. It is a way of slowing down, of centring prayer,and of praying with mind and body.
This year, Heather and I had the opportunity to spend three and a half weeks in Africa, split between Kachele Farm in Zambia and the Hub in South Africa. From a personal point of view, we felt this was much needed as it gave us a chance to 'be' rather than to 'do', and also re-charge our own batteries.
he following provides some stories of transformation taken from the second visit (July 22 to August9). Both visits focussed particularly on the charity Hands@Work but included making connections with Mercy Air and Baby Bear.