Monday, December 15, 2008

December 15 - The Beginning of my South African life...

Hey everyone! I've been wanting to take some time to update you so heres, what I hope to be, a brief little update on events so far. My blog has long been needing an update so here is one coming at you...

Some of you may know that before I left for South Africa, I was actually having some problems obtaining a visa from the South African Consulate in Toronto. I flew off on Thursday evening but, right up until Tuesday night, I still didn't know if I would get my visa in time, before I flew. I had called the Consulate and they said that they had issued me a visa and sent it in the mail - the mail was just taking forever to actually arrive. Thankfully Debbie, my friend at the Canada Post office, was able to keep an eye open for the incoming mail and she called me the morning it came in. I really thought I would have to delay my departure if I didn't receive the visa by Wednesday morning and, guess what? I received it Wednesday morning. Just in time.
As frustrating as all of that was, it was actually pretty encouraging too. Encouraging to know that God's timing is perfect and that He has got me in the centre of it. There has been so many times already, in just the week that I've been here in South Africa, that I've thought to myself, "I am exactly where God wants me in this moment in time". On Friday I went to Mthoko's work party with him and actually ended up talking to someone about this very thing. How God set up tasks for us to do ahead of time. Exciting stuff... What has He set up for you to do?

So what can I tell you about being here so far? Where to start? Where to start? Before I get into all the detail stuff - like where I live and what I am doing, I need to tell you something that I just love about being here...

The word for bride in Zulu is "makoti" (pronounced Mah - co - tee) and when a girl gets engaged she gets a new nickname: "Makoti" or "Koti". I am loving it. I visited a friend's family and found out that my new surname, "Shange", runs in their family too so immediately, I was welcomed as one of their own. Part of their family. Their Makoti too. Its really amazing because regardless of all my differences in culture, appearance, whatever, I am family. It really makes me feel like I belong here.

To tell you a little bit about where I am living, I've got to tell you a little bit about World Changers Academy (WCA). WCA is a small org. that works to empower Zulu young people. The unemployment rate here is high - especially since lately recession has been called by most countries all across the world. It is especially high in the townships - up to 80%! - surrounding Durban (for those at home a township could be described as a ghetto but, politically speaking, are more similar to our reservations at home). Because of this high unemployment rate, what World Changers does is hugely important. And the thing is, the teaching affects people in more ways than just learning basic employment skills. Students here learn about things like Worldview, African Renaissance, Healing of the Past, Self Esteem, Peer Pressure, Relationships and the list goes on and on. So these students' lives are radically changed throughout this process and then they go out and affect their own communities. I'm tremendously proud to be a part of all of this and the people I work with are incredible too. I think its pretty rare to join an org and fall in love with every single one of my co-workers but here, it has been easy. I love them all! So, this is where I am living and working. I live with 4-5 Zulu girls, an Australian volunteer that is here until Feb, and then a pile of Zulu guys too. They are all already like family and are taking care of me like crazy.

So what do I do? Haha, I'm actually still waiting to find out more of my role here until after the Christmas holidays but, what I do know, is that here at WCA, I will be working sort of as a Staff Counsellor in the Human Resource Department. The manager here has been finding that sometimes the teachers or facilitators have 4 or 5 leaders to answer to but no one who really checks on how they are feeling or doing personally. Thats my job which is something I'm really excited to do. I'll be meeting with the facilitators on a reg. basis and also helping with staff recruitment. I will also be working with Ministry School of Excellence which is loosely connected to WCA but, I will hear more about that sometime during the holidays when I can meet with my pastor, Sizwe. I will also be doing admin work for the church that I attend here called Kingdom Life Centre.

Thats all for now. Thanks to everyone back at home who has been praying for me - the transition and building new friendships is all going great. I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be and that I've been made for being here. I am loving life.
Lots of love to you guys!
Christy Reed