Tuesday, June 24, 2008
After a two-day flight, 41 US Service International volunteers landed at the Nelspruit airport near the border between
South Africa and Mozambique. Not only had these men, women, and young people brought suitcases and cameras, they also brought ZUBA! (that's Siswati
dialect for JUMP! — our fun summer day camp). The second leg of their journey, a one-and-a-half-hour drive, took the team to Kamatipoort, South Africa,
where they would be staying the next four days.
This outreach to the children of South Africa was originally set up to be a famine relief mission, but when SI learned that proper food storage
is not feasible in the region, it was decided to provide hot meals every day, served up with music, laughter, and the spirit of love.
The first day after their arrival, the team built a large stage and set up games and tents for the two-day ZUBA! festivities. And then the children
came800 of them each dayon foot from nearby towns and villages and by the busload from outlying regions. Their smiles of delight were a joy to see.
The kids loved making simple crafts, playing games for toy prizes, jumping in the inflatable castles, having their faces painted, and happily clapping along with
the singing and dancing on stage.
And when it was time to eat, those hungry little ones did just that! They filled their tummies with delicious hot foodas much as they could eat. At the end of the day,
one little girl was seen tightly clutching a small piece of chicken to take with her on the bus ride home. For children living in this poor, AIDSravaged region, good fun
and nutritious food are scarce.
On Saturday, the team traveled to the tiny town of Orlando, where they walked door-to-door to personally invite everyone to come to lunch and a tent meeting. Gathering in a big tent
would be a novelty for the villagers. All the buildings and houses are so small that the people don't usually have the opportunity to meet together in one place.
The Orlando Outreach drew 1500 adults and children to the Gospel meeting and a hot meal. Pastor Jeff Perrywith the help of Muzi, SI's interpreterencouraged everyone with the Word of God, and
SI volunteers served music and lunch. To this day, the meetings continue under the big tent in Orlando.
Finally, it was time to say goodbye to South Africa. Part of the team returned to the states, and the remaining twenty-three flew on to Kosovo to join other SI volunteers to present KERCE! (JUMP!) to the
eager Kosovar children. Stay tuned for an update from Kosovo!
A Special Thank You
Service International extends a sincere thank you to Michelle Flemix and her family; Ann Marie and Jontee Praetorius, owners of the Acasia Guest Lodge; and Di and Clive Babb, directors of Music for Life.
Your hospitality and support are greatly appreciated. The ZUBA! project could not have happened so quickly or so successfully without you!
How You Can Get Involved
You can be part of SI's continuing work in South Africaby making a donation to Service International or going on a future trip to South Africa. Simply send us an email
or give us a call (636.532.9008).