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This is a text-only version of an article first published on Thursday, 18 July 2013. Information shown on this page may no longer be current.

Two members of the Diocesan Kimberley and Kuruman Committee, Maranda St John Nicolle and Anne Morse, are currently in Kimberley and Kuruman. Diary from their first few days:The Kindness of StrangersIt was an immense relief that on arrival in Johannesburg I was able to get in contact with Maranda.

Until that moment I did not know how we would actually get to Kimberley.

Indeed it turned out to be an "interesting" journey.

We met face to face in the bus station at Pretoria but since it was the last weekend of the school holidays everything was heavily booked.

However Maranda's intricate knowledge of public transport in SA saved the day and after a couple of false starts and a round trip on Gautrain we found seats on the late Intercape coach to Bloemfontain, where the B&B stayed up for us until after midnight. My overriding impression was of the kindness of strangers.

For me that really started in Maputo, my second transfer point but there is no transit area in Maputo.

However what seemed a problem was resolved by the kindness of the Chief Immigration Officer who arranged for me to stay in his office accompanied by a female officer who suddenly asked to stay instead of going home that night. I was overwhelmed by this generosity. In Johannesburg so many times a similar spirit of simple thoughtfulness was shown to us by many different people.

The boys in the coffee shop at Pretoria where Maranda and I discussed our options and made a plan, the young man behind me on the broken down escalator on Park West station, who carried my case.

The friendly ladies in the pizza shop where we had lunch.

The charming waiter in the hotel where Maranda treated us to proper afternoon tea before the late night coach journey to Bloemfontain"; the porter at the hotel who carried a case and then the hotel taxi driver who drove us to the station so that we did not have to carry our bags; the smiling and gentle manager of the B&B in Bloemfontain who greeted us in the small hours of Monday morning, the spacious room hot water shower warm blankets and a hot water bottle what more could we desire after such an eventful and colourful day.

Thank you Lord for your love shown through the kindness of strangers."whatever you do for these you do for me"Monday 15 July 2013My first view of Kimberley from the coach gives me a glimpse of wide roads and at this early hour few cars. I immediately recognise St Cyprians with the red brick Gothic style, it looks bigger than imagined from the pictures I have seen.

A short taxi ride takes us from the coach station to Church House.

What a charming house with it's shady verandah and lemon trees in the garden.

The welcome from Gail in reception is warm and immediate and also from Patti who organises tea and after hugs and kisses.

It feels so much like safely coming home.

Soon afterwards Carole arrives with more hugs and kisses, I feel welcome and relax as the chatter takes over. My first opportunity to meet Father Simon, confirms my impression of a smiling man with a sense of humour and one who has accepted the challenge that comes with two ladies from Oxford with a full and tight schedule. Father Simon is the supreme host and companion, a mine of information, a splendid cook and a man of exceptional patience and hospitality. Father Simon drives us to get some hand bound notebooks, suitable for gifts to take to Hope for the Living Green Team that he knows an be bought at the Africana Library.

Books duly purchased we are offered a tour by a volunteer Peter Henwick.

It is a fascinating glimpse into a priceless collection of books and memorabilia as well as a chance to see this lovely old building. A quick visit to the Big Hole village to the bookbinder who makes the notebooks to see if we can buy a few more gives me the chance to see more of Kimberley. A few more books purchased, but we still need more and the delightful lady agrees to make a couple more for collection later in the afternoon,Lunch with Carole helps to fill in some general background and gives me the chance to see what an able and committed person she is.

A great strength at Church House.

Carole graciously includes me in the discussions and I begin to feel more confident about what my being here means. Time to return to the bookbinder to collect the two additional notebooks and order more for both Miranda and me to take home and which will be collected on our return following the road trip.

Father Simon needs to call into the cathedral so that is my first chance to see the beautiful space and peace of St Cyprian's and in the silence to thank God for holding both Maranda and me safe on our journey, for the companionship we have that grows every minute and for his Grace in bringing me to this place. As the late evening sun paints Kimberley a soft pink glow we drive to our home for the next four days and spend the evening in happy company sharing a splendid meal prepared by Father Simon in front of the cosy log fire.

All is well and tomorrow starts my journey of discovery.

I pray that I will look but see with God's eyes and hear but listen with God's ears. Sharing and fellowship and hospitalityTuesday 16 July 2013RoodepanHope for the LivingThe Green Team. Hope AfricaSuch an amazing day, so much seen heard and felt.

Trying to sort out the good the tragic the emotion and the overwhelming positives. Gloria, Renisha, Sarah, Susan all in the kitchen, again such a warm welcome, for Maranda whose is clearly rememered but also for me as a first time visitor.

I immediately warm to them all and as we talk over the hours we are there I recognise the strength and ability of Gloria, her total commitment her true Christian spirit and love for God and her Kingdom values.

Renisha spend hours skinning and jointing the chicken, potatoes are peeled and boiling , curry and ginger added and the recipe with vegetables and herbs comes together.

The Green Team share the task of explaining what happens each Tuesday and Thursday preparing to feed 70 children and a dozen helpers.

The supply of fresh vegetables is an important part of the Team's activity so we visit the large vegetable garden.

At this time of year only a few areas are planted, carrots, impressive beetroots with a patch of coriander are growing but soon they will be planting the new seeds. Water is a problem as the result of pipe replacements the water supply has been erratic, the water and power supply going off without warning which seriously disrupts the work and threatens the crop.

It seems this is occurring all over the Kimberley area and is likely to continue for some time to come. It is I think important that we understand such limitations.

Back in the kitchenand things are reaching an important point.

Susan and Sarah take me on a short tour of Roodepan to visit some of the families that benefit from Hope for the Living.

Everyone I met invited me into their home with joy.


Page last updated: Thursday 18th July 2013 12:00 AM
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