Today we split into two different groups for the morning of Mandela Day. Four of us spent our morning with a group of children from Elim at the Old Age Home. Upon arriving at the home we were overcome with how many people/groups from the community were there to lend a helping hand. Part of the calling for Mandela Day is that South Africans (and now people in all nations) help change the world positively by serving others on this day for 67 minutes to help honor Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of fighting for social justice. Groups of children caring for the elderly and sick with wonderful foot and hand massages, while our group helped with the elderly, including quite an exciting time learning how to make Africa’s fish and rice dish.
There were plenty of gifts for the elderly and we finished our day there with lively African song and dance. Seeing such an abundance of love and compassion these young individuals have was amazing.
We then met up with the rest of the group at Ditshego, where Mandela Day was also in full swing. Not only was Mandela Day being celebrated, but also the 10 year anniversary of the Ditshego school.
The Ditshego ceremony began with a powerful story of how the Westview Methodist church in South Africa started its work with Ditshego, which is a school located within an informal settlement community formed within the city dump, known as Mooiplaas. Ditshego was inspired by 113:7, which says: “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap.” A church member saw a smoldering dump with families living of it and God put this verse on her heart. Resurrection would also later join this quest. Because of the vision this church member had, now there is hope–much hope.
Within the last 10 years, the school has grown from a handful of children to over 300. Many touching speeches were given by church leader and Ditshego leaders, teachers and students. One of the last tributes was from a small boy who stood in front of his 300 student peers and all the teachers and guests and said, “We are all meant to shine. God put His light in each of us.”
It was now time for all kids to celebrate with games, face painting, balloons and more. We had the balloon animals and tattoo station, which was a big hit with the kids. All the kids returned to the main area for sponsor recognition, including Resurrection, and an awesome puppet show. We then helped wrap up the day at Ditshego, as the kids received dessert and gift bags–what a celebration–the kids were all smiles!
To finish off our day, half our group attended a Westview Methodist home group. We all joined in scripture readings and fellowshipped over a fabulous dinner of bull tongue soup and Malva pudding for dessert. A rewarding and enriching day–God is good!