Saturday, February 25, 2012


Hlanganani Mentoring Meeting with our "dream spoons"   February 24, 2012

Today I spent the morning at Plot 1, our friend, Petros’s place where he hosts Mother Touch Academy Pre-school for kids living in Diepsloot and surrounding areas. Petros let us use the property for a meeting that has been in the works for about a month: one between a group of teen girls and a group of ladies ready to come alongside of them.  

 Like many ventures, the Hlanganani Girl’s mentoring program began with prayer.  We all prayed how to begin meeting with the pre-teens and teens girls of our church’s front-lined ministry, Hlanganani.  What we wanted to do was simply  to connect, perchance to build something meaningful.  After all, all of us believe that most “building” in the Kingdom of God is done bit by precious bit...just one friendship at a time. 
There are few things I say yes to, at the spur of the moment.  My plate is not only full of activity, but it is contingent upon what will happen next.  So, when I said yes to involvement in this new program, I was really giving into my heart – it was all part of what I had already been doing: building up the Hlanganani orphans. 

My new friend, Beth (whose ways are so pleasant, she seems to attract support) was leading the group of volunteers, so it made it easier to commit.   Also joining the team to help was my friends Leigh (a nurse, who we realized had so much in common with the girls, being from KZN), Eve (who I call Vi, a close friend), Mirriro (Mine and Eve’s friend and young firecracker) , Nonlandla ( an administrator at local clinic, Witkoppen) and Pamela (you may have read about her in previous posts – a star and a young girl herself from Diepsloot).  Of course, there was also me....along to learn as much as I could.

We prayed that the right girls would come, all ones enrolled in the Hlanganani program.  Begun about the same time we landed here in South Africa, Hlanganani (Zulu for “get together”) was designed to aid widows and orphans in a time of need.  The program was also designed to help people who were no longer able to care for themselves, dying of HIV/AIDS in the township. 

The girls that are enrolled in the Hlanganani mentoring program are without their parents... and range from ages 12 to 23, and all are in need of positive role models.  They came, today (like we did) not knowing what to expect.  In the end, we all learned something about each other. 

Besides serving hot dogs and cake, we all just “hung out”...remember that?  The way we all got to know each other in the teenage-ness of it all.  Hanging out, being together.  Seeing who responded to what and who talked and who didn’t. 

Cake was served, and most ate two slices...and they loved it, which made me feel good because I made it.  In the end, we did a small project where we decorated wooden spoons with our names and our dreams.
To hear the slices of hearts, the dreams we all have...everything from what we want to do with our lives to what kind of car we will drive was discussed, and we all laughed together and encouraged one another. 

When all was said and done, my gentle friend, Beth, had us all pray in a circle and I took pictures, not knowing how else I should capture the coolness of it all. 

I have never been drawn to working with teens, and I admit I was a bit apprehensive.  What today turned into was a time to unfold our hearts in front of each other and show ourselves from the inside out.  Our dreams, there in black and white, written on wooden spoons, showed that the precious mattered to all of us.  We exchanged spoons, as well, promising to pray for one another’s’ dreams. 

Looking back, it was wonderful.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.  

Laughing over cake...