Diogen moved into Mercy House on the 8th of June. He comes from northern DRC. His mother and father were both teachers and he taught as well. A few years back Mai Mai rebels invaded their area, killing his mother. He and his sister lived on with their father. Early this year the rebels returned. This time they were about to rape his young sister when his father ran to defend her. They then brutally killed him and burnt his body. Then, after raping his sister they killed her as well. Diogen managed to escape and made his way to South Africa, having to sell his clothing on the way, to get money for food. At the border, he was arrested for having no papers and had to spend a whole month in jail until a court ruled that he should be taken to Home Affairs and get a permit. What a journey!
Our newcomer Diogen
We are proud and happy to have the privilege of assisting him. Diogen is really happy at Mercy House where he got a warm welcome and he is now learning English. He remarked: “I was grieved at having lost my whole family, but God has given me another one…” So to all our supporters: see how you are helping humanity in the person of this grieved young man, and given him hope. My he and you be richly blessed.
(from right to left) Fernanda and some of the Saint Vincent de Paul Youth
Thanks to Sharon, her co-worker Fernanda, and the Malvern Saint Vincent de Paul Youth (see photo below), a very joyful and fun-filled celebration was held at Mercy House on Youth Day, 16th June. It was originally planned as a picnic at the park, but since it was a very cold winter’s day with an extremely cold wind, we stayed at Mercy House instead. And what fun! After a delicious lunch, the young people played the games which the Malvern Youth had brought. There was much laughter and enjoyment, and we owe a huge big thank you to our friends who organised it. May you be blessed! It was a wonderful experience of the fact that everyone of us can be a blessing for others!
(from left to right) Fleury, a recent arrival from Burundi, with Rwandese Dioscor, enjoying their lunch
Our Fleury with the host students
On the 23rd February, some of our young scholars were invited to the American International School in Pretoria, to share their experiences with their peers, on life as a refugee. The American school caters for children of diplomats, so it was a very enriching experience, meeting young people from all over the world, and who, of course, lead a very different life from our young refugees. Our hosts were so open to learning about life on the other side of the line. Then the next week, they paid a reciprocal visit to Mercy House, where they could see where we live and meet more of our young people. We thank our co-worker, Nozizwe Ndebele, who works at the school and arranged the whole enriching exercise. The photo shows our Fleury with the host students at the American International School when we visited them.
On 17 March the young people of the St Vincent de Paul in Malvern paid their annual visit to Mercy House. For a change, this time they gave us a braai! It was a wonderful occasion, not just for this reason, but also because this time they brought games to play with our young people which made it so much more enjoyable.
(second from the right) Merina with her mother, Fernanda, and some of our Mercy House residents at the braai
We thank especially Sharon da Silva and Fernanda (second from the right in the photo) who organised the whole occasion, not to mention the young people who came to give us joy.
Danny playing games with some of the Malvern Youth
Merina and Sara
The other accompanying photo shows Merina who loves our children, with Sara.
On the last weekend of April, we had 2 “We Love Mercy House” days. THE GARDEN AND DRIVEWAY WALLS WERE LOOKING VERY SHABBY. Instead of hiring builders we did it ourselves and it proved to be great fun. One resident, who was working as a builder in Sudan before he came to us, directed operations to make the place truly beautiful. AND WE FINISHED JUST ON TIME for our Holy Mass on 1 May.
Everyone worked together joyfully and enjoyed creating “Something Beautiful for God.”
(from left to right) Eddie, Donation, Douglas and Father Rafael
After our New Year’s Mass in January we were privileged to have 2 more Masses in this half year, on the 21st March, and 1st May, both public holidays. Our Masses always have a very personal and unique ambience and everyone senses it. We are hugely privileged to have the Comboni Fathers offer our Masses. In the accompanying photo, we see Eddie, Donation and Douglas with Father Rafael, a young Comboni Father from Spain. He currently is in charge of a large pastoral centre on Mpumalanga, named Maria Trost. He happened to be visiting Johannesburg for the weekend, to our great joy and benefit.
Importing and selling peanuts
It was a great joy for us to be able to obtain from a donor some funding to assist two of our refugees to get small businesses going in recent months. The one is importing and selling peanuts. The second one is barber shop. It is so admirable and encouraging to see our young people, with very difficult backgrounds, rising to the challenge of making a success of their lives – being creative rather than acceding to despondency or hopelessness. We thank our anonymous sponsor and wish our young men well with their admirable endeavours. So anyone wanting fresh unsalted peanuts, you know where to come! And a hair cut? Well, sorry, you may have to travel too far!