Garden Luncheon at the Finns home
On 20 July this year, our UK Mercy Team, once again held their annual garden party to raise money for Mercy House. Mick and Penny Finn host the luncheon, generously offering their beautiful garden (see photo), as the venue. The function was a great success and a very generous donation was sent through with the magic of exchange rate, meaning that it multiplied by about 16! This year it was used to assist with the funding of our final year chemical engineer student, Robert, whose story is given below. Please read an abridged form of the thank you email we sent to our UK friends.
It was great joy to hear that Mick and Penny have again this year offered their beautiful garden for the venue of another annual fund-raiser, the garden party lunch. A very big thank you to you all. St Richards has been a most faithful and reliable supporter for about 22 years, through the initial instrumentality, dedication and enthusiasm of Ms Judy McGregor. It all came about in the most unexpected of ways. My brother, Dennis, who is a dentist, went to work in the UK in 1996. There, at a braai, he met Judy and Gerald, who had moved from South Africa to the UK. My brother and Gerald used to jog together in Durban and so had become friends in their very early years. Whilst chatting at the braai in 1996 Dennis mentioned that his sister had started a home for the young refugees in Johannesburg. Judy immediately said that she would like to get involved in helping. It did not take long before she got other people interested. Parish priest, Father Kieron – with David Rang – even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise as much as R40 000.00 for Mercy House! Subsequent to that they cycled to Lourdes for the same cause! Father Andrew organised two highly successful classical musical evenings… And so the ball started rolling. Since that time, the priests and parish have been marvellously supportive to the extent that Father Andrew even flew out to Johannesburg and spent one jam-packed week getting to know Mercy House. What a privilege that was.
Fr Andrew from St Richards visiting Shadadi, who came to us as an orphan
when he was 7 years old and now works as a clinical medical practitioner at
a rural hospital. Taken March 2014.
St Richards has been our main supporter over the 22 years of our existence. We are deeply grateful for this commitment and extend our sincere gratitude to all at St Richards who have helped us along our way. To quote a modern hymn: “We are pilgrims on a journey, we are brothers on the road, we are here to help each other, walk the mile and share the load.” Thank you St Richards for doing just this.
Saturday is usually a day for extra lessons, but not the 8th September. This was set aside to be “Make Mercy House Beautiful” day. The lawn was almost totally depleted due to the bitterly cold winter and lack of rain. So, we ordered slabs of grass (at considerable cost!) and replaced our whole lawn. Much picking and digging and hard work. It looks good now, (see photo) so our hard work was worthwhile. Innocentia, our Afrikaans and Zulu teacher also took the day off from teaching and got stuck into the kitchen, with the help of some of our boys and Ma B. See the action in the photo below.
Workers enjoying cleaning the kitchen
On Saturday 9 of our Mercy House scholars had the privilege of attending a Fun Day at the American International School. This was arranged by one of our co-workers, Nozizwe Ndebele, who works there. A bus came all the way from Pretoria to fetch them and bring them home. A great time was had by all, as the photos show. Ivan, a matriculant who attended wrote the following:
“Being at The American School was like being in another world. It was an environment that I am not used to. There were so many activities being done there and I found them fun. I wasn’t just going there to have fun, but to get an experience. As I would like to be a teacher one day, I learned a lot: there were children from different nationalities and cultures, who speak different languages. I learned that at the end of the day, that you have to treat all these children the same! Although there weren’t people my age, it was still fun, as I enjoy working with children and made good friends!”
We thank Nozizwe for arranging this and the American School for giving this joy to our young people.
Daniel is the youngest in a large family from the DRC. He is now 12. When he was only a few months old, it was found that he had epilepsy. This disease paralysed him before he was even one year old. The devotion of his mother, who is a single parent, and of his siblings, is simply wonderful. He is seen in the photo in a wheel chair obtained for him this October by Mrs Sharon da Silva of St Vincent’s Society, Malvern. We commend and thank her for her compassionate care and also the family, for their loving devotion to their young brother. May Daniel’s presence and suffering be a blessing to them all.
Daniel in his new wheelchair
This year two of our residents are writing matric. Ivan and Dioscor, both from Rwanda, attend Phoenix College and Dominican Convent School respectively. They have both been with us for some time. Ivan would love to be a teacher, but that involves 4 years of university study, which may be dream impossible, nevertheless, we are wondering how to access assistance for him.
Innocentia Mdaka is another of our Mercy House icons. She got to know about Mercy House on reading the Comboni Worldwide magazine in late October 2014. She asked the then provincial, Father Jeremias, how she could help. He referred her to Mercy House and since then we never looked back. Innocentia has come since 2014 to give extra lessons in Afrikaans and Zulu to our scholars, as a voluntary service, on Saturday morning, ever since then. Her humble devotion is an example to us all, while her service is invaluable. We are grateful to Innocentia and God for this blessing. Innocentia is also one of our Mercy House trustees.
Sister Clementine and Ms. Innocentia
Sister Clementine is a Holy Family Sister who got to know about Mercy House in the year 2012. She is from Lesotho, where she had her schooling with the Holy Family Sisters and subsequently joined them. Her first assignment as a sister was to work in Rwanda from 2003 to 2005. Here she learnt a great deal also about the Genocide and got to love the place and the people. So, when she heard about our work to help refugees at Mercy House, she knew that that was just the right place where she wanted to give some help. She is fluent in the Rwandese language and is greatly liked by our residents. She has been a very faithful supporter and helped in so many ways. We greatly appreciate her support and participation. She is seen in the photo with Innocentia, our Saturday morning teacher.
(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