We started the year with another marvelous time of fellowship at Bonginkosi in Sweetwaters (a township on the north-western outskirts of Pietermaritzburg). Bonginkosi is our community transformation project, largely for food relief to the elderly and the unemployed, with an element of promoting food and clothing security through gardening and sewing by providing them with seed and material.

The church premises was packed with the Bonginkosi community members all seated, ready and waiting for AESA staff and volunteers to arrive (the excess crowd standing against the walls and just outside the main entrance). We have much to learn from them – they never seem flustered, hurried, irritable or impatient! Linda Grant (an AESA Board member who works in close liaison with our Community Worker Londeka Gasa) thanked community members for their example of patience.

Several of the Bonginkosi folk showed us the lovely items they had made from the fabric and ties we had given them in earlier months; whilst another dear old lady brought us some of the beans she had harvested from the seeds we had given them.

Advancing food security is one of our goals. Londeka is also keen to do some training in a couple of fields – possibly home-based care and housekeeping with younger family members of the Bonginkosi folk – they’re very enthusiastic about this too. Another goal for us to follow through with. The folk were very thankful too for the food items of porridge, powdered milk and fruit, and as well as fabric for the sewing ladies.

There is a great rapport between ourselves and the Bonginkosi community – a genuine openness and trust and a real sense of appreciation and gratitude for the messages shared, our relationships and efforts, and the goods brought.

And that’s all the SWEET…now for the BITTER!

Siyanda Gumede (African Enterprise’s Foxfire Coordinator) shared a powerful message about how often we fool ourselves that we have time on earth (Luke 12:18-20) – you could have heard a pin drop! Afterward, one of the elderly ladies, gogo Beauty Zuma, stood up to commend young Siyanda and to reinforce his message by sharing her testimony about walking with Jesus and the importance of making the decision to accept Christ and let go ‘of the old life.’

gogo Beauty Zuma responding to Siyanda’s message

Gogo Beauty later showed off her creative skills when she had Londeka (AESA Community Worker) sport a pink sleeveless jersey which she (gogo Beauty) had made.

We were shocked and saddened to learn of gogo Beauty’s passing only six (6) days after this recent engagement with her. It is somewhat prophetic then, that she shared her testimony and echoed the message of the folly of thinking we have plenty of time; then almost immediately demonstrated this folly through her sudden death. Rest eternal grant unto gogo Beauty, O Lord! Our time belongs to God. Every moment is His.

‘Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’ Psalm 90:12

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