A Credo for the Year’s Shortest Day

These words ring true if we stand still for a moment, reflect, take a deep breath, then carry on.

 

Metaphor

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.

– Robert Fulghum

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Showing off

CareSA Designs had a lovely experience showing off all its crochet craft at the five day Kwa Zulu Natal Christmas Craft Market this December.

In the spirit of entrepreneurship more than 150 traders gathered at the City Hill Church auditorium in Hillcrest to show off their creations and hard work done during the course of 2016.   Certainly a work ethic is being developed to combat poverty.

As I quietly observed the people and their displays for progress I could not help ‘seeing’ an informal economic pillar being built for a better future.   Yes, not all will make the businessman or woman of the year, but there is resilience and resolve, and if perseverance is thrown in with good measure, it could make a small dent in poverty, and lay a foundation for a better future.

Entrepreneuring runs on Hope, develops imagination – where anything is possible – builds a necessary work ethic, releases expression and God given creative potential.

The other side of the coin however is getting to know the nuts and bolts of running a successful business.  This is another story altogether, yet has to be embraced by the budding entrepreneur,  if good  lasting results are to be obtained.  So the next phase would be to get business savvy, and look for mentors willing to take a walk with ‘the future economic builders’.   It may be a long walk, but a start has been made, and as they say … Rome was not built in a day.

Have a look at some of the 2016  CareSA Designs crochet craft range that was on sale at the Christmas Market this year, and feel free to leave a comment or two on new additions, improvements, or add some new ideas for developing a small enterprise.

All it takes is some pretty yarns, hooks, needles maybe a button or two and a little imagination to make a happy hobby – that one day will grow into a budding enterprise.

Here’s to diligence and to hope, and may the work of our hands prosper.

GIVE, its good mental health.

blue-river

Let your life be a river not a swamp

Like the pages of a book in a gentle breezy wind the months just seem to flip over.
I had intended to write on good mental health for the month of October, but it slipped my mind !! – and October came and went almost unnoticed.

So I am playing catch up, and want to share a few simple thoughts on good mental health.

Let your life be a river not a swamp,
Give, its good mental health.

stars

When stars stop emitting light, gravity sucks them in, and they become a black hole !!
So keep on shining, keep on giving… its good mental health.

Give of yourself…. little deeds of kindness, makes the world a better place.
Give of your finances ….  it breeds generosity in you, and in others.
Give of your personality …. and share your sense of humour, share your opinion, your smile – and best of all share your presence.

Let your life be a river,  not a swamp that is stale and stagnant, a place where crocodiles lurk !

Give, its good mental health.

brown-swamp

Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.

For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.   Luke 6:38

Give, and it will let your cup run over with  JOY, ….  and thats good mental health !!

cup-running-over

Parallel Dreams

 

Unused fields could yield plenty of food for the poor, but unjust men keep them from being farmed.  –  Proverbs 13:23

It never ceases to amaze me how God connects people together.

I met Isabel, well in fact I haven’t actually met Isabel, we have just spoken over the phone. Isabel and I have a  mutual connection through a friend who has similar interests in faraway places,  particularly  in Africa, specifically in Zimbabwe.  Isabel comes from  Zimbabwe but now lives in Benoni, South Africa.

When we spoke Isabel told me of her dream to establish a care centre in Zimbabwe.  She has a compassionate heart for the Grannies who look after the Aids orphans in her district.
And she has land that can be used for this dream.

She is connected to a stream of transporters who taxi goods to and from Zimbabwe – as Zimbabwe is a land in dire crisis.   I managed to parcel a few things up for her in her plight to help the people in distress there.   I apologised for the feeble futility of my donation and got a polite scolding as she said that nothing nothing is to small to send to Zimbabwe.  There is so much hunger and poverty and hardship there.  The people are suffering under a tyrannical ruler, and the crippling drought has aggravated the living conditions to Unbearable status !!

I told her of my dream for a Care Africa movement that could help Africa feed itself through care gardens.   I had included some veggie seeds in the parcel I had sent to her.
On her return from a visit to Zim she sent me these photos of the gardens her brother grows.  He has given the seeds to one or two families to encourage them to grow food – even if only in car tyres to start with, as water is scarce.   I suggested : “even have a little competition with the reward of a food care bag for those willing to start their own food gardens ?”     She will find out from her brother if this is a good idea.

Perhaps our dreams will roll out separately – yet together ?   Parallel dreams if you will ?  Isabel is one of those people who unwittingly makes a big difference to many lives, in this instance even to a country,  needing the attention of those who care for people in need. I stand amazed at the difference one person can make !
May all our dreams come true.

Green Africa map

Plant a garden in your yard
Plant a garden in your heart.

HOPE TRADERS

A quote I once read said this “leaders are dealers in hope.”

Well, what follows is the result of about two years’ meetings with community workers –  that there makes them leaders in themselves. Ladies who faithfully and diligently go into the poorest of communities to encourage and uplift people who are in dire poverty.  The contrasts in our communities are vast, and the outlaying communities from our cities are the worst off financially and materially –  yet so rich in community life.

In an endeavour to develop community crafting skills as a means to alleviate poverty these women have been meeting to seek out a practical plan or model for entrepreneurship.
The following writing is perhaps but one version of an expected final document that can capture the concept of   caring through community entrepreneurship.

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THE  HOPE  TRADERS  CO-OPERATIVE
–    Traders in Hope   –

Hope gives a future.

When the Non Profit Organisations came together through Durban’s Soul Action Network, a vision began to birth to capture entrepreneurship as a way to aid the alleviation of poverty among clients of their organisations. In 2012 the Hope Christmas Market saw the light of day and has since become a very successful annual event, complementing an entrepreneurial mind-set for community development.

Emerging from this initiative was a gathering of community workers who formed an Entrepreneurial Development Focus Group, who have been meeting for the past two years to establish a realistic and practical plan for entrepreneurial development for the local crafting communities.

The Hope Traders Co-Operative  writing is but one draft, that may take the task forward, through the following prospect.

To develop and promote  community entreprenuership, –  and advance Durban’s profile as a favourite tourism destination, – by establishing an unique retail space where creative displays of local craftsmanship  will attract visitors and revenue from the international and South African tourist industry, – and expose creative Crafters and their stories, to a global market, and Durban as a caring city.

Vision:

  • Create an unique tourist attraction for prospective visitors and investors to the city.
  • Establish an unique retail space to showcase local Crafters and their products.
  • Connect the consumer and producer through use of story/multimedia/experience.
  • Promote Entrepreneurship through creative collaboration in Durban and wider communities.

Mission:

  • To identify, celebrate and nurture the creative potential within communities.
  • To attract revenue from the tourist and local trade toward sustainable living for Crafters and their communities.
  • To facilitate opportunities for entrepreneurial and community development.
  • To act as a catalyst to integrate cultures.
  • To weave community caring into the fabric of the Durban society, and its city image.
  • To encourage and educate the South African public to buy local South African products.

Conclusion:

In South Africa we live in a society where the “resources” of its various members have the potential to – and yet do not always – address various forms of cognitive, physical, social and emotional poverty. (Phil Bowyer, Soul Action Durban)

If,  with the tools of our rich diverse cultures, community caring, crafting skills and imagination, we can harness a personal work ethic, through Entrepreneurship, there is no reason we cannot take on the mind-set of … “from poverty to progress“,  and contribute to an emerging informal economic pillar for a prosperous South Africa – that benefits all.

Durban’s best.
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LOOKING FOR … KINDNESS

 

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Philosophically speaking : I was reminded today of what progress means.
It is  Think, Expect and Do – or conception, pregnancy, birth.   In other words  the seed, the gestation and then the manifestation. This hopefully followed by growth –  which can take on its own directions and distractions. And in between each phase there is time, and plenty of it, and that only because of the grace of God.
This may well be the pathway of development and progress, which can be applied to many levels of life, not only social development or the faith life.   What is required is Patience.
But that is not what I am looking for today.  I am putting out onto the Blogosphere the challenge for Kindness through:  The Kids of Africa Campaign.

However, console yourself and keep this formula in mind when you consider your unfulfilled dreams, unfinished tasks, or purely if you are a procrastinator of note,  take heart you now may have the excuse, the pattern, or  even the reason for the delay !

I have said all that to say this….these are the thoughts I was entertaining for not forging ahead with my writing project on The Fruit Basket.  A random writing series of “LOOKING FOR  ….” the virtues of the good life found in Galatians 5:22.    So today I resume my search, but with an edge of practicality, and being an unashamed opportunist, want to include it in the challenge  of the Kids of Africa  Campaign,  with the hope that it will unleash a flood of  kindness to and from all kinds of communities.
Here is the challenge – creating caring communities through kindness and crafting.

     THE  KIDS  OF  AFRICA  CAMPAIGN
Africa is a rich continent, not only in minerals, but in humanity too.   To draw on this wealth we need to mine, not only the gold and silver, but also the huge deposits of goodness and kindness lying within our own hearts.
Join this simple campaign for Kindness by knitting a beanie or two…or three, for the Kids of Africa.

50103329.jpg Kids of Africa.jpg

The intention is to create caring communities through Crafting – whether it be knitting or crocheting.  Communities, especially the Women, the Young ones, the Amazing Gogos (Grandmothers) and all those in between, crafting for the Kids and teaching Kids to craft for the Elderly and Disabled in their communities  –   perhaps even grow veggie gardens too, to blend in with the Care Africa movement project.
Begin by knitting beanies, preferably in red,  but any colour will do, and then distributing them in  your own local community.
If you want, you may send a photo of yourself and your community to this email
 info@caresacommunity.net and it will be posted on the  Blog just to show that Africa cares.
This is an initiative of the CareSA Community Network, a campaign against poverty, a campaign for kindness, and for communities to progress.

BEANIE  PATTERN 
With Double Knitting wool, and size 4 mm or 4.5mm knitting needles
Cast on 90  stitches for the Kids beanie.
First Row Rib :  Kl, P2,  to end of row
Second Row   :   P2, K1,  to end of row
Change to no.  4.5mm or 5 mm knitting needle and
Continue until work measures 24 centimeters.

Shape Top of Beanie
Next Row  :  P1  (K1,  P2 together)  –  repeat to end.
Next Row  :  Purl.
Next Row  :  K 2 together to end.
Next Row  :  Purl to end
Next Row  :  K2 together to end.
Next Row  :  Purl two together to end.
Leave a length, and break yarn.
Thread twice through remaining stitches.
Draw up tightly and fasten off.
Stitch back seam neatly together.

Adult size Beanie :   Cast on 100 stitches
Rib until work measures 30 cms.
Continue to shape top.

Enjoy creating … and teach others to be kind through crafting. 
Blessed are those who consider the poor.   Psalm 41:1

07032011036.jpg                                                                         Happy  crafting !

Care Africa

Green Africa map

Life is made up of small things.
Everything you do matters.

Africa is a big continent.  It is a block of land that captures you.  Whether you are in the north or in the south of it it will lay claim to a corner of your heart.   I have heard of South Africans who leave Africa for more appealing shores, but often, very often have the yearning to come home again.   Its challenges, its diversities and its humanities, is like a magnet that draws all kinds of human emotions from the heart that has at its roots the most scary and at the same time the most amazing appeal.   Or perhaps, for me, its just home.
Famous words of Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa : “I am an African”
brings with it many connotations, because Africa has many connotations – anybody can be anybody in Africa.  Its diversity creates space for this, yet it also creates fragmentation, for diversity does not necessarily mean unity.   The trick is to bring diversity into a patchwork for unity.   I am not an African.  But I am a South African.  A white South African, does that make me an African ?

Nevertheless, Africa is a place for expression.  Africa will find you out !  There is room for everyone, for every kind under the sun in Africa – the good, the very good, the bad and the very bad, the place where humanity is at war with itself, and mirrors that for the world to see and to watch.

Love it or hate it Africa is the place that calls for attention.  And at the same time offers opportunity to express that humanity one way or another.

Many years ago now, I came across MAF and signed up for their newsletter.  What is MAF ?
An extract from their 2015 Annual  Report sums it up consicely .
Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) is an international Christian organisation bringing help and hope to some of the poorest and most remote communities in the world….
We work with hundred of missions, churches, local groups, relief & development organisations and national government agencies.   Together we deliver practical medical and spiritual care in places with the deepest human needs ” – Prof. Polla Roux.

Furthermore to this is a very brief snippet of its history, supplied by the MAF office in South Africa:
In 1945 Murray Kendon, a New Zealander flying with the RAF Coastal Command during World War 2, wondered if the power and versatility of aircraft would only be used for conflict and carnage.   After realizing this dream was indeed God-given, he accepted the challenge and Mission Aviation Fellowship was born.
In 1970 David and Beryl Luke developed the MAF SA programme in the Transkei and it then moved to Johannesburg in the late ’70s.   In 2011 MAF saw the need to develop a programme in South Africa and the Flying for Life project was developed.
We currently work in the Vhembe District in Limpopo, taking in missionaries, churches, medical professionals and other organisations to help sustainably uplift the community.
Looking ahead, we are wanting to expand our eye doctor clinic to an additional hospital,
and extend into other provinces in South Africa. “

 

Care Africa Purple Bags
The Care Africa project is a small random project that encourages people to “grow a garden in your yard,  grow a garden in your heart”,  and encourages growing vegetables for food, and reading the Bible for growing the soul.   Both very necessary for human growth and sustainability – social development in an wholistic sense.
Recently I met up with Maxine Holman from MAFSA, and could give her two care bags to grow the concept of Care Africa.
Big or little deeds of kindness, whether a Flying Mission or a packet of spinach seeds, can make a difference in Africa.

I reckon poverty’s first priority is to combat hunger, and the growing of vegetables whether in a car tyre, an individual yard, or a community garden, will go a long way to addressing hunger, so prevalent in Africa today.  

In today’s shaky economic climate it makes sense to save cents by growing your own vegetable garden  – and together with reading the Word of God everyday you will begin to create a healthy, survival, sustainable and a good life.

Life is made up of small things.   What you do matters.

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Grow a garden in your yard,  Grow a garden in your heart,  and so join the Care Africa project.
 Start today, and let CareSA know how your gardens grow.   Grow well, eat well, share well
Happy gardening !