Words to Durban

Hello Durban,

Sometimes it takes words of affirmation to create an atmosphere for going from good to great.  You may be the Cinderella of all the cities in South Africa, but you have the power of attraction for those who need time off from the merry-go-round of life.
But you are more than that.   You are a kaleidoscope of hope, of contrasts and diversity, set in a paradise of green.

Durban you are a port on the East Coast of Africa.

Durban Port
Ships from afar, carriers of merchandise, wait their turn to enter your port, to foster the economy of the South.  And hope does not go unnoticed as the number of these ships have increased dramatically over the years – reminding us that indeed you are
‘a market place for nations’.

Container ship

A  city of lay-back laziness that can trap the diligent and industrious person with a lethargy brought on by the gentle tropical climes of a warm ocean current.   “Tomorrow is another day” well may be the creed you live by – and yet !  The steady onward everyday flow of the inevitable, continues to urge you to perform your duties with diligence.  Your  history is rich, your position is well place for the growth of a new emerging world on the African continent.
Your Oil Refineries are strategic,  as are your marketable industries on the south side of your city.    The southbound road takes your travellers back on a memory road, to old favourite holiday resorts, that have filled up many family  photo albums with sweet memories of lazy sun-filled bucket and spade holidays.

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Quite uniquely, in the heart of your city, are the Durban Botanical Gardens.   Noticed, apart from its magnificence,  is the peace that lingers there.  Now if ever the Good Lord would want a cathedral to live in, it would surely be in this majestic cathedral of green  –  a garden with its huge trees that were planted some 300 years ago.  It is one of Africa’s oldest botanical gardens, and I suspect by far the best on the continent.

Your inner city now scarcely reflects the former heyday of your holidaymakers’ favourite destination.  It has become crowded and derelict, as most inner cities are, with the influx of those desperate for employment and cheap accommodation.   Yet, two or three blocks up, on your sea-side,  are found well-kept paved promenades.  Walkways with tall hotels, all with sea-views, that tell a different story of who you were, and now want to become.

A city caught with one foot in a developed world, the other foot still entangled in poverty.   And indeed is this not the state of any modern city in the world of today ?   A world on a runaway train toward globalisation no matter the cost – for there is always a cost, there is always a price to pay for progress and development !

colonial house
Now going northward  – the touch of your colonial history is still markedly seen in your suburban landscape of the yesterday-wealth. Grand homes in beautiful tree-lined streets with lush green gardens, steeped in your recent history of refined living. Planted and painted into a part of the master portrait of South Africa’s history of diversity. Durban you are a world showcase for diversity.

But time moves on.
And a new era, for some, has arrived.   A time of unprecedented sophisticated living, as seen in the great shopping mall of Gateway Theatre of Shopping, some say the largest in the southern hemisphere, and the brand new developments of the Pearl towers for renowned accommodation.

The Pearls

Umhlanga Rocks reveals your ability to transform yourself, yet again, into an    international  tourist destination with its new modern high-rise Pearl towers and hotels, –  contrasted by the ever loved ‘little village’ where  the locals still meet and converse over a pint of brew.

Light house

Walebone Pier

A promenade of note with its iconic Whalebones Pier that enables one to walk on water!    The recognised landmark of  Umhlanga Rocks, the red and white light-house, a beacon of light,  near the world-famous Oyster Box Hotel.  No expense is spared, nothing but the best is offered to presidents and kings, and the visitors of Europe and the Elsewheres of the world.

Still northward bound on route to the new King Shaka International Airport., the outskirts of the city give a show of brilliant green that is seen in the waving sugar cane fields, and the rolling hills that call out ‘ go the distance !’
sugar cane

Beautiful are the green hills of Kwa Zulu Natal – the green Province with its emerald-green beauty and  flowing hills, a setting fit for prosperity – equally so for the penny and for the soul.

Green Emerald

Going further north through the sugar cane fields,  the main road will bring us to the mushrooming town of Ballito Bay, one of South Africa’s fastest growing modern real estate developments.

But if we are astute we will notice the road signs that take us off the main highway to settlements and townships that do not enjoy an acclaim to wealth.

Kids at Shacks

And if we travel far enough we may encounter the rural folk of another world.  A folk that have not yet made the leap from poverty to ‘progress’ –  but have so much to offer with their rich cultural heritage.

Rural Hills
The very wide gap from the arrogant and unsaturated rich in their affluent towers and malls to the simplistic living of the rural inhabitants is a screaming silent reality.                                                                                         Rural KZN Acat.jpg

Acat veggie growing

Inequality is a stamp on all our record sheets.
And it is in this ever-widening gap that a paradigm shift  needs to occur, a miracle needs to happen, so that you can go from good to great.   Pay attention also to the needs of the poorest of the poor, so that they can rise up and experience a kind of progress too.

 Herein lies your miracle,  bridging the gap between two worlds,  if not three,  – the haves, the have-nots, and the have-yachts !

Sailing-Yacht

Nevertheless all worlds can offer their own version and contribution toward  ‘being rich’  –  whatever that may mean,  each in their own way.  For sometimes the rich are not rich, and the poor are not poor.  Sometimes the ‘developed world’  has much to learn about being  “civilised”,  the knowing of   ‘Ubuntu’  –  respect – simple courtesy, simple humanity !   Someone once said, ‘ courtesy is the first rung on the ladder toward civilisation ‘  – something the 4×4  riders, taxi drivers and road-ragers need to know and understand !

As a City you have kept up with your own transformation – indeed you have to do so, for your saving grace is in the lucrative revenue that lies in the holiday and tourist trade,  robust business and employment, and of course the fine revenues from the Ports and Customs.

But most noteworthy of all are your peoples – a vast array of cultures  within your social perimeters,  which is  the very fabric of your rich design,  all gems in the crown of your disposition.
Zulu culture

The Zulu people, with their ancestral and stout warrior history with colourful beads that tell their stories;

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The rowdy yet gentle influence of the British, intertwined into your history.

Indian sari

 

 

Bunny chow

 

 

 

 

 

The colourful vibrancy of the Indian culture, with their special cuisine of aromatic spices, curries and  of course the famous Durban Bunny Chow.

KZN politics

The African People with their new-found vehement political clamour, coming to terms with power, and what that truly means, moulding the nation for tomorrow.

Indeed a beautiful mosaic of cultures, living side by side by the sea, in peace and harmony.    Amazing microscopic worlds within a world, called Durban.

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Your people and your children are easy, fun-loving, and sunshine kids – and daring too.  Totally Sports obsessed, with any reason to walk, run, ride, swim, surf or canoe an epic event –  a case in point the Comrades Marathon.  A marathon of well over 90 kilometres between  Durban and the hilly countryside of Pietermaritzburg.  Who thinks out such things !!?

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Sky Car at the Moses Mabhida 
Moses Madheba Stadium
Moses Mabhida Stadium

Moses Stadium

Great are your vistas for sports, but more so are your spectacular views of land and seascapes that lend wings to those who need to be lifted higher.

Durban, you are like a brilliant green emerald gem,  emeraldan often overlooked gem, among the chief cities of South Africa.   Slowly going about your daily business of business, culture and sport, with the determined purpose of welcoming your visitors from afar with warmth and hospitality.  Hospitality that inborn trait you carry off so well.

No better place to see, no better place to be other than in  “Durbs by the Sea”  as our upcountry  folk would say, when they pack for their annual holiday to crowd out your beaches with abandoned glee.

Durban visitors

 

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Durban, as the sunshine state of South Africa, you should surely be on the ‘must see list’ of the global community.  You may take your place with pride, among the ranks of other destinations who strive for the recognition of  ‘most beautiful place in the world ‘  – nonetheless contrasted by ‘new worlds’ waiting to be born into prosperity.

When your visitors step into this green paradise, they will surely hear the wind and the waves softly whisper :  “You are welcome here”.

Go Durban !green-emeralds stones

 

 

A ROOFTOP GARDEN IN DURBAN

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Imagine that !  A rooftop garden in the heart of Durban.
And I thought that Durban needed to be among the cities of the world that did splendid things with and for their environment, because with its lush green living Durban has the potential to become known as a garden city !

I had been so inspired by a Blog I found at
https://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/rising-with-community-gardens-three-cities/   whose photography gave a glimpse into the urban gardens of Canada, growing vegetables for those in need in their cities. Particularly striking for me was the writing of Jane Jacobs, written on a wall in the city, which read :
“Cities have the capacity of providing something for everybody, only because and only when they are created by everyone.”

Then I discovered the website of the city gardens in Oranjezicht in Cape Town, – you can visit their website at  www.ozcf.co.za/gallery/    – that just fuelled the idea that Durban too can be counted among the “great garden cities”  I even dropped a hint to the chairlady of the garden club to start a combined project to make this happen !   Only to find now that Durban had a secret gem right in the centre of the city – a very unique roof top garden.  Cape Town, Vancouvor eat your hearts out !

When the COP 17 Conference  (a world conference on climate change) was held in South Africa, Durban put its best foot forward to showcase its “green creativity”.  One of the City’s projects was a Priority Zone that showed off a rooftop vegetable garden.

Recently the Durban North Garden Club – (this year celebrating their 60th anniversary as a garden club – congratulations, a remarkable milestone !) – paid the Rooftop Garden a visit and was given a guided tour by Sylvia Burger, the garden keeper, whose love for Durban and the garden shone through every pathway that she strolled us through.

Here are a few photos I took to spread environmental care, through community gardening.

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IMG_5740                                      Irrigated vegetable mini tunnels.

IMG_5741                               A section of minni tunnels, with solar panel                                                                              in the background.    

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Using old tyres for container gardening.                                                                                  Garden seats made from old tyres.

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Plants growing in plastic cooldrink bottles
suspended by nylon thread.

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Even an old shoe keeping in step with recycling !

The whole  Rooftop Garden is nature friendly, with re-cycle, re-use, reduce and re-store a strong theme repeated throughout the garden – so wholesome !
They even have a worm project for compost-making, and harvest any water-overflow from downpipes.

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A beautiful Rhino crafted in wire and beads, stands large and proud,  to welcome all visitors, local and international.  It stands there boldly to remind us to care about conservation, to save the Rhino, – and as a salute to African Craft.

Well done Durban.  But this new discovery I have just made of the Rooftop Garden does not, of course, mean that a new Durban community garden project should not be pursued and emulated.  But we will have to wait and see if the seeds that are presently being scattered will find good soil to grow and flourish in to create  more community gardens, whether they be flower gardens, sustainable-living veggie gardens, suburb or township gardens, to help turn Durban into one of the garden cities of the world !

People Who Care

I have just spent the last two days in the sea of humanity.  It was rather intense, youthful, noisy, to the extent of being loud, colourful, fashionable statements with trendy “weaves” of the young aspiring women.  There was a sprinkle of White, Coloured and Indian Diversity, all draped in care and laced with humility –  all very vibrant, like only South Africans can be.   It was a privilege to be part of this event,  KWNCSOC – the Kwa Zulu Natal Civil Society Organisation Coalition safely birthed after a two and a half year interim period of formation.

The KWNCSOC is a network that draws the caring  society of Kwa Zulu Natal together in a coailtion  e.g the Non Profit Organisations, and others in Mercy Ministries who work  to bring some relief to poor and broken communities.  These are the caring angels of the peoples, the unsung passionate heroes of our societies, and, not duly recognised, as the semi invisible arm of the social development work of the government.
What made this event, so vibrant was the percentage of young adults that attended the occasion.  I sensed such a passion (and maybe it came from a place of survival !) yet there was an underlying caution, an alertness, a community intelligence, not to be drawn in and swayed by the flavours of the day. Present too were the donors of projects, and social drivers, all necessary for progress ? – or exploitations for other agendas ? But such is the way of politics.  But their polite caution, the listening ear, the hearing heart gave me a hope, for I do believe it is people and not  finance that will make the biggest difference to South Africa’s future.

Durban’s beautiful Botanical Gardens.

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The conference came together in a community hall situated at the entrance of the beautiful Durban Botanical Gardens – which I call the Green Cathedral. It is made magnificent with its three hundred year old tress planted in a vastness of green, with lawns and flowers and shrubs of every kind.  It is worth a visit, to linger and to soak up its splendour!  It is one of my most favourite places to be.

The organisers of the conference, the Democracy Development Program,  had arranged the chairs in little circles of five, where intense discussion could take place, where identities were revealed, hearts could be shared, and dreams could be told.
I listened, and heard mainly of the obstacles toward progress, but then also the aspirations and longing for a better life and a better future.

The Care Africa Movement.

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  A Care Garden envelope of spinach seeds to grow food in your yard for a promise from  you to read the Word of God to grow food for your soul.  

I, too could  share my dreams of a Care Africa Movement, where there are Care Gardens in the hearts of people, and a vegetable garden in their yards.   Hunger – or more positively Food Production is the pivotal place of poverty alleviation, it can also be a starting point for social development and entrepreneurship in Africa.  I shared my dream and gave a few seed envelopes to those who would receive them, and hope that they will join the movement, and send me photos of their gardens, to put on my blog for you to see.
Growth is a learning process whether you are growing your soul, or growing your food.
But basically, on different levels, it is the same.  There is the soil, (the heart) and then there is the seed  (the Word of God) that is sown.  Necessary is the nurturing, the watering, the weeding, and good nutrition (teaching) for good results.   After many months (or years) comes the harvest, the product, the bearing of fruit –  (or the character !)   Good seed will produce good results.  Finally comes the joy of achievement, and the sharing of what is good, the tasting of what is good, and the knowing  that God is good !

May the Care Africa Movement be a growing process for those who join in, and bear good results, for the soul, and for food for poverty alleviation.   Plant your Care gardens today – and make a difference in your life and in your community – and email me a photo to share with other.

Eat well,   Grow well,  Share well.

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Change Your Mind, Change Your World.

August 2015

Change will happen, with or without us.

Circumstances can so entrench our thinking into accepting what seems to be the inevitable amid the stark demanding facts of life, that a change of mind is out of the question.   But, I ask, what is the use of having a mind, if you cannot change it ?  And every woman in the room will agree with me !
We can change our minds, our thinking, and so to change our worlds.

Change is inevitable when embarking on a road of new discoveries.
The subtle change may begin to happen when we are disgruntled with the status quo, a sure signpost on the road of change.  But more often than not change will first happen on the inside of us. Then as new challenges are explored more will be revealed of what is on the inside.   If we pay close attention, it will become a duel journey of self-discovery, sometimes surprising, sometimes scary !   Change brings with it a moving of boundaries, and that can be so uncomfortable.

It is quite a struggle to change a mindset, especially in the field of dire poverty, whether you are poor, or are working with the poor and needy people in community.  Many are stuck in the mindset of poverty, but this has to change when we develop the mindset of progress, let alone prosperity – which will require yet another mind leap.
Instead of ‘poverty’ being the dominating  mindset, what will happen if we should replace it  with ‘potential’.   In other words not look at the circumstances but at the people, and what’s in the heart of the people.  That will be a rich treasure-find indeed. And then would we arrange our minds, our perspectives, our lives and our service differently ?

Poverty is often invisible, until you go out and look for it.  I happened to be in the “down-town” of Durban, and saw the derelict neglected condition of the buildings, the scattered refuse, and the sight of a poor humanity etching out a living for itself, amid a scene set for crime, corruption and moral decay.   And yet just three blocks up was the wonderful promenade of palm trees, sunny beach umbrellas, ice cream, and happy kids. Row upon row of posh expensive hotels, that are caught up to form the bubble of excellence to impress the tourists.   But lets not be harsh on Durban,  every town has its “down-town” and its “up-town”.  Poverty is rife, everywhere,  if we look we will see it.
And its a huge global condition !  What are we going to do about it ?
So to change poverty to progress we are going to have to change our minds, our perspectives, our goals and  our actions.

The road marked Entrepreneur, such a trendy word on the lips of government, futurists and the unemployed youth, is a long steep journey out of poverty.   But what does it embrace?  What will it require to make the change from community development (giving to the poor) to entrepreneurial development (helping people on to self-help and own development).  In the end, if progress is the goal, then what will be the result of a nation chasing only after economic development, and leaving behind the “rich” wholeness of community – even if its poor and lacking in consumables.   There needs to be a plan for holistic social development alongside the national economic plan, or else all our futures will be lopsided, out of balance with inequality crime and corruption getting the prize of the century… again!
New thinking is required, a new road needs to be followed to see if there is the better future in “progress”,  for poverty is not an option.  We need to put people first, see their potential, which is the key to unlocking great treasures, and we need to  “nourish hope and enthusiasm for creative expression, or simple entrepreneurship”  – words of the writer James Patterson.

If we can only keep our heads, and our values in tack.  Money isn’t everything!
As we progress we must keep a hold on our “ubuntu”, our humanity, our integrity, our wholeness.  For as we have so vividly seen, money and power bring with it greed and corruption, which sadly is the state of our money gobbling global village as we know it today.

I have found it not any easy road, as I have naively begun my small entrepreneurial journey. Often I feel like just giving up.  Someone once said, – ” since I’ve given up hope, I feel a whole lot better” !!   It would be so much easier to just give up.  Really? – but no not just yet.

So CareSA Designs has produced a few new items for the 2015 season.    They are pretty summer  “infinities” or round scarves. They are done in a thin cotton yarn that produces a soft gentle neckline accessory.  I have created new light “shoulder wraps” done in a loose stitch, that can be  worn as a huge winter scarf too.  So two in one, – summer wrap or winter scarf.   I have  done them in textured yarns that make them snug yet light, unique and interesting.  Making a debut is the Bag Range, for the young and not so young.  Done in bright colours, some a shoulder sling bag, some just a handy purse.  Nice for gifts.
Part of the proceeds from the sales go to a fund for community service, especially those who work with the poor and needy in our society.

The trend is Entrepreneurial,  the theme is the potential of creativity, lets see if it brings us on the road to progress…even prosperity ?

What is the potential that lies dormant in your creativity ?  Explore and start your journey of discovery, and be amazed  – change your mind, change your world !

CARESA CHRONICLES

I am so glad I finally got it – my Chukkit Bukkitt.  Recycling now – doing my bit for the planet.

It happened immediately, when I went with Billy to the Farmers Co-operative Store.   I was told to get up early, so that we could catch the glow of the early morning as we drove the 40 odd kilometers to Umhlali.  There is something special about early morning, you get to see all the “early birds”  –  I’m not one of them.   There was a stream of cyclists riding back from their trip into the rural area.  Runners, probably training for the famous Comrades Marathon from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.  Three or four early morning fishermen who had cast their lines on the Ballito Bay beach – we could see them as the road takes a bend and the beach comes into view.  I also noticed two huge vegetable growing enterprises, one on the slopes of a small hill, and one near Umhlali where row upon row of veggies stretched across the bow of the hill.  What a sight to excite my heart so early in the morning.  Then the little bushes of “curry cosmos” as I call them, brightening up the roadside.  The sky was blue, and the green rolling hills of the Natal sugar cane fields stretched for miles.  It was indeed a beautiful morning, in a beautiful place.  When we finally arrived at the Farmers Co-op my eye immediately spotted the Chukkit Bukkitt –  and I made it mine. !

IMG-20150529-WA0002.jpg Chuck it Bucket         ATT_1432896407532_IMG-20150529-WA0003.jpg Kitchen Herb garden

The Chukkit Bukkit is a new novelty from the Store.  It is a compost maker, using all the kitchen waste to turn into a fertilizing liquid for my vegetable patch.  Our household is still old school, where we buy vegetables, peel them, cook them and then eat them. Maybe old-fashioned by today’s trends, but there you have it.   However, it means I now get to make good compost for my Care Garden – which forms part of my Care Africa Movement project.  Speaking of vegetables, if you have the time please visit this website  www.goandproclaim.co.za  and view the wonderful vegetables growing through the God’s Greenhouse initiative in the Eastern Cape.  This initiative wants to empower Churches and individuals to grow food for themselves and the Poor and Needy folk in their communities.
May there be many more such initiatives following this example in South Africa, indeed in Africa too.  I believe food sufficiency is the pivotal place of social development.   May the Church lead the way.  The Church is in a sense God’s Greenhouse for the soul, why not for food provision too.?

The secret to growing good healthy vegetables is in the soil.  So composting is essential !
Yay then for my Chukkit Bukkitt !  God has provided all we need through the rich mineral deposits of the soil.  However sometimes the soil needs to be replenished by organic compost.  Our bodies are composed of minerals and vitamins that we get from the food we eat, so our food needs to be grown in rich organic soil.  Makes sense.

Growing vegetables is not always an instant success story.  It is only the beginning of getting to know the science of the soil, plants, water, sunshine and then there are the pests… that are beginning to chow on my newly planted tomatoes !  Thank goodness for Google !   But it is amazingly good to be in the garden, beside my growing spinach, Chinese cabbage, tomatoes and basil.  To make it a little easier to get to my herbs I put a few small pots of parsley and green peppers on a pretty stand outside my kitchen door.  Care gardens don’t have to be big with acres and acres of vegetables – nice if you can do that, and for community gardens, but a Care Garden can be growing vegetables in a container.

Why not join me in my Care Africa Movement project, by growing  some vegetables for yourself – and to share with your neighbours.  Take a photo of yourself in your garden and email it to me, with your name and the region and country you live in.   Also add your favourite Bible verse.  Perhaps we can create a photo blog for Care Africa. Plant some seeds in your soil,  Plant some seeds in your soul by reading God’s Word everyday, – and watch how your gardens grow !   Do your bit for the planet recycle where and when you can, and grow your very own special Care Gardens.    Happy gardening !

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For as the earth brings forth its bud,
As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth,
So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth
before all the nations.                 Isaiah 61:11   

A FOCUS ON ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT

A Focus on Entrepreneurial Development
Common sense begs us to have a road map when we embark on a journey.  The future is a path we all must tread.  To read some insights and signposts along the way may be helpful for the journey. With our world, under a financial cloud, which can reveal our insecurities and traditions of old, we need to realize that the world is in a state of flux. Change is inevitable and is happening! Steve Rose on his blog has written an excellent article called The Transition to Entrepreneurial  Life , from a philosophical and new millennium point of view. He highlights, what he calls, Modern Liberalism in which moral and traditional boundaries have been moved.  This poses serious new challenges both on our moral and financial frontiers. Change is happening!  What would he say, I wonder, about South Africa, if he understood its extreme complexities.   His blog deserves a read for it is food for thought, as we focus on Entrepreneurship, and the future.    steverroseblog[dot]com

I have written a simple article on Entrepreneurship, which introduces CareSA Designs, my entrepreneur enterprise to this subject.  See some of the CareSA Designs below.

Click  on    https://caresafoundation.wordpress.com/caresa-designs/  to view more of my designs.  I would appreciate your comments on these.

At a meeting, called for by Soul Action and Crossroads in Durban, we focused on Entrepreneurial Development.  Some of the complexities that arose, as experienced by some of the Project Leaders who work deep in the Kwa Zulu Natal rural community are :  Cultural traditions.  Communities shackled by a poverty mindset.  Hindering jealousies at signs of progress.  No self-contribution required resulting in lack of ownership of  projects. The different tiers of economic development, and world views.  For there are many “worlds” in this world we call South Africa. These were only some of the topics.

As South Africans we have a tendency to focus on our overwhelming problems. Take the problems and find the solutions” – were words spoken by a global entrepreneur. We may need new approaches, innovations and community creativity to solve our problems. In a world of change there is one constant, the Word of God, the Bible. We will leave an indefinable injustice behind if we do not take the Word of God with us into Social Development. For within its pages lie the sustainability of faith hope love and everything else in between, for the renewing of the mind and for a good future. The Bible is the road map for all ages … no matter how much change happens!

It may take courage to move into the trend of entrepreneurship and the fickle waters of finance.  But if wholeness, social and human development remain the focus, the tug and pull of wealth-creation may just drag poverty into progress. When we leave our “Egypt”  to possess our “promised land” the journey will be hard and long.  Above it all we must remember to give God the glory for His goodness, for it is He who gives power to get wealth.

Remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth… Deuteronomy 8:18