Boys in bare feet playing soccer in an area covered in stones (the ‘playground’). Girls with tightly plaited hair of all different lengths. Children fascinated by postcards showing pictures from Australia. Questions about nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs to answer. Singing songs about Jesus in unison with actions. Two white faces amongst many dark ones.
On Monday we commenced our time at the After School Program run by volunteers from the Evangelical Bible Church. These are a great group of young people, most of whom are still studying themselves, who devote 3 – 4 hours each afternoon to help the kids in their neighbourhood. We proudly wear our red uniform T-shirts each day with them. We will be involved with the program for the next three months.
How does it work? The program runs each Monday to Thursday afternoon from 2 – 5pm. (School here in Namibia starts at 7am and finishes at 1pm). The volunteers meet from 1:30pm to pray for the kids and the afternoon ahead. Friday afternoons are set aside for planning and preparation for the following week. The participants are aged between 7 to 17 and are divided into five different age groups. Around 80 to 100 kids attend each afternoon & gain help with their homework, along with learning life skills, obtaining reading assistance, playing sport / games & attending Bible Club.
Why would the church be involved in this ministry? It is part of the overall HIV / AIDS prevention strategy as well as reaching out to the local community in a meaningful and needed way. By implanting positive messages and positive role models in these kid’s lives, constantly supported by the message of Jesus, the aim is to impact the next generation of Namibians to make the best choices for themselves and their nation. We were greatly encouraged when three kids gave their lives to Christ this afternoon following a testimony by one of the leaders.
Monday was the first day back after a two week break. During the holidays one of the Grade 5 children had died in a car accident and a Grade 8 student was critically injured in the same crash. Within the last two months one of the leaders had also died quite suddenly although she had been unwell for some time. Sobering times for these kids. There was a message given about how precious life is, how uncertain life can be and how we must be prepared at all times to come before God.
You never know who might turn up at the door to say hello.
Kate doing some cross cultural communication