Friday, May 11, 2012

PEF Work & Life in Port Elizabeth

Pictured above is Kwamagxani Ward's teacher, Brother Machete, flanked by two returned missionaries from Kenya, Mawethu Olepu, and Sabata Minakara, a seminary teacher.  Three siblings are taking the class:  Robera Madimo, a policeman who needs a loan to become an attorney; Sisipho Mandimo is waiting for a mission call but plans to become an accountant, and  Hlubikazi Somlota, who designs and makes clothes but needs to make more money to support her daughter.
Everyone has a story
 I finally found a place to have my nails done.  Anneli, a cute 19 year old Afrikkaner, did them.  She said her father was paralyzed in a diving accident and her parents met when he was recovering in hospital.  After they married they moved to her grandfathers farm.  She and her brother were conceived invetro and their mom bore twins--the first  successful invetro births here.  Her parents lived on the farm until they were two when the grandparents were murdered by men who came to buy produce.  Then they moved to Uitenhage, a village nearby where it was safe.  Her 48 year old Mom now works as a police woman in P.E.  Her dad passed away 4 years ago.  Since it was such an upscale spa, I asked Anneli about aids.  Do the kids her age use any protection?  She said "no" most of them just sleep around.   I find this rather strange as South Africa has a highest number of people with Aids than any other nation of the continent.
Life in Port Elizabeth
  Yesterday we went to the library.  Most of the books were old, out of date and had been heavily circulated.  We could not check anything out as we did not have our pass ports and we needed something with our name and home address on--a letter or a bill.  So someone send us a post card.  Address it to Elder and Sister Stokoe, 16 Turnburry, Montmedy Rd, Lorraine 6070, South Africa.  (That's our physical address.)   Our phone and internet bill goes to our P.O box in Sunridge Park.  Since it's a hassle to make changes our bills come under the name of former missionaries.   Our electricity is purchased at any market.  We check a meter located  in our garage and make a payment when the meter indicate that we are low.  Our flats are unheated.  A space heater uses lots of electricity.  The missionaries used up all their electricity on a cold night.  When the lights went off they called the landlord.  He paid 160R to get the meter on.  The church will reimburse him.
PEF Challenges
  We went to Uitehnage to present a PEF Fireside Wednesday evening and spent an hour sitting in the car in front of the locked gate.  Know one showed.  This is the second time that's happened at Uitenhage Branch.  We left after discovering a text message from one student, sent earlier, saying she had informed the teacher and wanted us to know that she would not attend.  We heard nothing from Sister Mandu who set up that Fireside on Sunday and promised to attend.  Last night we were in Kawobuhle where Brother Stokwe did a great job teaching.   Tonight we will be in Kwamagxaki for another class.  Brother Nshebe is also a good teacher (see photo above.)
Afrikanners Begging
  It never ceases to amaze me what we run into here.  We see men and boys peeing at the side of the free way and on main roads.  Where else, when they have to walk for miles? Yesterday we saw a tall, white Afrikanner with a beer belly standing in the middle of the road at a stop light.  He was scratching his privates and holding out a cup.  Since it's against mission rules to hand out money, we give small packets of raisins and peanuts. It's protein and something to sustain them.  I handed  him one.  We saw a middle age Afrikanner in a clean shirt and dockers, with a fold out cardboard sign.  He opened it and flashed a request for financial help.  Maybe he  lost his job and/or is a victim of reverse discrimination.
Offering Rides
  We are also discouraged from offering a ride to anyone.  One young girl who is lame really wanted to attend institute.  So the Taylors offered to pick her up and take her home each week.  The next week her sister jumped in.  The third week another sister joined them.  (Since the Taylors had invited the lame girl they were not in a position to protest.) The following week their mother crowded in.  The church does not want us to encourage dependence nor do they want us in harms way.
Crime in Johannesburg
    The young elders in Jo Berg are always getting robbed.  So the president told them to carry just  20 rand (about $2.50) in cash when they were out and about.  The thugs started stopping them and demanding their 20 rand.  There was a story on the nightly news about the police in Jo Berg.   It is estimated that one in four people paid a bribe rather than their fine.   We are finally getting accustomed to life here. We are trying to do our job and not get offended when things turn out differently than we expected.

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