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March Newsletter 2016

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Dear friends,
Once again we have had a full and busy month. Aunty Alice joined our staff the beginning of this month to replace Dudu. Alice worked for ABC in Bulembu since 2005 and her mother was our 2nd night staff worker in Big Bend. She has a daughter Ayanda, 10 years old, who grew up in ABC. Alice remained behind in Bulembu when we moved. She was also trained as our toddler teacher and was a toddler housemother. She got married in 2014 and has a 1 year old daughter, Petunia. She was desperately looking for a job and contacted us. She is now back with us and has fitted in really well, as she already knows our home and what is expected of her.

On the 4th of March we met with the owner of this house that we are renting, and we had a really good meeting with him. We will sign a new lease for 3 years with him in July, and the rent will only be increased by E200 per month and will stay like that for the next 3 years! He has also given us written permission to fill in the old broken swimming pool and convert it into a play area for the toddlers. We still have first option to buy this house, as soon as his legal issues with his wife are sorted out, and he informed us that he already considers the house as ours for ABC.

Then on 6th March, Aunty Maria, who has been with us for over 5 years, failed to return back to work after her 4 days off. She did not notify us that she was leaving and had removed all her belongings from her room in our staff cottage, without informing any of us. We were all surprised at what she did, but God being God, He had already supplied, because He had sent us a lovely lady, named Treasure, just a few days before and we were planning to employ her as our gardener. Needless to say, Treasure is now working in the house as one of our baby home staff and doing really well and proving that she is indeed a real treasure.

Then a few days later, Aunty Cali, who is one of Dudu’s daughters, approached Robyn and asked to leave immediately because she was offered, by her family, to be return to vocational school. So within 2 months we had lost 3 aunties, which is 50% of our staff! This put a lot of pressure on all of us, especially with us having the new baby, Isaac, as well. The change in the staff has been amazing and we are seeing a huge change in the attitude of all our aunties, for the better. God has done a cleansing and now at night we hear lots of laughter and fun coming from the Aunties’ cottage which we had not heard before with Aunty Dudu and Aunty Maria there. The stealing seems to have stopped as well.

The older kids have settled well into school for the New Year. Jaun joined our family permanently in January. He ran away from his father at the beginning of this year, as the conditions he was living in were really bad. We have put him back to high school to do Form 2, and he is happy to be learning again after having been taken out of school by his father at the end of Form 1 in 2010. He is making history at the local high school by being the first white boy to ever attend the school. He has fitted well into our family and is a pleasure to have.

Ngelozi is receiving regular counselling and is coping really well, dealing with some things that happened to her in her past. She has started eating regularly again and is so much happier. Kevin’s behaviour and moodiness became difficult and his school work was being affected badly, plus it was affecting all of us in the home. As he is from the same family as Collin, we decided to get him assessed at the same centre that Collin and Lozi are attending, and he is also been treated for his behaviour and mood swings and receiving counselling. He is also taking supplements for ADD and we are seeing a huge change in him, his behaviour and his concentration, all for the better. Even his teachers have commented on the change in Kevin at school. Collin is doing really well and coping on his medication.

He is still receiving monthly counselling. The assessment and counselling centre is in Manzini so we have been travelling up and down to Manzini a lot, taking the kids to their appointments. Kitty gave us a few problems at the beginning of this month and ended up having her cell phone confiscated indefinitely. She has repented of her behaviour and her mistake she made and is once again focused on her school work and on getting her education.

We have had a lot of birthdays this month with Gerry celebrating his birthday on the 3rd, Lozi her 18th birthday on the 13th, Dominique on the 14th, Emanuel celebrated his 1st birthday on the 26th, Aunty Tema on the 28th, Emily had her 1st birthday on the 29th and Sam had his birthday on the 30th.

The older 4 toddlers are talking lots and getting into all sorts of mischief, touching and fiddling with everything that they can get their hands on. Their beds have been decorated with crayons, body creams have been smeared all over themselves as they try to do everything for themselves and end up making huge messes. They are keeping us all on our toes but also giving us lots of laughs with the things they say and do.
Little Lucy and Wanda are now 6 months old and Lucy is sitting on her own. Wanda is much more relaxed and takes life as it comes whereas Lucy is the busy one and she is even holding her own bottle to drink her milk and almost crawling. They are healthy and strong and demand our attention. They are moving around in their walkers and exploring everything.

We were informed by Talitha that she is pregnant with her 3rd baby and we are excitedly looking forward to welcoming our new, 3rd Garner, grandson into our family in August. She is excited and looking forward to having a new baby in her home again. Ben and Jesse are pleased to be getting a new brother. They are just so far away in the UK and we miss them all a lot.

Our friends, Lynn and Dean, were visiting in the UK and so they gave us the keys to their house and allowed us to use their house in Ezulweni, while they were away. So we both had a really nice and a well-deserved 5 day break, at the end of this month, relaxing and taking time out to re-connect with each other again. Dominique ran the Home while we were away and did a really good job with the bigger kids pitching in and helping out too. With both Sam and Josh driving now, we didn’t have to worry about the kids being taken to or fetched from school. We did take little Isaac with us, so he had all my full attention and thrived on it.
We are grateful to all who have willingly given to our home in any way and to all who help us so generously to keep our home running. Thank you to everyone.

We appreciate you all and also your prayers for us, our babies, our staff and our vision.

God’s blessings to all of you

Gerry and Robyn