We continue to learn more about culture and expectations in South Africa. There is a social system here, and fortunately no school/education fees (unless you enroll a child in an expensive private school). So that is helpful, however classrooms are overcrowded and not all teachers are compassionate and well trained. We hope to impact that by using the private sector for specific children/young adults. Another impact we are trying to make is with youth leadership (ages 15-25) in the local churches we work with.
Recently we were talking to one of our classes of students regarding finances and the importance of not taking on debts. (it is common here to visit the shylock(loan shark) and take small amounts of money for 30-50% interest per month. Yikes, and I thought my MasterCard was bad.
We used a real life example, one young lady in this particular class has 3 children by 3 different men, none of whom are involved in her life any longer. The government here gives a welfare grant to single moms. 310 rand(about $30) per month per child. This is her only income; 930 Rand ($90) per month. Her expenses are nearly 1200 Rand per month...she is short every single month. We asked "How do you make up the difference?", her reply, "I do peoples hair or borrow money". As you can see, this can quickly cause her major problems. One of the younger students who is quite smart and gifted at Mathematics was looking at our white board example and the 2 columns. She raised her hand with a "solution". Our hearts were filled with great anticipation 1)that she was interacting and speaking up(counter to culture) and 2)that she reasoned a way out of a hard spot for someone(forward thinking beyond today is challenging when you exist in hopeless poverty).
Then came the sting..."She could just have another baby and make up the difference"
It reminds us that there is a deeper and longer standing issue and problem. Of course we spoke about why the above would not be a good idea-especially from a biblical perspective.
This type of scenario is what fuels us to press into deeper relationship with those we are connected with, and why we are doing what we do. Dig into the root, expose it, and let the Lord and His Word do what it does best; bring correction, change and salvation.
We are filled with hope and anticipation of what is next, and are SO grateful to you for allowing us to be here. We do not and will not take that lightly. - Grace and Peace to you and your households. God bless you!