Fr Gerald Gostling
Reports from South Africa
20 June 2020
From Gerald (Fr) to family and friends
From South Africa, Dundee Diocese (Kwazulu Natal and Mpumalanga) – another glimpse of life
Greetings to family and friends, wonderful supporters – keep well, safe, and happy!
I am sure I have shared before that I have a few names by which I’m called – the most common being Papa G, and a new one, just in passing, of ‘Corona’!! I did share somewhere that this small boy around 4 years old rather scruffy thin and lives in the fresh air in one of the semi-rural areas, who had clearly been told that the white man has brought the Corona Virus to South Africa, very innocently, with a smile, called me Corona! The older kids have stopped him saying that now but it was all treated with good African humour – thank God! Kabongwe uNkulunkulu!
Thank you for loving us and the nice lockdown winter clothes we have and blankets, and food. We are always thanking God when we pray and we sing, God is in lockdown with us. We haven’t been bored as we do some study, lots of chores, and play games. We’re glad the Shebeens and Taverns are closed so it is quiet and no one drunk and causing problems.”
Figure 4. Two of the Mduduzi girls growing up beautifully and safe. Photo: May 2020
BLAAUWBOSCH: A rural Location
Some caring families – two Doctors stationed at Madadeni Hospital – Rosary Crèche Staff – Sr Leo – Parishioners – Caritas, working together as a Team
DURING LOCKDOWN MAY 2020
“We knew this could be done!” remarked one of the group, “because we knew it had to be done!”
100 local families were identified at this very difficult time as needing some extra assistance and invited to come to the Rosary Crèche in Blaauwbosch which would act as the meeting and distribution point.
Volunteer staff and the Principal from the Crèche, together with Sister Leo did a remarkable job in organising and coordinating, and in the original identification of individuals and families. The donors who were moved to do something were inspirational in their kindness and hands on involvement; also Parishioners from the Sacred Heart church Blaauwbosch.
Each person was welcomed by name as they assembled, and also asked how they were managing during this lockdown period; It was heartening to see these people as I know so many of them from the times I accompany Sr. Leo in visiting them at home; any particular difficulties were taken note of; all were allocated a seat. Others who just ‘turned up’ (as they do) had to be asked to return home but before leaving they received a little food and their names and address were noted so that they can be visited in the next few days.
The origin of this outreach was from a group of families which included two who are Doctors in Madadeni Government Provincial Hospital (one a surgeon), and the owner of KwikFit in Newcastle. They agreed that they would not act individually but as a group. The power of this decision was that they put together 100 very generous food parcels, plus some extra food. We concluded the wonderful and happy experience by assembling the donors and all the helpers and prayed together. Contact will remain with the families who turned up to make sure they do not go hungry, and to take action if they or neighbours get sick, also to help them to access Government benefits like the new unemployment grant of R350 per month.
POMEROY MISSION (Umusa woMsinga)
This is a very rural and traditional area and Sister Madeleine (Augustinian) shared, May 15th, on behalf of the Projects that help the poor and needy and also help in opportunities for skill training.
We are in contact with the Home Based Carers asking them to check on the children and families they follow and care for. Our interventions have mainly been regarding food parcels.
We are also anxious about the children who are on ARVs (antiretrovirals) and this week, and following, we are checking to make sure they have collected their treatment, otherwise we will experience many problems at the end of the lockdown which would include grave sickness and certainly deaths.”
“We have photos with queues and masks and some of these bring a lot of sadness and pain; but also there are some cheerful pictures like the one of the happy child above. Whatever the suffering there is always a smile and joy, and praising God.”
VOLKSRUST and VUSISIZWE (there to help) Home Based Care operates from the Clinic.
BETHEL: with PHILISA (healing: that’s our work) Home Based Care – from the Clinic
LESLIE/LEBOHANG: (Embalenhle Township Parish community) with EKUTHULENI (with the sense that we get things done, but quietly) Multi Purpose Project: Visiting households in the community
PS: Second National Meeting via ZOOM:
on Thursday June 11th from 1pm – 4.30pm I shared with our Coordinator in our second meeting via ZOOM with Caritas Coordinators from every part of South Africa. It was again a remarkable experience with time for each to give a Report, to listen, ask questions etc. We still remain the only Metropolitan working together in the seven Dioceses of KZN; we’re trying to encourage and help others to follow suit as there is great power for every Diocese and group and Project in such solidarity!
Sincere thanks to Roger and Una, Ngiyabonga, Siyabonga kakhulu for sending this sharing out for me, and to everyone for your help and interest, prayers and support – everything we do is supported in prayer and we try to love in action, izenzo zothando. May you keep well safe happy and blessed.
Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu
Gerald, Papa G, Fr. G, or even Corona
God bless you love you and keep you safe
Fr Gerald Gostling 20th June 2020
Mpumalanga Catholic Aids Response – M-Care Website—> … Ithemba neNjabulo Project Report—>