Free……

1st December 2020 marks 186 years of freedom from slavery…the Emancipation of Slavery.

https://shaunjengel.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/one-love-one-people/

I look back at 2020 and think what a year it has been, a rollercoaster of note……..with all it’s uncertainties if you are reading this see it as a silver lining – YOU ARE ALIVE!!! YOU ARE FREE to choose how and what the future holds.

The Lord works in mysterious ways and as we place our focus on Him we can be rest assured that He will protect us and our families, we may not realise in this moment what His plan is for us but WE WILL PROSPER!!

Nothing in life is free, someone has worked or put in the time and effort for us to enjoy something that is so called “free”, therefore we have to acknowledge and respect the history and the people who fought for what we have today…….visiting the Slave Lodge today again just instilled a sense of thankfulness for the struggle heroes who fought against the oppression and allowing us to call ourselves Born Free……I may not fully understand what it was like during those times but I appreciate and acknowledge the cause.

FREE……to me it is not just a word but it is a feeling, a feeling of safety, of security but don’t get me wrong I am not DOM in wanting everything free/mahala. I am speaking about being free to think for oneself, being free to feel safe and secure in your own home or city…..”16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence” – I pray for the day we are FREE from the mindset of feeling it’s ok to abuse one another physically or emotionally.

May the Lord continue to protect us and our families during this pandemic and be with those who have lost loved ones…..may we continue to use our Freedom to help curb the spread….with freedom comes responsibility and that responsibility is to each and everyone of our brothers and sisters in Christ…..LOVE is the answer.

MUCH LOVE AND BLESSINGS TO YOU READING THIS.

When I See You Again

Taking the road less travelled often leads to the greatest success, 6 months ago I embarked on this mission with the intention of experiencing, learning and also giving back to a community I think needed something that I had to offer. I can truly say this was an amazing experience, difficult times included – I have overcome them through the grace of the Lord and am thankful that He has kept me safe and brought me safely back on home soil.

As I am writing this I am sitting in my room back home in South Africa and am happy, content and when I think back on the last six months I cant help but smile at the amazing memories and experiences I had. This has been a cultural exchange of note. I made many new friends and people whom I now consider part of my family, I pray that we will stay in contact for many years to come.

Through the program I learnt many new skills and enhanced some of the skills I already knew I had. I overcame many obstacles with the help of the amazing people I met in Indonesia.

Before I came to Indonesia I was probably like many South Africans who only mention Bali and its many tourist attractions, but I am thankful that my time spent in Indonesia took me to the city of Kendari. In Kendari I got to experience a different part of Indonesia. I got to interact with many of the Christian Commuinty, together we could share in our Faith, the differences and similarities. I definitely feel that I have grown spiritually.

Another part of the program allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and teach English, at times this was difficult but through determination and perseverance it brings back some of the best memories, when reading the thank you letters from the kids I realise how much of an impact I made in their lives. Leaving the kids from the orphanage in Lambuya was a bitter sweet moment, I have grown to love each and every one of them as my own brothers and sisters and will never forget them.

I would like to thank each and everyone who made this opportunity possible. As I left Kedari, I left with a smile on my face knowing that I achieved what I wanted and also received more than I could ever have hoped for.

As mentioned in my closing speech, through this experience I realized that what makes Indonesia great is not the various attractions, food and drinks…..nope, it is the people you meet along the way that makes this country one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Thank you and this is not goodbye but rather a SEE YOU LATER.

The Road Ahead

“It always seems impossible until it is done.” Nelson Mandela

The Seminar was an opportunity for us volunteers to reflect on our term of service in Indonesia,
for many of us we have completed 4 months and there were 3 volunteers whom only started
there service recently.

January has been a long month, this means that it has really been eventful and also for me a
month of reflection. After a busy Christmas period I was looking forward to a trip to another city
within the Island of South East Sulawesi namely Toraja, this was where our mid-term/end of
term seminar was to be held. I have heard many stories about Toraja and something about this place intrigued me, well let’s just say my time spent there did not dissapoint.

It was interesting to hear and share the different experiences through the various methods provided, example drawing pictures, group discussion, games and one on one disussions. Each method gave a different aspect of remembering the good times and also the challenging experiences we all faced. What was apparent to me was that most of us faced similar
challenges and during our discussions we could find solutions to these problems as well as look forward to the next couple of months and also our roads ahead with new and exciting eyes.

A topic that is worth mentioning is the topic of gender equility in Indonesia, this was intesively
discussed as many of the volunteers are women. From my experience in Kendari I felt that the role of women within the Christian community and my host families were that of strong
independent women who are passionate about their church duties as well as family life. Many
of the women in my host families held promenant positions in the workplace and are able to provide for the family just as well as the man. This was a different experience for some of other
volunteers as they felt the role of the women was still traditional, man provides for the
household and the women stays at home cooking and cleaning and certain jobs are only for
men.

Indonesia is also majority muslim and I felt really previleged to be coming from South Africa where we have a multi-cultural society therefore I understood some of the muslim
traditions with regards to men and women, for some of the other volunteers these traditions
came as a shock and it was good for us to discuss and learn from each other I think this was a
real eye opening and fruitful experience for all.

As I look back at the past 5 months I cant help but smile and be thankful for all the opportunities that have come my way, yes it was not easy but I have learnt many new things
along the way. I had time to give back to a community that needed something I have to offer as well as time to reflect on my journey so far as well as the road ahead, after the seminar we all felt energised until we realised it will all soon be over.

As the saying goes all good things come to an end therefore make the most of each and every
day – an awesome motto to live by.

Lights, Camera…..Merry Christmas!!

Christmas in Kendari, Indonesia is a special occasion, not because of the presents on Christmas day oh no no no there is much more to Christmas than this and I got to experience it first hand. When I first arrived in Kendari 4 months ago the Christmas preparations already began, yes that is how serious the people are. The celebrations started on the weekend of the 1st December…

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My program in Kendari allowed me to visit various churches, as such I was invited by the youth to attend their Christmas celebration which they plan months in advance. The services are held outside Kendari in various village churches where the Youth are involved in preparing the service and interacting with the local youth. This to me showed the true spirit of Christmas, coming together and helping each other showing love as God has shown us by giving us his son on Christmas Day.


I had the privilege of attending a Christmas service on another Island with one of the Youth Groups, here I got to experience a service with all the glitz and glam of a Broadway production. The singing was amazing, the backdrop eye catching, they even had smoke and ofcourse everything was filmed.


The Christmas plays are also well put together delivering the core message of Christmas but some had a little twist from the usual birth of Jesus but rather focusing on why Jesus was born

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There were however similarities from my home (Cape Town and Elim) in the form of the lighting of candles by the children and singing Silent Night under candle light…yeah seems no matter where you are some things are the same which is amazing.

On Christmas Eve I attended the service at the biggest congregation of the Gepsultra Church in Kendari set against the backdrop of The Garden of Eden the Christmas play focused on the Original Sin and the reason why God sent us his Son Jesus. Indonesia has various cultures and tribes, I enjoyed that they added this element into the drama too by dressing up in various traditional costumes and at the end we danced with some Papuan dancers.

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Christmas day was similar to South Africa, we attended the Church service, here I dressed up as Joseph and was part of the welcome procession and a photobooth at the end of the service, my good deed for the day. I visited various friends and family homes and did the usual….eat, eat and sleep…yip another similarity with South Africa.


Just when I thought the celebrations were over on the 27th December another service was held combining all churches within Kendari even the Governor of Kendari was in attendance.


Yes it has been a busy season but enjoyable, I am thankful and grateful for the opportunity, wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

London to Iquitos

The world is rapidly changing, climate change is destroying our rainforests, famine is killing our people and we are living through a pandemic that has changed our lives forever….we are gearing ourselves towards a new normal. 2020 the start of a new decade the start of a new mindset…

Let me start at the beginning, a couple of months ago my girlfriend tagged me in a link on facebook for an upcoming show on Netflix called Down To Earth with Zac Efron. I just finished watching it and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

At first it did not catch me, I think it was because it had a famous actor as a host so I thought it was going to be another publicity stunt but as I watched further the content of the show and the emotions captured enticed me, these are the type of things that I love….learning about different cultures and experiences of people in their own backyard.

The journey starts off in Iceland, think thermal baths and renewable energy – there are some interesting things going on in Iceland more than just the northern lights. Next they move onto to France and nope they are not drinking french champagne. They are actually in France for the water booooom mind blown right!!!.

This is where the show caught my attention, I learnt that there is someone who actually tastes water for a living, pure water can do wonders for the mind, body and soul.

In Costa Rica they go zip-lining through the jungle and lower their carbon footprint by living off the land, this is my type of journey, my eyes were starting to light up and reminded me of my trips to Thailand, India and Indonesia.

What is the key to longevity? Apparently it is long walks, in Sardinia (a place I never heard of before), an island that boasts a notable amount of centenarians, here they listen, learn and discover the secrets behind living a long healthy life. This episode brought back memories of my grandparents, my Oupa always encouraged reading out of the Book of Knowledge (Encyclopedia) and my Ouma was the one who listened to my crazy stories (my blog is actually dedicated to her).

In Lima, I learnt words like bio-piracy and cryopreservation…..the question is asked what would the world be without potatoes?

Next up is Puerto Rico, this was another heart-warming episode and also empowering for women, it is amazing to see what the mayor of Puerto Rico is doing for her country after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. We need more women in leadership positions maybe this is the decade of change.

In London we get a birds eye view from the London Eye at pollution and the measures in place to reduce it, again it shows that a little effort can go a long way and in doing so it could just spark a change in the mindset of people for the greater good.

Last stop Iquitos, after such a long and interesting journey they head to the Amazon River, a spiritual “enlightenment ceremony” is the perfect way to reflect on what was learnt and how this can be used going forward, even just watching a show like this with an open mind I think it can change you.

This journey started out of curiosity and it ended up as life-changing, the end of the last episode puts this whole show into perspective, I would recommend it as a must-watch and for us to continue asking questions.

The world needs saving not for us but for our future generations……”…our time is short, even if we live to be a hundred years old it goes by so fast, I want to make a difference in whatever time I have, it’s a nice world we’ve got here – LET’S MAKE IT LAST” – Zac Efron

This is the day

This is the day the Lord has made.

It is amazing how the Lord works when you have a purpose, I have come to realize that the saying the Lord works in mysterious ways is true. As part of the EMS volunteer programme we as volunteers are given various topics to report about each month , this month was religion and everyday life. Each day is a blessing and as the sun rises in the east (another saying that is true as we wake up really early here in Indonesia, some of my host families were surprised if I woke up 5 minutes later than the usual time of 6am….but hey the early bird catches the worm right hmmm seems like my experience in Indonesia has brought all these sayings to life.).

My programme for the past three months consisted of visiting various churches within the Church of Gepsultra, this gave me a wide impression of the importance of religion and everyday life in Kendari especially since Christianity is a minority religion which makes up about 10% of the population. There are 5 recognized religions in Indonesia (Muslim, Christianity, Catholic, Buddahsim, Hinduasim and Konghuchu).

Religion plays an important role in peoples lives in Kendari, from schooling to home life it all revolves around the love of God and praising him through song, dance and prayer. Singing is one of the main pastimes and with choir practice almost everyday of the week, each division within the church has a choir and the people enjoy using the talent God gave them to praise the Lord to the fullest.

Family prayer meetings are held almost every day, these prayer meetings are like a feast, after each service a huge dinner is prepared. The prayer meetings are all well attended.

I am based at a christian school during the day, every Monday morning a worship service is prepared and led by the students. I was amazed at how well prepared each service was and how willing the students are to sing, pray and worship. The school also has Muslim students and teachers who have a separate service.

The Indonesian motto Berbeda Tetapi tetap satu (Unity in diversity) can be seen in the way the various religious groups live in harmony with each other, Churches and Mosques flourish as people flock to the services some of these institutions are situated on opposite streets from each other. There is a Church and Mosque in Kendari which is separated by one wall as a symbol of this unity.

 

Indo report picture 1

I have also noticed this unity at the school as two boys, one Muslim and one Christian were proud to announce to me that they are best friends.

At the last church I visited I met a man Mr. Miswan Sonaru whose father was one of the first original Kolaki Tribes to convert from Islam to Christianity and became a missionary. Mr Sonaru’s wife was also Muslim before they got married and she converted to Christianity. We had an interesting conversation, he is a faithful man and loves God. His children are all named after someone in the bible.

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While attending Sunday service and various family prayer meetings, because of the language barrier it challenged me to read my bible with more understanding as I would have to translate from the Sermon also challenging my listening skills…as I mentioned before the Lord works in mysterious ways and He indeed gives us each day as a blessing to be praised.

Beloved Community

Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.


https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-beloved-community-dr-_b_4583249#:~:text=Martin%20Luther%20King%20popularized%20the,of%20one’s%20fellow%20human%20beings.


In the midst of the current pandemic where we should be standing in solidarity with our fellow brothers and sisters to find a cure, the systematic issues of racism, inequality and poverty have become a cause for concern as many countries face financial difficulties.


The South African members of the EMS International Youth Network (YouNet) together with the EMS Youth department organized the first digital multi-national YouNet Seminar this past weekend, 33 delegates from four different countries (South Africa, Germany, Ghana and Indonesia) came together under the theme Beloved community.


I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to be a part of this meeting, we were exposed to the above topic in an interesting and interactive way led by Rev. Seth Naicker. His style of lecturing was one of interactive and engaging conversation using the digital platform as best he could to have all participants involved in the discussion. The concept of Beloved Community is broad but if broken down into specifics that affect you it becomes more manageable, with the group of delegates our minds were opened as we were taught to ask questions, What? Why? And When? – to not just accept things as they are. The lecture was thought provoking and I am sure each and every person in attendance found some form of growth. We discussed and tackled challenges in our church, communities and countries especially around the Black Lives Matter movement as it affects us all, and through this conversation and the views shared we were able to uplift and enrich each other in encouragement to go out and be the leaders we are meant to be.


What stood out for me or as we called it my “precious pearl of the day” was the following Xhosa song sang at weddings in South Africa…


Tswang tswang tswang le bone ngwana utshwana lil colourdi…


Translation: Come out come out and see that the child looks like a coloured.


As a “coloured” South African hearing this song I felt like it was a nice song thinking that it was meant as a form of expression showing love to the coloured community, but after a deeper understanding and discussion my eyes were opened to a different way of thinking.


The above song could be a depiction of saying that people are getting excited that the child is of a fairer skin colour and that makes them better than the rest, in this context I think it does not add value to the concept of Our Beloved Community as we should not be scared to be embraced as beautiful no matter the colour of our skin, education, background etc. – we are all Human Beings and should be treated as such.


The importance of the lecture was not just Beloved Community but also a way of sharing and listening to different viewpoints, each person has a story to share and if we take the time to listen, we are able to understand and comprehend where people are coming from. We should not just confine our thinking to our own “people’ but strive to open our minds to the stories of all people and we might just get a glimpse of Our Beloved Community in them.


Is time to wake up, there are too many Somnumbulists (sleepwalkers) out there just going through the motions, the lecture encouraged us to speak out and act.


Isaiah 40:31 – But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.


Let us soar on wings like Eagles and trust that The Lord will guide us through these trying times and give us courage to act accordingly.


You have a story, what is it? – Share Your Story.

Media Release: Cape Cultural Collective facilitates music for short film set to premiere in the United States next month

Musicians working under the banner of the Cape Cultural Collective have provided the music for a short fiction film set in District 6 during the forced removals. The film premieres in the United States next month.

The film includes original music composed by Mansoor Jaffer, Wayne Barthies and Mark Jannecke. The three guitarists as well as percussionist Bradley Lodewyk and banjo player Shuaib Morris made up the team that went into Eastern Acoustics Penny Lane Studios to have the music recorded. This initiative represented a new area of endeavour for the CCC.

The Divergence Film Foundation non-profit company and Green Leaf Films (Pty) Ltd announced late last week that the World Premier of ADDRESS UNKNOWN will take place at the BlackStar Film Festival in Philadelphia on 21 August 2020.

A few days later the news came through that the film will also feature at the 41st Durban International Film Festival in September.

The 24-minute film centres on a postman in District Six who faces the daily trauma of setting out to deliver letters and finds many of the intended recipients no longer living there. Against the backdrop of the 1976 rebellion, he sets off to Bonteheuwel in search of his childhood friend.

Nadine Angel Cloete (Action Kommandant) directed the film, which stars Stefan Erasmus (Trackers), Irshaad Ally (Nommer 37) and Bianca Flanders (The Riviera). Anton Fisher, a former journalist and anti-apartheid activist who was exiled in the eighties, wrote the script. Respected author Rehana Rossouw is an executive producer and Dominique Jossie the co-producer.

The announcement came just a week after the CCCs work was shared on a global anti-racism rally on 10 July 2020 that included people from the UK, Palestine, South Africa and the United States.

We are thrilled at this latest development, said Zenariah Barends, chairperson of the CCC Board. Covid 19 has disrupted our operation, but new opportunities are opening up and we are now sharing our work with audiences in other parts of the country and beyond.

Board member Ncebakazi Mnukwana said the project was a first for the CCC. With the music for the film, we have now expanded to another area of creativity, she said. It adds to the range of programmes we have done successfully over the years including choral music, community cultural concerts, human rights projects and theatre productions.

The film was produced in association with the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF). If you want to view the film via the BlackStar festival on 21 August, please visit http://www.blackstarfest.org or the Durban International Film Festival at http://ccadiff.ukzn.ac.za

The CCC is a growing arts and culture movement that brings communities together and promotes personal and collective development through the Arts.

Issued by the Cape Cultural Collective
For more information, contact: Elizabeth Schutter on 084 616 2687 or Kay Jaffer on 082 202 3131 or email capeculturalcollective@gmail.com
FB: Cape Cultural Collective Website capeculturalcollective.org.za

Makan Makan Tidur!!

Makan Makan Tidur….translation EAT,EAT, SLEEP!!

Another month has passed; time really flies when you are having fun. My schedule here in Kendari has been really hectic, I am writing this post from my 5th host families home as I move every two weeks to a different congregation within the Church of Gepsultra.

I am also currently teaching English to grades 4 – 6 after teaching grades 10 – 12 for the past three weeks, this was a real challenge but by using my intuitive and language skills, mixing Bahasa Indonesia with Bahasa English we had fun and I enjoyed the experience. Being thrown out of your comfort zone really does pose it’s challenges but it also allows for growth and gaining new skills if you are open to change, some real valuable lessons are being learnt.

But this post is actually about food so let’s dig in…..

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After two months in Kendari, Indonesia I feel like I have been here longer it is starting to feel like home, besides the loving people there is also the food which I have come to enjoy. At first it was a bit overwhelming to have a huge breakfast with no cereal and not knowing the difference between breakfast, lunch and supper as all meals are the same as what I would have for dinner back home in South Africa.

A typical breakfast consists of rice, pork or fish and vegetables but because I am staying with different host families I get to experience the difference in cultures and have seen some differences but many similarities in food preparation.

My favorite food is the chicken, the pork and Coto Makassar (beef stew)…I also tried the traditional food Sinonggi but did not like it as it was too slimy for my liking. In Kendari  dog meat is also eaten, I have not seen how it is prepared and I do not think I would like to as this is something we do not eat in South Africa  I admit that I have tried it.

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If you like your food spicy you will love the food in Kendari, everything is served with chillies even a fruit salad. My stomach has grown accustomed to this, I think this is a sign…they say a man’s heart lies in his stomach – I guess I am falling in-love with this place.

Kendari is also known for its fish as it is easily accessible from the many fisherman in the area, a favourite is Ikan Bakar which in South Africa would be a Fish braai…again this is served with chillies so be warned.

I participated in the process of pulling out cassava and helped in the preparation which was real fun as I have never done this before.

With our differences, food is the one thing that brings us together, and during the times we have eaten together we have also shared many stories and laughed together.

Just like in South Africa after we eat then we sleep the similarities are hilarious – Makan Makan TIdur… translation EAT, EAT, SLEEP.

 

 

13 Reasons Why….

…we will we survive.

“A good friend once said to me: “I can love you and still let you go”. So, Hannah, I love you and I let you go. I miss you and I hope that wherever you go next, you feel peace, you feel safe, in a way that you never did here. Wherever you go next. I hope you know that I love you” – Clay Jensen, 13 Reasons Why https://13reasonswhy.fandom.com/wiki/Bye

It all started with Hannah Baker, 7 Tapes with 13 Reasons Why she did what she did…and the rest spiralled out of control culminating in 4 seasons of highs and lows, social issues and heavy emotion.

This series is an emotional rollercoaster, the first season is the most intense and came at a time when depression and teenage suicide was rife in the world and still is to this day…..the issues depicted in all 4 seasons are real, it may be dramatically played out but they are real, teenagers and adults alike go through these struggles on a daily basis.

What I learnt from this show is that in the end love will conquer all, the love of those around you is what helps you through the worst of times……we may not feel it at that exact moment but if we choose to live, face the demons inside our minds and accept the love from those who truly care for us we can endure the worst storms.

The series opens up various issues that need to be openly spoken about, it can be used as an educational tool to help those in need……

1. You Are Worthy

2. You Are Strong

3. You Are Beautiful

4. You Are a Winner

5. You Are a Survivor

6. You Are Free

8. You Are a Winner

9. You Are Amazing

10. You Are Magical

11. You are Powerful

12. Your Life Matters

13. YOU ARE LOVED!!!

I write this post in a time when the world is changing, this virus has opened us up to ourselves…brought us into isolation opening up our minds, it has led us to face our fears and it is so easy to slip into a dark space without the things that we used to keep us safe…..change is difficult but with change comes a new understanding and there may even be a higher purpose for this change….so continue to show up and embrace the love that is found in each new day….WE WILL SURVIVE!!!!

” ….Choose to live. ‘Cause even on the worst day, there are people who love you. There’s new music waiting for you to hear, some… something you haven’t seen before that will blow your mind in the best way. Even on the worst day, life is a pretty spectacular thing.”- Clay Jensen Graduation Speech https://13reasonswhy.fandom.com/wiki/Graduation