Mother’s Day Spoils
This Mother’s Day was extra special for me this year. Not only am I a mother of two gorgeous girls, Bryce and Kaylee but am mother of many at iKhaya. This year I was treated to breakfast in bed by my girls (ok, chocolate cake actually but that’s the way I like my eggs best… in cake ). They stayed up late after begging me to take them to the shop for “something”. They sent me to bed early and got to work in preparation for a morning surprise. It was delish!!! Two of our pre-school boys chose to bless me with their handmade flowers. One added that it is because he loves me; Oh how he melts my heart!! Woolworths in Empangeni supply us regularly with much needed groceries for our home. Occassionally we receive bunches of beautiful flowers and so I was treated, much to my delight, to fresh flower’s just in time to brighten my day too. And as if that was not enough, Solid Ground Church honoured each mom at our Sunday services and gave us each a chocolate too. Taking time to bless our mom’s is a treat in itself but to be on the receiving end is humbling as I realise the enormous role we play in the little lives we touch through love,care and parenting as moms at iKhaya.
Breaking the Rules
Kid’s love camping out whether it in in the lounge, under a table or even in the backyard. Allowing kids to be adventourous and breaking out from the norms can be somewhat liberating for a parent while it is beyond exciting for the kids. I love to let them explore and try new challenges and one of my mottos is “if it can’t hurth them then why not?”. These two decided to camp on my veranda. Dressed in winter woollies and armed with a stack of blankets they made a bed for themselves in a quest to brave the cold. I checked on then before retiring myself and decided they need extra protection from the cold. I added a barracade using my overturned table and a few chairs with pillows and blankets drapped over them. I, needless to say, I never got much sleep but they survived the night oblivious to my interventions and regular checking-up on their wellbeing, so much so that they were thrilled to see the enclosure they found around them in the morning!
Learning or Playing?
Every morning we start the baby program with playdough time. Sometimes they make pretend food and use cutlery to “eat” it with. Making snakes, snails, balls or flattening the dough and using cookie cutters to cut out shapes is all great fun for the kids. Little do they realise the number of lessons they are learning while they play away. Making learning FUN is key but putting a little extra thought into an activity can increase the benefits for our kids. So moms get cooking and make some playdough too. Here our kids got to work on their fine motor skills, exercise hand eye coordination, practise eating with cutlery, learned to hold and cut with a knife, stimulated their creativity and artistic talents and fine tuned their listening skills.
We celebrated in style with our 4 year old Princess. These are heart warming moments as we witness and share in the sheer joy of a child who is made the centre of attention, loved on and adored as we with cake and gifts for their birthday. It is occassions like these that we realise the difference we make in the children’s lives, in partnership with you all. Thank you friends for your gifts of love that make all we do possible.
Daily life for our kids is very eventful and full. School followed by homework, school projects and studies keeps them busy for the most part, while the many outdoor games, walks, bike riding, parties and other activities keep them on the go and active. Here is a little photographic taste of some of life’s eventfulness in our home.
From My Heart
“Either we spend time meeting children’s emotional needs by filling their cup with love or we spend time dealing with the behaviours caused from their unmet needs. Either way we spend the time.” Pam Lee
These are such wise and profound words. Read them and let them settle in your heart for a moment. These words don’t only apply to the parenting of our own children. We can meet the needs of siblings, cousins, neices, nephews, puplis, friends’ kids and so on. But why should it stop there? We all have God given talents, gifts and skills that can be spent by giving our time to others in our community. God called us all to love one another and to care for others in need.
Matthew 25 v 34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” The saying “broken crayons still color” is significant to me as I watch the kids of iKhaya growing up. All of us are affected by our pasts and even been “broken”. But so often we have learned or been been taught to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and to carry on. But, sometimes this is just not enough to bring healing and resolve from the trauma we faced, and deliberate help is required to bring about recovery and change.
And so I feel God stirring in me the need for us to invest ourselves in the lives of others. To be a family and community who cares for one another. Do you have time? Are you a trained preschool teacher, counsellor/ psychologist/ therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, medical doctor, sports coach or have a talent to share? Your free time is our treasure and I would love to have a chat with you.
Kindest regards Loressa, kids and team
Life’s Building Blocks
Children are precious gifts from God. As they grow up, each life experience is like a building block being added to the “project”, with the final goal in mind. To see each child whole, successful, healed, well loved and then to strive daily to meet these goals is us adding these building blocks one by one. When life meets with a challenge we have the opportunity to teach the child how to react in a way that will either aid or hinder their progress and in so doing the the outcome will either add character to the “project” or serve as a broken pillar or missing brick in the final “project”. As teachers, parents, caregivers, child minders, grandparents and even friends we have an impact on the lives around us. Let’s choose to be a positive influence, an encourager, an edifyer and motivator that sees the possibilities not the obstables when guiding our children to strive for their best in all they do and in all God has in store for them!
Until We Meet Again
Julie served as a volunteer at iKhaya for 6 months. She arrived from France feeling a little overwhelmed by the language, cultural and social differences she encountered. She is French and we set her up to stay with our existing German volunteers. They were all faced with speaking to one another in English (second languages all round!) all while trying to bond when the Germans had arrived together and have their home country in common.
But Julie is strong in mind, heart and character and she faced the challenges head on and came out stronger andbraver for it. She is a new person for the time she invested with us. She left her flavour with us and the kids grew to know and love her dearly. We said goodbye knowing this was the beginning, not the end of a frendship. See you again and again dear Julie! We miss you already so hurry “HOME”.
Sonja Swim School
The swimming season has come to a close. Our kiddies enjoyed Learn to Swim Lessons through Sonja Swim School. Sonja and Debi have been super stars as they gave up their free time to teach our kids with passion and care. To end off the season Sonja Swim School held a Fun Day in Meerensee. Our kids won prizes, received certificates of participation and simply enjoyed the morning together. We are looking forward to the new season with great anticipation!
Career day at school created an element of excitement in the home as the kids chose what they wanted to be when they grow up or what would be fun to be for a day. We had a nurse, doctor, mechanic, motorbike rider, farmer, cricketer, 2 chefs, a teacher and soccer player!
He is Not Here, He is Risen
Thank you to the folk who gave Easter eggs to us for our Easter Hunt. St Catherine’s School Early Act made little paper Easter baskets too, which we placed on the kids beds to find on Easter morning. Such a sweet gesture, thank you Saints! We serve a RISEN King and we teach our kids to serve and praise Him too. He is our Father and He meets our daily needs. There is never a day that passes that we are not aware of His presence, His love and His provisions. We are living proof that miracles are real today!
Play and Educate
Children are sponges. They watch and learn. They will copy everything we do and say… yes that means both the good, the bad and the ugly! We are responsible for our own behaviour and need to be aware of the influences we have on the children in and around us. Our German volunteers spend many hours teaching, reading and playing with the little pre-school children each morning. Riding bikes, climbing the jungle gym, taking a walk are all part of our mornings. Playdough, painting, the odd pool of mud or an old cardboard box are awesome for making activities more fun.
Dear friends of iKhaya
“Trauma is perhaps the most avoided, ignored, belittled, denied, misunderstood, and untreated cause of human suffering.” Peter Levine I learn life lessons every day. Some through my family, social interactions and some in the work place. Working primarily with previously vulnerable or orphaned children has taught me that whatever we face in life, whether positive or negative, it affects the way we interact, behave and process situations we find ourselves in. We are more and more aware at iKhaya how past truamas affect so many peoples’ lives. Education, emotions, friendships and behaviour are some of the areas in which we see the effects of childhood trauma. Besides professional guidance and counselling for staff and children the best we can do is LOVE one another and each child through the anger and turmoil they face.
If you are a trained counsellor, or would like to contribute towards psychological treatments we would love to hear from you. Please visit our website for our other basic needs or contact me directly to chat about your partnership desires!
With love and greetings,
Loressa and the iKhaya team iKhaya
OUR NEWS - MARCH 2019
Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice
A brand new bundle of girl arrived at iKhaya weighing a mere 2kgs! Too tiny for words but enough to fill our hearts to overflowing! She has been placed into foster care, and is being loved and cherished beyond comprehension. Her foster family is providing the most loving family home for her. Thank you to evey single person who reached out to supply our needs, plus more, to make her transion smooth and us wanting and in need of nothing. Your faithfulness is appreciated and we are so very grateful. God has used each one of you to meet this baby girl’s needs. He is a faithful father who looks after His own!
My Personal Handyman
I get daily “visitors” in my office. The children love to pop in for a chat, to draw a pic, get up to mischief or just for some much needed love and attention. On this occasion we offered this little girlie, after her watching with careful awareness, the screedriver to “fix” the office chair. With a measure of precision, that only a 2 year old has, she got right to work! Times like these melt my heart and give me a moment of pleasure and joy. What a priveledge to work at iKhaya impacting the lives of many children, and adults along the way.
Honouring Our Moms
Raising children is no walk in the park for most parents let alone raising children that are not your own flesh and blood. Then add in the traumatic past our children have experienced and the task becomes so much more complicated. Our ladies give of themselves daily to meet the needs of each and every child at iKhaya and to honour them as mothers, our children treated them to a morning tea. With the help and inspiration from our volunteers, they served their mothers refreshments and showered them with great entertainment and special words from the heart.
Taking advantage of the great outdoors and open spaces that we are blessed with at the property… having a campout under the stars with a bonfire. The mesmerising fire, the dampness of the dew, the treat of eating a picnic supper outdoors and attempting to sleep under the stars were all part of making wonderful memories! The children loved every minute of this adventure and constantly ask when they will do it again! We so often take life’s little things for granted. This is a simple reminder to slow down and enjoy the moments we so easily miss in the course of our busyness.
Open Water Lesson
Sonja Swim School ended the swimming season with a bash! Sonja invited us to the Zululand Multi Sports Club in Richards Bay for an open water swimming lesson, lunch and some play time fun. Did you ever consider that swimming in a dam verses a pool comes with different challenges? When swimming in the pool you can stop, hold on to the edge when tired, and rest if needed. When swimming in the sea or dam you don’t have this option! The water is clear in a pool but open water is most often mirky or dirty and one cannot see the bottom let alone any dangers that lurk below! Kids can easily panic when suddenly they find themselves in deep water and with nothing to hang onto! Swimming in open water is therefore more risky, so one should be fit enough and able to swim reasonable distances before the transition from the pool to open water. There is more to learning to swim than meets the eye! Thank you Sonja and Debi for treating our children to this adventure that came with a hidden life skill too!
Sphe turned 2 this month and celebrated his birthday with his iKhaya siblings. We are truly blessed to be able to spoil each child with a gift from us (the family he knows as his own) and to throw them a small, intimate yet fun party. We do this from the heart to demonstrate the love we have for them and the place they dearly fill in our hearts and lives! Here’s a shout out to those who financially support this initiative. If you too would like to be a part of a birthday party please contact me to get more details. We woud love to have you on board!
Dearest iKhaya friends and family
I count my daily blessings. To work at iKhaya alone, I count as a privelege. To be doing what I love and am passionate about, fulfilling my calling, touching and changing lives, witnessing God’s hand of provision, grace and restoration are some of the daily gifts I am thankful for! Without God and without his people’s obedience and generosity we certainly would not be able to do our work or to do it to the standard we so desire. Providing a better life and a second chance is one thing but to provide each child with a great education with the prospects of tertiary studies and access to job oportunities, learning life and social skills, having healthy, nurishing meals and access to excellent medical care, all while being loved and cared for by “parental figures” are the deeper desires of our hearts. We dream of refining our home structure, even more than we already have, to see each child in a family unit. This would mean building new cluster homes or modifying the existing structures to accomplish this feet. If you feel God stirring you to partner with us in property development please give me a call. Otherwise join us in prayer as we trust God to open the flood gates of His provision for this project.
We love and appreciate you all!
Love and greetings, Loressa and family iKhaya
OUR NEWS - FEBRUARY 2019
What a privilege to be situated in the countryside, on a farm-like property shared with Solid Ground Church. The open spaces are great for getting exercise, fresh air and for sport activities like bike riding, cricket, hockey and so on. Even the babies get to enjoy the newly paved driveways! This little tot built her confidence with walking while pushing the “walker toy” around. Caring for babiesincludes one on one time stimulation for physical, mental and emotional growth and development. We are blessed to partner with APCM in Germany, an agency that sends young, passionate teens our way for a volunteer year of serving and giving to others. Just in case you are wondering… our tiny tot is now dashing around the home with speed already!
Air Products blessed us with this amazing, brand new jumping castle for Christmas. What a treat to have our very own castle to use at our kiddies parties, making them colourful and such fun! If you would like to put a smile on a child’s face for their birthday please contact me, Loressa, to find out how you can get involved with our parties!
Fun to Learn?
Learning and playing are synonms for a pre-schooler. Doing fun activities like dancing to music, dressing up, climbing, swinging, walking and obstacle courses incorporating gmnastic moves all develops and improves balance, logical thinking, creativity, position in space, crossing the midline, core strength and language. No amount of play, whether structured or free, can ever be too much for a developing mind and body. The more FUN it is the more they LEARN! Our wide open spaces plus the use of the Solid Ground Church Youth Centre makes our pre-school mornings extra fun. Bronwyn, our teacher, and our dedicated volunteers make this all happen! Our home is so blessed to incorporate stimulatory learning into the day to day lives of the kids in prepartion for BIG SCHOOL.
Our older school going children get to explore the world beyond the property a whole lot more than the younger ones. They love outings, as we all do! Swimming lessons by Sonja Swim School, Horse Riding Lessons with Teen Volunteers at a neighbouing farm, trips to town to spend their pocket money or to takea playful dip are just a few of the fun times they enjoy. Both big and small kids learn through fun. Social skills including socally acceptable behaviour, public safety, water safety and new life skills (caring and interacting with animals, horse riding and swimming) awareness of the value of money and relying on hard earned cash rather than handouts are some of the valuable lessons being learned as they explore life. A bonus is the fresh air and exercise they get as a freebie!
Almost a Teen…
Celebrating her 12th birthday with school friends and iKhaya siblings. A treasure hunt, mingling and cake of course made her day a treat. Thanks to those who contribute to making our parties possible and for enabling us to give our kids gifts too. Our older children love their monetary gifts which we introduced last year. They get to shop for a new outfit of their choice and save or spend the rest. We are aiming at instilling good spending and budgeting habits all while the children express and develop their individual clothing styles and make choices to either save or spend.
A little of the wild side of life…
Experiencing a taste of our beautiful rural African landscapes and wildlife with Julie before she headed back to France was an absolute MUST. We made a day trip to Hluhluwe Game Reserve and were treated to a lion sighting even if it was a distant view that needed binoculars. But I must sayshe needs to return to see the giraffe that evaded us in a tempt to lure Julie back! We have grown to love Julie in the 6 months that she dedicated her time, love and heart to us here at iKhaya. She left us with a void… her infectious laugh, joking and fun spirit are missed! Until we meet again. We love you Julie!
Dear friends of iKhaya
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the support and love you give to iKhaya. It is the little we each do that makes the task we do possible. Thanks for the special part you play!
With love and blessings
Loressa and the iKhaya family