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I was amazed and baffled, because this remark dated back to around 4 years ago when I had been sitting with him on the bench in front of Mercy House and had told him about my dream. Never ever in my wildest imaginings did I EVER imagine it would come true, simply because I could not conceive of us ever having the sort of money required for its fulfillment. Nevertheless, we are allowed to dream, it makes life more wonderful!!!! Like blowing bubbles into the air - they do pop, but while they last, they are so beautiful!!! THIS time the BUBBLE DiD NOT POP!
Once I had assured Father John that of course I had never given up on that dream, he proceeded to tell me that he had an American man who was looking for a project. Father John had not forgotten my dream! I kind-of gasped and lost my breath, felt as if my jaw was dropping at the prospect that my dream might really come true... Mercy House is built on a hillside and the slope is quite steep. The house has always had a three - tiered garden, level one, the front door level where we go in and out, level 2 lower down where we sit in the sun and socialise, and level 3 right low down at the bottom, where we have always hung our washing... and dumped too much junk...
I have always had that vision in mind of filling in the lower level to bring it up to level 2 height and having a building constructed there on that bottom section of the garden. Many times I envisaged the whole thing, even drew plans for it years ago! I could see it there before me, even though I did not ever think it might come true!
Father asked me to define what we wanted and sent it to his benefactor who duly agreed: the magic happened so fast: hey presto, the money was in our bank. A really large amount, more than we have ever been given before. Building commenced around Mid April and the project is just completed. progress photo shows early work.
This pic shows back wall of level 3 demolished and fill in starts. This was mid April.
What exactly is this centre, you will wonder...
Well if you had visited Mercy House before today, you would have found a folded table tennis table blocking the front passage, a soccer table crammed into our teenage boys' room making moving around difficult, and a pool table slotted behind one of the bunk beds, unusable there - and all because we had absolutely no place for recreation, for meetings and gatherings: our lounge is very narrow and small - a converted original passage... So the need for this recreation centre was very great and Father acknowledged that as soon as I pointed it out. So we constructed a roofed patio, with 2 small store rooms at the one side. It has been very expensive, not so much because of the structure, but because of the huge cost of filling in an area 11m by 6m and around 2m deep with rocks etc. Every one looked forward so much to the happy event. I joked that it should be called the "TDD Centre" - Teacher Diana's Dream Centre! Which of course we will not do.
A huge debt of gratitude is owed to our unknown American benefactor and also to Father John who was so caring as to divert the very magnanimous donation to Mercy House.
Today, 30 May, the building was finished. A sparkling jewel at the bottom of our garden and a huge testimony to the fact that God is with us and has shown his great kindness to Mercy House, with a gift beyond imagining!. Since the building was now complete, we cleaned the place up and moved our 3 games tables down there: pool table, soccer table and the table tennis table slotted behind a screening wall. Everyone was thrilled.
We were very happy to once again welcome BA pilot Stefan Bartkowiak, on his 2nd visit to us at the end of March. In the photo attached he is seen fixing bicycles with our boys. His visit was like a whilrwind, and one that blew only good things in! Stefan did not waste a minute of his 2 days with us, doing everything he could lay hands on to help: replacing bulbs with long life ones, fixing a toilet basin, repairing bikes and buying a huge amount of groceries and toiletries for us. Thank you Stefan, you are remembered with much affection by all.
A newcomer to our Mercy work is Rosemary Benjamin, a Jewish lady, who heard about us from a fellow early morning jogger! She is trained in teaching English to foreigners and hopes soon to start giving lessons to some of our Mercy House people. In the meantime she and her daughter Sara, organised a picnic at the park which was just so enjoyable, so much so that we are going to try to repeat it every 2 months or so. It was a day also to celebrate 3 birthdays - the celebrants can be seen in the attached photo blowing out the candles on the common birthday cake, which Rosemary also provided. Left is Nicci who has just turned 5, in the middle is David Pantland, who retired from being principal at the nearby school last December and who is now part of our Mercy "team"; on the right is Riccardo, one of our orphans from Rwanda. A great day was had by all. Our repeat will be on Sunday 15 June which will be the birthday of Jean Paul, one of our house leaders. We plan this time to have novelty races just to add to the fun.
To all St Richards parishioners , a big thank you for your moral and financial support which gives us not only the courage but also the means to continue. We do still have to put an extra door- exit into Mercy House and build a side wall, which we will be able to do once further donations have come in. Our special thanks to the Finns, Judy McGregor and Stefan Bartkowiak for their tireless efforts on our behalf.
To all: we only live once - so enjoy!! It's a magnificent autumn day here.