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Mercy House - News and Good Wishes for 2008

From Diana:

To all our friends who always work so hard for us, or who support our work: many good wishes for the NEW YEAR. Since we last communicated many good things have happened at Mercy House.

The first special happening to mention is quite a historic occasion, captured in the accompanying picture.

Those who saw the TV Carte Blanch video about Innocent of Mercy House can see him here in the photo. Innocent came to us around 1997 and we got him into Grade 10 at school. From the word go he did exceptionally well. Hilary, a lady who used to come and coach our scholars, got to know him and was so impressed that she took him home to live with her and ever since committed herself to helping him. She helped him to get a bursary at Wits University to do a four year Engineering degree. In the photo taken in late December 2007 at Innocent's graduation, Hilary is with Innocent, now a qualified engineer. He has just started his first job in January! So we can add Innocent to our list of achievements: 2 doctors, 4 qualified teachers and 2 more studying for same, 2 accountants, 8 engineering students with Innocent already graduated in same and so we go on!!!

And all this, thanks to all those wonderful sponsors out there who support our work, like St Richards!. It will surely be a great joy to our readers to know that when we first met Innocent he was very, very sore about not knowing if any of his family were still alive, since all had had to flee at the time of the Rwandese genocide and got separated in the process. Innocent was particularly sore about his mother to whom he had been very attached. Well, miracles do happen - after around 9 years of separation, he has been able to trace her, and even spoke to her on the phone. Words cannot be found for this kind of heart-rending experience...

Christmas was a really lovely celebration at Mercy House, as usual!

We had a lunch for our residents and others whom we assist who live out. In the afternoon Father Christmas arrived on the garage roof and descended on a ladder with his gift bag, which can be seen in the attached picture. The Rosebank Union Church did us the huge kindness of wrapping and even naming as many as around 70 gifts, once we had supplied them with names, ages etc.

The following two photos show some of the children at our celebration.

It is the African custom to buy special new clothes for their children every Christmas. This lovely little girl is called Nyota, which means star. Even though her family struggles for survival, they managed to dress her so beautifully for the Christmas party.

Right now, second week in January, we are busy getting children and students back to their schools and colleges.

This is Emmanuel, the brother of Nyota, who is going into Grade 1 this year. It is at this time that monies raised at St Richards Christmas fair comes in so useful as there are uniforms and books etc to pay, also of course study fees.

It is summer here, and when it is hot it is abnormally and exceptionally hot, but now it has rained for days: we could be in England!

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Thanks to all of you!
Diana