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In our progress report last December, we showed a photo of our beloved young Burundian orphan, Shadadi, streaming past all the older boys to win our first (and lengthy) Mercy House Marathon.
Next we see him on the day of his First Holy Communion, which took place not too long after we received him at Mercy House. (He was placed with us by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees - UNHCR, in 2001, at age 7). He is now 16, and what a refined and truly lovely young man he is becoming. When he first came to us, he had suffered very traumatic experiences, having fled with his family in the war in Burundi and then got lost on the way... A long story, but when he reached us it was hard to get him to talk at all....
On Sunday, 19 July, Shadadi was confirmed, shown here at the service. We were very proud of him and he seemed so happy. Shadadi's dream is to become a doctor... well, the history of Mercy House has proved that dreams do come true.
It has been simply wonderful for Mercy House that our BA Pilot, Stefan Bartkowiac, has been able to visit Mercy House 3 times this year. He joined the residents for lunch. On the first two occasions he just did not stop with all his practical work, most of all, his pet hobby, fixing every bike he could lay hands on, or rather, showing our boys how to fix their bikes. On the most recent visit, he spent his time informing himself about the history of Mercy House and taking DVDs to show in the UK, in order to promote interest in Mercy House and above all, to support his proposed two boat trips down the Chichester canal in September, which we would request everyone please to support.
It has been a very great blessing to welcome to Mercy House Safari and Moise. Both are orphans... Safari was orphaned in the genocide when everyone in his family was killed except for himself, then 10, and his little sister of 3 years of age. They were both placed in foster homes. Sadly their lives have been marred with immense sadness, but at last the sun has come out. They are very happy to be in our Mercy House family, Safari hopes to study next year and Moise is already in school. Safari's sister died in childlbirth, leaving the little orphan, Moise behind. Young though he is, Safari has now become a parent! He is legal guardian of Moise and we have the immense joy of having them both around. What a huge blessing they have been to Mercy House. They are very happy with us, in Safari's own words, "Now they can experience what it is to be human again!" Safari hopes to study next year and Moise is already in school. Much of their story remains to be told, later more information will follow about Safari. .
During July we had the privilege of meeting four young students who had come from overseas for their summer holiday to do voluntary work. They were Michal, David and Devin from USA and Younghchen Kim from South Korea. What a refreshing joy to meet them. One of them said that they had seen many charities at work but that nothing had impressed him as much as Mercy House. They flew back home on 19 July and intend to pass the message of Mercy House on and to put us on U Tube in the USA. They took many dvds and intend to send them to BA pilot Stefan so that they can be used in the UK as well. They are shown above with Safari and Moses and his friend.
Diana is delighted that Mick and Penny Finn are organising a summer lunch and sale for Mercy House on August 7th at their home at 5 Laburnum Road. See the Parish Bulletin for further details.
Diana asks - "Please support Penny Finn's Luncheon! It is with immense gratitude that we heard that Judy McGregor, Mick and Penny Finn are again holding their mid-year luncheon for Mercy House. Their dedication to our cause is simply amazing and, we hope, must be heaping up loads of treasures in heaven!!! Penny, Mick and Judy, thank you ever so much. We would like any monies raised to be direct towards paying for Safari to commence his 3 year degree in IT next year".
Penny and her colleagues also know that Diana needs a pied a terre - 'a little room with a loo' at Mercy House. This would avoid her travelling to her own flat, after working late at night, through Johannesburg's dangerous streets. Also there would be room for occasional overnight guests at Mercy House. There's more information to follow about Safari. We hope to support his cause with the Christmas sale. Watch this space!
The picture above is a very happy reminder of the 9 November 2001, when Judy and Gerald visited Mercy House. In the photoc one can see Kasia, our then Polish volunteer, next to Judy and, on the right, Amy, our then USA volunteer. Beside her is Mello, the cripple boy, who is still with us and we continue to assist him with food and rent when we can.
Good luck with the luncheon and we shall pray for good weather.Diana