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Bulletin readers will know that the clothing donated by the Parish at Christmas time never reached Mercy House – the consignment was impounded by SA Customs following a rule prohibiting used goods being imported duty free.
Undeterred, this month St Richard’s held a fundraising event which raised the remarkable sum of £1,045 – converted to Rands and sent to Diana Beamish, who is director of Mercy House in Johannesburg.
She has written with profuse thanks as follows:
“Dear St Richards Friends
"Your generosity has once again proved to quite overwhelming. Today, 11 May I received a fax from the bank that a donation of Rands 12,853.00 had come through to the Mercy Fund from you. This is from the money raised at the Soiree and from further very magnanimous donations from two or three other people. I know that the team workers for this fund raiser at your end are almost dumb-founded that so much was raised. Kind-of makes you lose your breath: Please think of the amount as £12 ,853.00 pounds, because what a pound buys in UK a rand buys here. Indeed, each time you send something through the miracle of the loaves and fishes happens again. All we need to do is be open and listen to His inspirations, commit ourselves to the task in hand and let the miracles happen: the outcome lies in His hands. That is certainly the history of Mercy House from all points of view. Our efforts may seem small, but His generosity is greater. We sincerely thank Helen Floyd, who was the initial inspirator of this fundraiser: she followed up an inspiration that was given to her and Mick and Penny Finn during Advent! We also thank all the other others who prepared this event and the performers and donors. I do pray for our benefactors daily. Each one of you needs to know, that even though you are so far away, you are able from there to contribute in a genuine and significant way to St Richards Mercy work in Africa, a continent in agony due to the ravages of war, and to those youngsters whose lives have been shattered by wars, in particular.
"The case in point this time is Marc Yorinda. He is a most dedicated and outstanding young Rwandan schoolboy, orphaned in the genocide and totally alone. He came to me last year begging me to try to get him into a school. I did and his results stunned everyone. In Grade 11 he was getting 100% for Maths and doing nearly as well in every subject. Clearly he is very, very gifted, academically, and it would be such a very great shame if he were not able to pursue some university studies and use his giftedness for the benefit of humanity, as has been the case of Martin Kalenga.
"Mark wants to do medical research or medicine. He is doing as well in matric this year. My aspiration is to take half of the money just sent through and open a "Mark Yorinda Studies" account, on the understanding that should anything happen to Mark between now and next year, the money would revert back into our general Mercy Fund. I told Mark that we are going to try to raise money for him to pursue further studies next year, and he was quite breathless. As soon as possible I hope to be able to scan in pictures again and will send the website a photo of Mark. He is totally delightful person and very humble and grateful for everything. I once asked him to write his "story" out for me - he lost his entire family in the genocide and was very young at the time - and his reply was: It is such a terrible memory I do not even want to think about it, let alone write down anything. Shame, shame , shame - but we can do our bit to help to make up for his shattering past. Imagine if St Richards could produce a doctor or medical researcher, and pretty brilliant one at that . The rest of the money I want to keep to sustain Mercy House. I have reported before that we need R3000 every month just to cover water, electricity, gas and sewer and garbage removal, so I cannot spend everything on grand projects: the humble daily slog costs heavily and must be catered for or we can't go on.
"I hope that some of you were able to hear the cassette messages from Mercy House that we sent over for the soiree. St Richards has done it again, and we and I personally thank you very very much.