There is a sad theme that haunts the small and remote communities that we are travelling through this year. The lack of high schools in these towns means that many learners either have to go to a secondary school in one of the larger towns with hostel accommodation or have to travel over huge distances by bus or some other form of transport. Neither is a viable option for these impoverished families.
This means that many of the bright-eyed children to whom we are handing Bibles this week will drop out of high school simply because it is what their situations dictate. And so the poverty cycle continues. “There is brokenness and loss here because there are children here who aren’t going to make it. They are our future, but there isn’t money or any way or means to help them realise their dreams,” Carina Francke summed up the situation this evening.
Janette Fourie prays with learners after blessing them with their Bibles.
“Most of them want to be doctors, lawyers, nurses or serve in the police service. When I tell them that they will need a matric certificate to pursue those careers it is as if they aren’t aware of that fact. “What I feel we can do to plough back into these communities, apart from giving them Bibles, is to give something of ourselves by speaking to the hearts of these children. So that they can know that someone, somewhere, cared enough to visit them and tell them that they are important. That is something that has eternal value.”
Chris Devenish shows a couple of boys how to read the Bible.
On a more positive note, one of our first stops this morning was at Joubertina Primary School, where we were welcomed with open arms. The principal told us that he was a product of that same school and that he has been a teacher there for the last 35 years. “It is no coincidence that you are here today,” said the principal of another school. “We just had representatives from Correctional Services, the police and Social Development visit us before you came,” the principal said.
Maréne de Wet tells the children about the cross.
They were joined by a prison inmate who told them his story and how sorry he was for the turn his life took. The children all agreed that they wanted to stay on the right path.
“There is the tool that will tell you how to stay on the right path,” he said pointing to the row of Bibles meant for his Grade 7 learners.
Gerard Genis illustrates a point by using his pocket knife.
An update on our injury list: Alet didn’t break any bones and was discharged this evening. However, Gerard Genis cut his shin badly whilst mounting his bike and then needed to be rushed to hospital for stitches. It will be his turn to spend the night in hospital in George.
All the pupils of Joubertina Primary School had the opportunity to listen to what the Word Riders had to say.
The children thank the Word Riders for their Bibles in a very special way.