ALL IS NOT SO "FINE" IN FINETOWN...

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In the middle of April we ventured into a new area to distribute blankets and were very excited as we set off to Finetown, an informal settlement south of Johannesburg!  The Pastor who runs the Day Care Centre we were visiting met us on the side of the road to show us where to go and it was just as well because we would never have found the secluded little shack that houses the Emmanuel’s Day Care Centre. 

 No. 198 – Emmanuel’s Day Care Centre

The area was very quiet (we can normally hear the children laughing and playing when we arrive) and Phillip invited us inside.  In a small room, blocked off by hanging pieces of fabric were around 25 very lethargic and sick little children – we were heart-broken to say the least.  It was difficult to know whether the children were terrified by the sight of Wandi, Wendy and I (my snow white hair does sometimes scare them a little!) or just unwell and unable to show any interest.

We handed out your lovely colourful blankets and warm tops to this obviously sad group of little ones.

 

We also tried very hard to get them to cheer up and smile by playing with them, singing songs and cuddling but not even the toys we handed out could really raise a smile…

 

When we arrived at the Day Care Centre, this little boy was on the potty in a cordoned off area next door.  After he finished he came through and just lay on the floor and was asleep within seconds.  We picked him up and put him on the warm blankets.

 

The shack that the children are currently being cared for in is appalling, but Pastor Phillip does have plans to help the children and he has acquired a piece of property across the road on which he is developing what will be the new Emmanuel’s Day Care Centre.  We only hope that he is able to finish this facility soon and move the children into a safer and healthier environment.

 It is evident that Pastor Phillip cares dearly for these children – this is the site of the new Emmanuel’s Day Care!

 

This is what the children currently call their playground – hopefully in the new premises Pastor Phillip is able to create a warm and cheerful environment in which these children can learn and be loved.

 As we were leaving, Wendy turned back and took this photo – it gives you a good idea of the dismal setting.

Since this visit to Finetown, and despite some incidents of protest action in the area shortly after our first visit, we have been to another five Day Care facilities in the area (we promise to report on each of them!!!).  None of the other Centres have been quite as heart breaking as Emmanuel’s Day Care Centre and we hope that by putting Phillip in touch with the right people, he will be able to achieve his dream of building a Day Care Centre he can be proud of.  We will also be putting Phillip in touch with an amazing organisation called JAM International and will get his children onto their feeding programme.  I will share more about JAM with you in our next report.