Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Maeghan the Marathoner (pictures coming soon!)

Those are two words that I NEVER expected to see in the same sentence! But miracles do happen, and this last Friday I successfully completed 12 kms of my first-ever African relay marathon. It was also the first relay-marathon for this community to see…

Let me go back about a month ago. We gathered for our Wednesday prayer meeting at the Masoyi Home Based Care office. One of the prayer concerns was for a child-headed home that had burned down in a terrible fire the night before. There were 4 children, ages 17 to 6, staying in the home. The oldest child, a 17 year old boy named Vincent, passed away in the fire. The three young girls, Thandeka, 11, Zinhle, 8 and Catherine, 6, were able to escape. All of there belongings were destroyed, and the house was burnt beyond recognition. I knew Thandeka through our girls’ program. She is a bright, vivacious girl with these killer dimples that kinda melt your heart.

That afternoon, I traveled out to visit the girls with our orphan care coordinator and Nomsa. The girls were very quiet and withdrawn, and since I couldn’t understand the adult conversation, we played games together and took silly pictures. I held little Catherine in my arms and cried quietly in confusion before God. I wanted to fix everything by buying a new house for them, but my savings simply wasn’t going to cut it.

That’s where the marathon came in…a fellow Canadian volunteer, Michelle, met a family in a nearby refugee community that also stole her heart. We began to plot and scheme, and a week later, we had 13 volunteers from Australia, Zambia, South Africa, America and Canada committed to running in the first-ever Hands at Work Relay Marathon, cleverly titled the Home Run (get it? We were running to raise funds for homes…haha.).

E-mails were sent, and the word was spread through local businesses and churches. A mere 3 weeks later, last Friday, we all gathered at 6 AM to pray and start the run through the hilly community of Masoyi, stunningly clad in our stunning red Home Run t-shirts. Over $2000 was raised when I left last Friday, and that is enough to build the basic homes for both families.

If you would like to contribute (we want to furnish the homes with beds, stoves, and such), here are the links for the Paypal site that is collecting donations:

Select to make Home Run Donation

The family from the refugee community, Flora and Themba, had an incredibly story to share. Flora is a 32 year old AIDS widow who stays alone in a home made of sticks and plastic. When she heard her house would be built, she said she wants her children to come home. One thing you will find in Africa is there are always more family members you don’t know about! When Flora’s husband died, she was forced to send her children, ages 10 to 17, to a local farm to work (basically as slaves, only receiving food) because she couldn’t feed them. She hasn’t seen them in nearly 2 years. They are all coming to live with her in their new home, and they will all go to school for the first time EVER starting in the new year.


And here are some photos of the day:

Group Photo – All of our team


My team (the Studs)

The first leg of the race ( I am the one in the front on the left)

We even had community members come and run beside us!

At the finish, the girls were able to come from school. Thandeka started to cry when she heard the news, and we discovered, when we brought them home, that their older brother, Vusi, has come home since the death of their brother to care for them (like I said, family members just appear out of nowhere). He will be part of the team that rebuilds the home.

This is the home of the girls after it was destroyed:

It was an incredible way to end my time here. To see the ripple effect of something as simple as a relay marathon has inspired me to want to do more. I don’t have to work for the UN or some big organization. Person by person, little by little, people will be cared for. Families will be brought together. And the darkness that is the AIDS pandemic will see light and hope and love, all by the power of God. That is my prayer….

Grace and peace,

Maeghan

4 Comments:

Anonymous Heather said...

I LOVE MAEGHAN RAY!

I love her passion.
I love the way she impacts my life even from far away.
I love her humility.
I love her biscotti.

I love Maeghan Ray.

And I miss her.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Rebecca Ann Lynde said...

Wow! Do I miss you!!!! Stay strong in Christ. I hope God has our paths cross soon. Love and prayers always

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love my daughter too... dad

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're doing some good work Maeghan. Keep it up.
Kristin thought that you would be home in September. She looks forward to seeing you.

We all hope to see you at Xmas.

Love, Uncle Steve and family

5:02 PM  

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