At first, it felt novel to be part of the strictest lockdown in the world.
41 days later, the novelty has worn off...
For our family, in a suburb of Cape Town, our lockdown life probably looks a lot like yours. Asher is moaning about digi-school. Chesney's dance program is on hold. Tonya is learning to teach and train via Zoom. However, the occasional military tank rumbles down our street. The police presence is always visible. (Breaking lockdown results in fines or arrests.) The nation has an 8pm curfew. Our only visitors have been baboons as they (and in some parts penguins) have free reign of the quiet streets. This week, we've finally been allowed outdoors to walk dogs or exercise from 6 to 9 am.
However, if you live in a township, (like the vast majority of South Africa) lockdown might mean you're facing starvation. There have been riots, grocery stores looted, and even a garbage truck was robbed... for food. There's few credit cards in townships. It's a cash only life. No work today = no food today.
For this pandemic season, we're shifting our focus to feeding folks in our beloved township of Masi... and a few others. (Including the neighborhood where the garbage truck was robbed.)
A co-worker named our What's App group: "Feed A Few." When the need is overwhelming, you do what you can, even if it is only a drop in the ocean. Jesus treated the poor as his treasure. A beautiful liturgical prayer says... "Make us worthy to serve" those living in poverty. There is a depth of truth in those words that I understand just a little more each year we live here.
In the past 41 days... we've delivered enough food to feed 73 families for a week.
By tomorrow, we'll have doubled that!
Today... we filled up an entire truck bed and large car trunk with food to distribute food through our networks.
Tomorrow... Kevin picks up a large truck load of food designated for the families of children who've been part the Clever Kids tutoring program in Masiphumelele.
THANK YOU TO THOSE DONATING FOR FOOD!
Food has made it into the hands of refugees, a woman whose house burned down, a cancer patient, a precious elderly couple, lots of children... and so many more. We're able to do this because we've discipled/worked with/befriended Christian leaders living in vulnerable communities. They know exactly who's going hungry. We follow their lead.
The crowd in this township is waiting for government food parcel trucks. There's no social distancing when you're afraid there won't be enough. The government is making valiant efforts to meet the need, but there are so many who fall between the cracks. That's where we want to help.
This image shows what lockdown is like in a typical township shack. Many don't even have windows or running water. Bathrooms and taps are often outside and shared by surrounding neighbors. Most say, "sheltering at home" is untenable.
The photo in this article is Masiphumelele. Some received food parcels from the government; some did not.
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Kevin and Tonya Stanfield
Serving in South Africa since 2007