We don’t even know where to start, over the last month everything has been changing daily. We have had a wonderful visit from Kate’s mum & have been truly blessed by her during her time here. We dropped her to the airport early this morning. Liz we will all miss you!
As of tomorrow (Monday 7th Nov) we are officially taking on the role of “house parents”. This is an awesome privilege but comes with huge responsibility. Currently there are 6 children in the haven – two 3 month olds, a 2-year-old, a 4-year-old, an 8-year-old, and an 11-year-old; plus Joseph & Reuben. We are waiting to be registered by social services to increase this number of children from 6 to 10 (plus J & R). The project managers (Gert & Eline) & the caregivers have been fantastic at supporting, teaching & encouraging us. Until now we have had 2 caregivers working with us to provide extra support as we settle into our new lives & learn our role. As we are taking on more of the responsibility this will drop to one caregiver.
We quickly realised that the idea of a “day off”, here, is not like a day off in the UK. We live, work & sleep in the same place. It is like living with extended family who need us to care for them. We love this dynamic. A big part of the ethos behind Zanethemba is for it to be as close to a regular God centred family as possible & not an institution. The challenge becomes for us to carve out some time each week for the “Cathcart family” in the midst of the “Zanethemba family”. Joseph and Reuben have been amazing & have really embraced being part of the Zanethemba family. God has really blessed us with them.
Everyday our day starts around 6 a.m. Breakfast is prepared & then we get the children washed, dressed & eating. The older two are dropped to school (& Joseph to play school) & while the others take part in a structured play time, the two babies are washed & dressed. At 10.00 everyone gets a snack. At 12 one of us leaves to pick up Joseph & the older two children. We aim to have lunch at 12.30 but the school run typically delays it. After lunch any child who still needs it goes for a sleep. In the afternoon there is another snack & time of play/walk/activity. The evening meal happens around 5.15pm, after which all the children get ready for bed; bathing, pj’s, stories, etc. At 6.15 we start getting all the children to bed except for the older two who do their homework & stay up until 8pm.
Everyday we aim for the children to get one to one time with both of us, some exercise, educational imput, & time to be children. Once a week we take them all (except the two babies) to the library & we are hoping to take the younger ones to the beach tomorrow morning.
God has been sustaining us through all of this. He has provided us with supernatural energy sustaining us when are energy level drop every evening. His love has been so real to us, & He has been teaching us daily providing wisdom & counsel. He has been settling us in our new life. We feel like we have settled in well & we are looking forward to finally getting our shipping so that we can make our room a bit more like home. We know that there is a lot more “settling” to do but God is here with us & His joy & peace are leading us on.