Monday, 6 June 2011

You are still OUR number 1 player, Roger!

On Sunday afternoon we turned on the generator and gathered in the lounge to support Roger Federer in his match against Nadal to win the French Open again.  Prince finally saw who Roger was and what tennis was all about.  Prince attends one of the 7 schools in this community that the Roger Federer Foundation supports.  His support has made a major difference within each of the schools that had been in ruins after 20 years of neglect, going from places of good learning to overcrowded, barren buildings where the teachers that remained went for months and months without a liveable salary. The RFF have given these schools hope.  We were disappointed that Roger lost but he is still our hero! Number one in our ranking!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

A Normal Day?

A friend asked us to describe a normal day at ‘Morning Star’.  When we’d stopped laughing, Norma replied, ‘There’s no such thing as a normal day out here’.  Here are some photos to show a few ‘normal’ days over the last two weeks. 
Teachers and parents at one of the rural schools in the vicinity around ‘Morning Star’ standing in front of a teacher’s house which needs renovating.  Currently 6 teachers, including the headmaster, share four rooms and a single fireplace for cooking.  As a result few teachers remain here for more than one Term (three months).  Thirty bags of cement,  some timber and roofing sheets should encourage them to stay.
These children walk over 5 miles to school each day. They were happy to hitch a lift on the ‘Morning Star Express’ today!!
Orphans getting their ‘daily bread’.
Four years ago, a church in Atlanta, Georgia helped us set up a feeding scheme for 300 vulnerable orphans.  We’ve discovered that over half of the children in the 6 primary schools around ‘Morning Star’, are orphans who are seriously under-nourished.  For US$900 per month, we could feed 1500 children a wholesome meal three times per week.
Grade 7 pupils engaged in reading.
Pupils tested for reading comprehension skills in six schools around ‘Morning Star’ were recently tested and found to be up to 5 years behind for their chronological age - not surprising when one considers that none of the schools have any library books.  In March, the CharChar Trust donated a ‘pink’ chest containing 720 reading books and other educational materials to each of the 6 schools.  The Roger Federer Foundation is supporting us in a programme to encourage reading in the schools.  The aim is to see a CharChar chest in each classroom. Visit the Trust’s website: www.helpmyfriendsinafrica.orgor for more info.
Ready for school, but where’s our teacher?

Gamina Gawena Sports Centre – Phase 1 (foundations laid)
The 2nd phase is due to begin shortly – casting a floor and installing basketball hoops. Young people in the rural area around us have few facilities for recreation.  We believe that the sports centre will attract them and give us a platform for sharing the gospel (Youth Evangelism Through Sport - YETS).  We are praying for funds to complete the complex and also build two all-weather tennis courts. 

If you feel led to support any of the above initiatives, please let us know.

In His Name

Chris and Norma
‘ … whatever you did this for the least of these brothers of mine, you did  for me’.  (Matthew 25: 40)

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Around the Community and Morning Star

 A gentle outride with our neighbours Sandy and daughter, Kayla
Chez cleaning the path in the 'traditional' way.

Chez sharing CharChar Trust books with pupils.

Diamond gives advice to Chez on painting the wall!

Three friends 

Welcome to our first Volunteer!

Chez has been with us for just over a week and it is going to be so hard to say good-bye to her when she leaves!  She is full of enthusiasm and encouragement! 

The week started with Chris and Chez heading out to the schools when the 4 week school holiday finished.  The CharChar books are a great bonus as they can be used as class readers.  Report back is that the kids are enjoying the stories and the ‘new lady’ who reads to them!  (For more on the CharChar trust, visit their web-site 

On day one of Chez’s stay she had no sooner returned from the school and she was asking for her next project – we gave her an overall, paint and a brush and set her to work on a recently plastered wall.  We have finally started on our test run of soap making!  Quite a business when you start at the beginning with needing to render down the fat!  We are now waiting for the basic soap to ‘cure’ and will then begin the final ‘fragrance’ adding stage! 

Chez delights our staff with her keeness to learn Ndebele, the local language here, which is quite similar to Zulu, the language spoken is South Africa where Chez comes from. 

Chez has just finished her Masters in Agri Science and has applied for several jobs which she now awaits the outcome.  We have told her she can come and work with us if she doesn’t get the job of her choice!

Monday, 9 May 2011

New look Newsletters

We keep being told to start a blog..........  well, here we are!  I hope we will be more efficient with the news coming from Morning Star Ranch from now on!  We invite you to write and send us your input to make this site interesting and informative.

Chez is joining us for a few weeks/months to help us with the soap and paper projects, plus wherever the Lord leads her.  Chez is new into Zimbabwe and I will give you more information on her as we get to know her better!  She came out to the farm to meet us to 'discover' what we are about (Shucks, we can't even answer that question ourselves!).  I can tell you that she is from South Africa, just handed in her Masters B.Sc. project and is bubbly and enthusiastic.  More to come!

'Old friend' Matt from Vertical Life has been with us for 2 days with friend and travel companion, Duncan.  You may remember last year Matt came to Morning Star to run a Leadership course before heading up to Malawi, via Zambia, on a water and sanitation mission.  That was their first leg and they are now on their second leg which should take them up to Egypt before they return to South Africa.  It was so good to catch up with him, especially as he is now engaged and getting married in January 2012!   Our 'family' is increasing!

Pumba allerted us to marauding monkeys this morning and we were able to test out our skills with recently purchased caterpaults.....  We effectively scared the monkeys away from our orchard without causing any injuries except to their dignity!

School term starts tomorrow (10 May) and Chris will be busy in the schools again.  With Chez possibly going along to help with reading with and to the children, it will be a new dynamic.  Last term Kelvin Parker of the CharChar Trust placed one chest of books and resources in each of the 6 Primary Schools we are involved with.  He told the Heads and teachers that if the books were not showing signs of being well-used when he visits again there will be no more chests for their schools!  It is his dream to have a chest in each classroom!  Visit his website and learn more about this amazing Trust.  It only costs $300 to install a completed and full chest into a classroom!  All of the stories in the books and most of the materials in the chests have been donated to the Trust, which is one of the reasons he is able to keep his costs so low. 

Chris and I have taken over the Orphan feeding programme that the Church of Apostles in Atlanta are sponsoring.  It is an amazing initiative and the community is so blessed and appreciative of what they receive for these vulnerable children.

More soon.....  Take care, be blessed and keep praying!