It was in 1991 that we first met David Mniki. Introduced to each other by a mutual friend at a large Conference in Brighton, we immediately felt a “connecting” and a desire to meet again. It was about 7 years before that happened! At that second meeting, Ian was asked to join a small team from UK to go out and visit David and other situations in South Africa.
That team flew into Cape Town, and then after enjoying some of the splendours of that beautiful city, drove up the so called “Garden Route” stopping off at such glorious seaside places as Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay. It was night when they finally drove into Idutywa, where, although arriving about 4 hours later than expected, they were received at Kholo Mission with a hugely enthusiastic crowd that won their hearts.
Only in the daylight did they get something of an idea of what a small, rather scruffy little town Dutywa was. On returning, discussing things with Gwen, we determined that next time we would go together. This we did a year later, and again so enjoyed the time in that scruffy little town of all the places we visited in a tour of the country.
To cut a long story short, a little over two years later, we found ourselves moving out to that very same place to work with David and Iris Mniki.
For two years, this has been “home”. Though on more than one occasion we have been told by other white folk in East London and other places, “you cannot live there”. But there we live! In those two years the town has developed. We estimate that the traffic has more than doubled in that time, mainly with “taxis” (i.e. pick up trucks) coming in and out from the surrounding villages. Pavement sellers have spread so that walking on the road is now the only option most of the time. New shops have come in. Dutywa is on the “up”, but that being said, it is starting from a very low position.
What do we do? Well, basically anything that comes to hand. Teaching both in the church and among various training projects. Helping in the school. Developing leaders. A bit of chicken farming (deliver us from Bird flue, please!), counseling, encouraging, odds and ends of carpentry, etc., etc.
So here we are! Love to see our scruffy little town transformed into a lovely smart place like so much of South Africa. It may take a long time, but it can be! Why not come and join us sometime, and add your expertise to the challenge.