Returning to Lesotho
It was close on three years since Liberty Church set out on their maiden journey to the beautiful country of Lesotho, to the Pulane Children’s Centre (PCC) and thankfully God had made it possible for our return.
Following months of teamwork, fundraising, and planning, our team of fourteen left Dublin on the 13th of May 2017, arriving in the Pulane Children’s Centre two days later.
While our visit to PCC back in 2013 allowed us the honorable task of renovation an area of the orphanage used as a sleeping quarter for teenage girls, our vision and goals for this trip had increased substantially. Every member of our team believed God had laid out a plan that would allow us to impact the lives of the PCC children is so many ways.
We returned to Lesotho with a God centred plan that included building projects, youth programmes, community outreach, praying for the sick and bringing the love of Jesus to every individual we encountered along our journey.
A Loving Welcome
While throughout our fourteen days in Lesotho each member of our group had their own personal experiences that will forever remain in their heart. But the one moment that stands out for everyone is the very special PCC welcome we received.
It had been a long two day journey since setting out from Dublin and it was dark by the time we arrived in PCC. The experience of the younger children from the centre running to meet what they would have initially perceived as silhouettes approaching from a distance, throwing their arms around us was incredible. Filled to the brim with love and joy, they had visitors and that made them so happy. Their joy was contagious, their ability to show love was incredibly humbling, we where so happy and blessed to finally be in Pulane.
On awaking from our first night in PCC, so encouraged by such a wonderful welcome, we set about beginning the work that would be completed over the next ten days.
During our planning process back in Dublin, we had identified and agreed a number of work teams.
These work teams consisted of a building team, toddler/after-school team, youth work team and outreach team.
While each team member had specific tasks, throughout our stay everyone got the opportunity to engage in all tasks and activities.
- Dining Area Renovation
One of the main aims of our building team was the renovation of the front window section of the communal dining area. Before work began the window sections of the structure had gaps that made it very difficult to keep the area warm and draft free during the winter months.
The teams work involved stripping back and removing the front unit of the building and fitting new window sections which looked amazing and ensured that the children could stay warm and cosy during feeding times while also improving the level of light within the dinning area.
- New Pathway
Another issue facing the children was the ground surface between the communal activities building and the eating area, which would become extremely muddy and wet during the winter months. The team had decided the best course of action was to construct a sheltered pathway connecting one building to the other.
This task required a lot of digging and burrowing to get the ground ready to lay the concrete which was expertly produced by some local tradesmen who joined the team to help out. When completed the new pathway was amazing and allowed a clean and dry track from the activities area to the dining room.
- Donkey Construction
Yes, the team built two donkeys and nope they weren’t the four legged ones. In fact the “Donkey” is actually a system for heading water that originated in South Africa. While the structure of a Donkey Heater can be as simplistic as a steel water barrel placed over a fire, the team constructed a quite impressive structure that included a seating area and shelter that would allow the children and staff to gather around the heater making the most of the heat produced during the winter months.
A smaller structure was also built on the back hill of PCC where the boys homes are located to provide hot water and heat during the morning time. While hot water will be of huge benefit to the young people of PCC, the fact that there was now a heated and sheltered area to socialise was the most welcomed aspect of their new Donkeys.
Of all the fantastic opportunities provided during our time in PCC, the most treasured by all the group was our contact with the children. Their love and joy were contagious and provided us with a million special memories to take back to Ireland.
Our time with the children aged under 12 yrs was all about fun and included activities such as dance, music, games, arts and crafts, sports, and outdoor activities. For the children not yet of school age there was plenty of time spent walking and playing along the river, there was even an occasional paddle at the water’s edge.
Youth Work Project
Before departing for Lesotho our youth work team had developed a plan to deliver a mural arts programme with the teenagers in PCC. The idea of the project was to explore the culture of both Ireland and Lesotho while developing the content around the shared Christian identity.
The programme ran over a full week and included several sessions which examined both cultures through arts and crafts. These initial sessions also included informal learning around group roles and leadership which provided plenty of belly laughs.
From the preliminary sessions the ideas for the mural project were devised and included aspects of both Lesotho and Ireland that the young people felt were positive representations of both countries and their cultures.
Once the content was agreed, the young people started to draw their ideas onto the mural and it quickly took shape. The artistic flare, along with the focus and determination show by all the young people involved was incredible.
Quickly the mural became an impressive art piece displaying both countries flags, wonderful mountains, animals, King Moshoeshoe and PCC founder Gill. Taking centre place was Jesus on the cross, representing the overall connection between the Dublin team and everyone at PCC.
The planning, designing and painting the mural was an incredible experience for our youth team and to see the sense of achievement and joy on the faces of the young people when they finally unveiled their art piece to everyone in PCC will forever remain in our hearts.
While our main focus was the building work and youth programmes within PCC, the team also felt it was important to also carry the love of Jesus to those within the wider community. This outreach included visiting local schools and villages and the running of an event for local women from surrounding villages.
One of our team members Claudia was part of the organising team for the women’s days and village visits and describes her incredible experience.
“The women’s day was so over whelming with the ladies walking for miles from their villages to come attend our event. We planned our day with the focus of encouraging and imparting hope and a touch of love, through music, dance, and the word of God”.
“Over fifty local women attended the event, where they shared testimony, worshiped, enjoyed lunch and shared gifts. Everyone was so blessed and our team where so privileged to have shared time and conversation with so many beautiful people”.
“Our visit to the village was an incredible experience where the power of God touched so many people in so many ways. From the time our team left PCC we began to meet people along the way that openly accepted prayer. The first house we visited greeted us with open arms, sitting with us for over an hour, imparting their life, joys, and struggles”.
“While travelling through the village we interacted with so many people which included a group of ladies who were sitting outside a hut, enjoying the sun. Greeting us warmly, we entered conversation, explaining who we were and why we were in Lesotho”.
“The group of ladies asked would we pray with them, which we happily accepted. The power of God became so evident as we entered into prayer, laying hands on the ladies as the spirits healing power moved within the group. There was several people healed that day, including a broken leg and the restoration of sight”.
It is incredibly difficult to put into words just how wonderful Pulane Childrens Centre is. Its is the home of children who a such great teachers of love, joy and gratitude. Throughout this blog you have been guided through some of the work done by our team while in PCC.
But it would be a mistake to think it was our team that blessed PCC and its residents, its is completely the opposite. Each and every member of our team where honored to have experienced life within PCC, to have the privilege to get to know the wonderful children that live in the centre.
The welcome, kindness, love and joy that was gifted to us during our time in PCC by both the staff and children will stay with everyone of us for ever, thank you PCC.