The Story Behind the Story

Published on: Nov 12, 2016     No comments

The story behind the story you saw about the Wellspring International Outreach SA Kitchen Project.

When Mark M Fincham and I left for White River, SA in hopes to build a kitchen we had little idea what we were going into. Our plans were to have the construction completed by the time our boots hit the ground. Well sometimes your hopes and the reality are very different.

When we arrived, we were told by Charles Sanderson that there were concerns about the kitchen from the Phumlani people and we would not be able to start construction. On Friday November 3, we met with the community leaders and a representative from the land owner. After much discussion about our intent, we were given the official blessing to start construction on Monday a week behind our “schedule”.

The Kitchen Project - South Africa 11-16
The Kitchen Project – South Africa 11-16
Monday morning 11/07/16, we met Roy Wakefield and his crew from Wendy Lane Homes to begin digging holes for the posts to support the structure. A heavy, but much needed rain slowed progress. By day’s end the holes had been dug, ready to start the build on Tuesday. When we returned the following morning, the holes had been mysteriously filled. The crew worked hard to dig and set the poles for construction on Wednesday.

Upon arrival Wednesday, we found the poles had been pulled and the holes refilled. The community leaders and my friend Charles were extremely upset and embarrassed by this act. Undeterred, I asked the crew to once again dig the holes and reset the poles as our riders would be arriving to help feed the children lunch.

That afternoon, we supplied the ingredients for a great lunch of chicken and rice prepared by the wonderful volunteer ladies for more than one hundred and fifty children and it was incredible! However, the worries about the build loomed over our heads like the clouds of a thunderstorm.

White RIver Post Article
White RIver Post Article (Click to read)
Our last day in White River was looking bleak with no tangible progress to show for our combined efforts, however we still needed to give the shoes to the kids. So Charles, Mark and I went back for one last visit. Much to our amazement, the holes that we dug on Wednesday were undisturbed. With forty loaves of bread, eight jars of peanut butter and a hundred pairs of shoes we were able to make the kids smile and ourselves cry with tears of joy!

Our new friend, Glory Mkhonza vowed that she would meet with all parties and resolve the issues. After meeting her and getting to know her, I knew she would!

With our flight looming overhead, we left White River feeling good but also somewhat unfulfilled that the kitchen hadn’t been completed. I then realized we built something much more valuable and enduring, the respect and a lasting relationship with the people of the Phumlani and Msholozi communities! The end result will be kitchens built, hundreds of happy kids and lasting friendships with people who very suspicious of us a week ago.

There have been so many lessons I have learned during this trip but perhaps the most important, is that Passion, Patience and Perseverance are three attributes that can overcome many of life’s obstacles!

PS: I received an email waiting for a flight yesterday from Glory stating the meeting went very well and construction is unanimously approved for Monday! So our primary objective for WIO Kitchen project will reach fruition.

Look for more progress reports and for more ways to help in the weeks, months and years to come!

With love and thanks,

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