I want to keep you all in the loop and let you know that things are majorly changing at Tsholofelo Baby Sanctuary. Just after arriving in Johannesburg, the orphanage owner told me that we may have 5 school-aged children that have been formerly abused coming to live in the baby home. She waited until I was in South Africa to tell the news, which greatly changes the dynamic at the home. Not only this, but two of the babies presently here will be placed in another orphanage while two of the 4 will be adopted.
When agreeing to step in and volunteer, we had established working hours, age limits for the home and talked about the babies that were living here. Before arriving, I was told that the age limit for living at Tsholofelo was around 3 years, because older children that have been abused are fully aware of their abuse and can have different issues requiring more help that we may not have at the home. Not only this, but children with major health issues (besides aids, which can be helped with daily meds) usually aren't accepted into the home because Tsholofelo is a smaller operation.
One of the five school-age children coming has heart issues and could pass away at any time. With no vehicle on site, transportation has been tricky getting the current children to doctor's appointments and getting supplies for the home with little support from the owners. When school starts up again, this could prove to be problematic for the kids needing to get to school. We have also been told that the former adoptive mother could show up to the baby house and become forceful and even become violent to get her kids back.
It seems as though the owners don't have time to spend checking up on the baby home and fixing the spare bedroom door which is stuck shut and contains clothing and children's shoes and most all of the toys.
The other workers on staff have understood and encouraged my decision to leave because the owner withheld information that could've swayed my original decision to come here. It's unfortunate that I had to come and find out for myself about how things have changed and I was left out of the dialog.
After speaking with the owner, she did admit she didn't want to tell me the truth of coming changes because she was afraid that I would've decided not to come. I hope that this isn't taken as a way to put someone down or anything of the sort, but I have to be forthright about the happenings here for everyone supporting me in prayer, finances and words of encouragement.
But, with lack of openness and honesty in this situation and not agreeing to what is now happening, I have decided to end this journey with Tsholofelo Baby Sanctuary. It's made me feel unsafe, even from being picked up at the airport at night by a man whom the owners hardly knew, isolated from lack of support from the owners (and no vehicle on site), and lack of communication-I was only told three days ago that the original position that I would take charge of (managing) is no longer the case, three weeks after living at the Tsholofelo.
In light of all of this, I'm sorry that this has come as a surprise to most of you, as I haven't posted a blog this previous week due to wanting to sort things out first with the owner before making a final decision. Please pray for those working at the baby house and the children coming. This has been quite heavy on my heart lately, as to honoring the Lord first and following through. However, with much prayer, tears, and contemplation, I feel at peace about the decision to come back home. My volunteer visa requires that I remain at Tsholofelo if I am to stay in South Africa, so I won't be pursuing other opportunities in the area because of legalities.
If you're currently financially supporting me, please withhold those funds. If you have any concerns that I have mis-stepped boundaries, I would love to have a more in-depth conversation with you. Please know that my goal was never to leave anyone empty handed, and that this trip was and is about what I felt convicted of was right before the Lord. When I return to Sequim, I will be pursuing work to be able to pay back those who have funded this trip.
I want to thank you all for your support and encouragement in this, and once again, I apologize that this hasn't worked out as we had hoped.