The MAF plane landed at the airstrip of the local mine. All presents were loaded into a taxi and the first stop was to drop off Maxine Holman (MAF’s General Manager), and pilots Mark Liprini and Steve Abrahamse at the tribal authorities to discuss the building of an airstrip closer to the communities that we support.
Office staff members Tenique Naudé, Maggie Mumba and Precia Ngoepe, plus two North West Christian School students, Shalom Mwitanti and Helen John, who had come along for the experience, made their way to the crèches to hand out the Christmas presents to the children.
There they were faced with a unique situation: After receiving the wrapped presents, the children sat neatly on their little chairs and waited for further instructions. They had never received presents before and needed to be shown how to unwrap them. Needless to say, once they figured out what to do, great excitement abounded.
The boxes contained sanitary items such as toothpaste, a toothbrush, a bar of soap and a washcloth, as well as age and gender appropriate educational toys – and a ball, by far the most popular gift.
With the children having thoroughly unwrapped their presents, the two students, Helen and Shalom, demonstrated how the various gifts could be used.
The care-givers were not forgotten. They received gifts of umbrellas, hats and sanitary items. Each one also received a mug for personal use.
As a way of saying thank you, the children then sang songs expressing their gratitude to the MAF staff.
The trip to Venda was also an opportunity for some of MAF South Africa’s office-based staff to contribute to the ministry directly.
Precia usually serves as the MAF team’s database administrator.
“I have realised,” says Precia, “that most people in remote areas are living hopelessly with few facilities, especially kids and the youth. Small children in the area have absolutely nothing to help them lay educational foundations. Although there is a well-built Government crèche in the area, there are no chairs and tables in the classrooms. Kids sleep on the floor with no mattresses, only light blankets, and there’s no running water in the kitchen and toilets.”
While the bleakness of the situation clearly impacted Precia, her colleague Maggie, who works as MAF South Africa’s financial administrator, focused on the positive outcomes of the flight.
“I could see in the eyes of those lovely kids that what we did made them feel loved and special. I believe that Flying for Life and its partners are bringing hope to those communities,” she said.