Friday, August 26, 2011
Meet Kamohelo Mokhabela
Kamohelo (meaning to receive) joined Restoring Hope Village on August 23, 2011. The day he arrived was one of the worst weather days we've had in the 3.5 years we've been living in South Africa. The dust was blowing so badly it looked like a typical Iowa blizzard. In places near the mine waste dumps visibility was down to a couple car lengths. And on days like this Thabong is a miserable place to be. It's hard to believe a car in the township would have any paint left on it at all. So it was in these conditions that Brian went out with a social worker to retrieve Kamohelo.
Kamohelo's mother had passed away in 2009 when he was just 5 years old. From that point until his arrival at The Village he had lived with his older brother, who was 11 at the time they were orphaned. Of course, their father(s) is unknown. Their primary caregiver was an uncle who was only 18 when Kamohelo came to The Village, making him a mere 16 years old when the boys' mother died. Obviously he was not equipped to raise two young boys.
Making matters worse, this uncle is not a model citizen by any means. Here in South Africa he is considered a Tsotsi, or gang member. These gangs are responsible for most of the crime in the townships that place South Africa at or near the top of world rankings for various serious crimes like rape, murder, violent theft, etc... These gangs operate very much like street gangs in the US, enticing young boys to join with promises of protection, money, drugs, and a sense of belonging. Because of the poverty, broken families and lack of economic opportunity these gangs thrive.
Kamohelo's brother, at the age of 13, is well on his way to becoming a Tsotsi as well. The headmaster at their school reported that he has been involved in acts of theft and violence already at school, that he often smokes pot, and has been caught many times in local gambling halls. In fact, he had just recently stolen money from one of the teachers and taken it to use in a dice game. This brother has also been removed from the home and the social worker reported that he is going to a home for troubled young boys.
Kamohelo seems to be a very bright youngster. His first day here he asked his housemother to make sure he was put back into first grade at school rather than being dropped back to Grade R (Kindergarten). He was very concerned that she knew he was smart enough to be in Grade 1. Unfortunately for him, his lack of English forces him to finish this year in Grade R.
After only having girls and infants at The Village for several months, it's exciting to have an older boy. His energy is immense, and he is already practicing his kung fu moves on the trampoline. Mama Melita reports that he is very helpful around the house and with the two smaller boys now living there as well.
We thank God for bringing us this youngster and beg for your prayers that a godly influence at The Village will overcome his early exposure to the darker side of life. Most of all, pray that Kamohelo and all the children who come to Restoring Hope will meet Christ as their personal Savior and choose to live godly and productive lives for Him.
Posted by Louis O'Tool at 5:12 AM