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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sobering News

The following article contains some material that could be disturbing, especially to children.  Please use discretion.

Welkom has a weekly newspaper, The Vista.  In a town the size of Ankeny but roughly the population of Des Moines (400k), The Vista is our most reliable source of news.  The Des Moines area has 4 TV news stations, WHO Radio and several smaller stations, a daily newspaper and various weekly regionals.  Anyone who has lived in DSM knows that when some scandalous crime occurs it dominates the airwaves and print for weeks.

Now, compare that to Welkom.  There is no local radio or TV, and The Vista is really the only true local publication.  And here is a sample of a couple stories that appeared in this week's edition.

Body of Baby Found
by Marti Will
She forced the birth of her twin babies at seven months and then she threw their little bodies down a pit toilet (outhouse).  It is suspected that at least one of the twins, a boy, was born alive.
The police have now arrested a Thabong woman and her boyfriend for the gruesome murders.
It is alleged that the woman gave birth to the twins after she had taken two tablets given to her by a Nigerian doctor in Welkom.  She had first approached the staff at Bongani Hospital to abort the babies, but they turned her away because of the advanced stage of her pregnancy.  It is alleged that the first baby was born and the body dumped into a pit toilet.  Later that evening the second baby, a boy, was born while the woman was taking a bath.  It is suspected that he drowned.  His tiny body too was thrown into the pit toilet.  His birth was witnessed by a friend of the mother.
The crime was committed on 16 August in Thandanani village in Thabong.  The police were informed of the murders on Sunday, 4 September.
The suspect's live-in boyfriend allegedly helped his girlfriend by throwing the second baby into the pit toilet.  The police started looking for the bodies on Sunday.  The body of one baby was recovered on Monday morning.  The body of the other baby was not found.
The gender of the baby could not be determined because the body had already started to decompose.  The Welkom Fire Department helped with the recovery of the body.  A case docket of murder was opened at the Thabong SAPS for further investigation and both the suspects were arrested.

Teacher Murders Wife After Fight
A 39-year-old primary school teacher from Riebeeckstad (a suburb of Welkom) appeared in court after the police had charged him with the murder of his 36-year-old wife.
Mrs Mamokete Ramaisa was found dead in a pool of blood in her bathroom by the police on Wednesday evening.
The couple's 14-year-old son had telephoned the police and reported that his parents were fighting.
The 39-year-old man is a primary school teacher in Kutlwanong (a nearby township).  When police arrived at the scene, they found the man at the gate holding a knife full of blood.  He handed himself over to the police.
The paramedics declared the woman dead at the scene and the man was arrested for murder.  The murder weapon was confiscated by the police.
The acting station comander of Welkom, Col. Ansie Foley expressed her condolences to the bereaved family.  "We are saddened by this criminal act, especially now that we celebrated Women's Month and it is indeed a sad ending for all women who knew the deceased," said Foley.

Understand that neither of these stories made the front page headlines.  The first article appeared on page 2, and the second was tucked away on page 9.  Each week there are reports of various murders, rapes, robberies and attempted crimes.  

Here on this blog I've written several times about the Zama Zama's.  These are the illegal miners that operate in South Africa's Goldfields region.  They have become so bold that they no longer operate strictly underground.  Every Sunday on our way to church we pass G Hostel where we can see dozens of these zama zama's processing their diggings.  Just within the past two weeks there was allegedly an episode that occured wherein one gang of the miners attacked another to steal their ore, reportedly killed up to 15 rival miners and threw their bodies down an old shaft.  They have been unable to recover the bodies due to the depth of the shaft, which is up to 2 miles deep, straight down.

One day a couple months back a young woman came to our gate at The Village asking for help.  She is 21 years old, an orphan herself, living at Number 7.  Number 7 is a squatter camp of about 50 shacks about a quarter mile away from us.  We've worked with people from this settlement on several occasions in the past.  Team members will remember various outreaches we've done with those who live there.  

This young woman came asking for us to give her money for her baby.  The baby was two months old and was born as a result of this woman sleeping with at least one of the zama zama's.  Of course, he up and leaves her to care for the baby alone.  It was obvious she had been partaking of some kind of alcohol.  I asked what she would do with money if I gave it to her.  She said she would buy food for the baby.  I asked what she would do when that food ran out.  
"I will come ask you for more" was her reply.  
I asked "Will you just give me the baby?"  (This was a hypothetical question, since I couldn't just take a baby like that).  
She replied "No!  I love my baby."  
"Do you love your baby enough to do what is best for your baby, not what you think is best for you?" I asked.
"Then you need to come with me to a social worker so they can take the baby and give it a home where it will be taken care of."  I said.
At that, she just stood for a long time.  Then she looks at me and says "Are you going to give me money?"
I had to be brutally honest.  I told her I could see she was selfish and would only use it to buy beer.  She didn't even argue with that.  When I explained that I couldn't just give her money whenever she came to ask she turned and left.  While that might be the end of our interaction, the baby still has to live a life like this...a life that it never chose.  

You may be asking yourself "Why doesn't The Village do something more for the child?"  I can tell you that's the hardest part of this ministry - seeing so many children in so many similar situations, and knowing that you are unable to help them all.  It is at times like this that you have to trust the sovereignty of God, knowing that He will bring you the children He has chosen for you to serve.  We've reported cases to social workers.  Some come through, some don't.  Our hearts want to meet every need that we see, but we trust that God gives us those we can handle.

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