Wednesday, November 23, 2011

They are just children........ COP17 "clean-up"

I have many passions in life. A good book, baking, my chickens ;-). From reading my blog these passions are pretty evident. But I have one passion that out weighs all of the others, and that is my love and heart for those in need.
This passion shows its self in various ways in my life, but I think the strongest part of this passion is the love and compassion that I have for street children and the homeless.

For the past 3 years I have been spending time in a homeless shelter in the Point area of Durban town center. To say that this area is "ghetto" would be an understatement. Its CRAZY! and I LOVE IT! I feel more at home on Pickering street than I do anywhere else. 
The area is ran by Nigerian drug lords and the 27 gang. The streets are packed with dealers, hookers and street kids, and you know what? These are my kind of people. I know that God has placed me on the planet to love these people with an unconditional love. To be consistent, to be Him to them.

To show them a love that no one else has ever shown them, a love that heals and restores. A love that empowers and makes a difference.
I spend my time loving the prostitutes and snuggling their babies. Praying for them, giving them my clothes and buying them bread and giving them condoms.
The street children have no parents to love and guide them and so they turn to the dealers for safety and security. They are used as drug mules and sex workers. Most of them are addicted to glue as the sensation of sniffing the substance takes away the hunger pains. When I am not with these people, these children, my heart aches for them. I am scared that the next time I go there some one will have passed away or has been taken by the police. Sadly many times I have received a phone call to tell me that one of my much loved girls has passed away or has been murdered by a "client".

Today the COP17 Climate Summit began in Durban. This is great, people from all over the world getting together to talk about how we can stop global warming and all that crazy stuff. What is not great about this global attention is that the Metro Police of Durban are on a mass "clean-up". 
When I say clean up I don't mean that they are going around with big garbage trucks and taking all the rubbish and making the city pretty for the world media.
Oh no forget the rubbish, instead lets clean-up the street children and the homeless!! Yep that's right, the police are driving around the city in their riot vans and kidnapping the kids off the streets and taking them out of the city and dumping them by the side of the road and leaving them to fend for themselves. 
This happens every time there is any kind of world media coverage in our city. The World Cup, international surf comps, world summits. The children are herded up like cattle for the slaughter and NO ONE is doing anything to stop it. There are organizations who work in the city trying so hard to make life better for these kids, people like myself who are using their own time and resources to try and protect these children. We are shouting about it. Trying to get the attention of those who can stop this from happening but it is falling on deaf ears.

The Chief of police, the city management, the mayor, these are the people who are making these decisions and when they are confronted about this situation they deny it all. 

The paper quoted the city's metro police spokesman Eugene Msomi saying all begging streetchildren and adults would be rounded up because they mugged tourists.
"We often remove them from the streets when there are big events like the World Cup and major conferences, because some of them mug tourists and damage the image of the country," he said."You find that tourists are unfamiliar with the area and would be intimidated and even mugged by these street beggars."The United Nations Climate Change conference (COP17) will be held at Durban's Inkosi Albert Luthuli convention centre from November 28 to December 9. The conference is expected to attract 20 000 delegates.'
So Mr Msomi says this and then when interviewed on the news he changes his mind and says that this does not happen. I know first hand that this is going on as I have seen it with my own eyes. We do have a crime problem in Durban but kidnapping children off the streets and dumping them somewhere else does not solve the problem it just moves it to another area. Yesterday a radio station from Denmark called me to talk to me about this situation. The lady was shocked and horrified that this was going on and said that no one outside on Durban knows that this is going on. I personally would go as far as saying no one inside of Durban knows that this is going on, other than those of us down there on the front line.
Please join me and pray for these children and adults who not only have to fight to survive but also have to hide from those who should be protecting and helping them.
Please also pray that God provides funding and a vehicle for me to be able to continue the work that I am doing with these amazing but broken people.


Nicole said...

We live in a cruel world. Its heart breaking! I am with you, Vash - praying!

Katie Jobczynski said...

Somehow I stumbled across your blog, it was definitely a God thing. This post gave me a recharge on my own passion of going to Haiti to teach. I will be praying for you and your family (and your stove!)

FoundProdigalDaughter said...

Hi, I am just following up to see if you received the donation I sent on paypal dated Dec 6. I am checking only because in my account it is still saying unclaimed and I want to make sure that even though it is a small amount that you get it. I did send two payments by accident but I want you to have both to do as you feel is needed most for your family and the community. Thanks.

Vashti said...

Hey there, just popped to your blog to find email but couldnt find one so I hope you stop by here to check. I did not recieve your paymet to paypal. When did you put it in there? Might be a bit slow due to the holidays. Thankyou so much for wanting to help out. Such a great blessing.

portlandbum said...

First of all, you seem to be what the religious say and possibly think but rarely are. Jesus cavorted with the prostitutes and destitute but most Christians would not even want lay eyes on the homeless.

Secondly, the round ups happen in the US too in different ways. In some towns, they give you a bus ticket 'or else'. Some places specifically send their homeless somewhere else. San Diego had the practice and still might of giving people bus tickets to Portland, Oregon, where I live. Some sherriffs may give you a ride to the edge of their county if they don't decide to arrest you for vagrancy, trespassing or anything they can think of. Since 1999, the police and government officials have been pre-emptively rounding up political activists/anarchists/those who pose a threat in their minds when an international economic forum or similar event comes to town. The homeless are always lumped in. They don't want to be embarrassed by having dignitaries see homeless people on the streets of their city.

Thank you for what you do for those that have nothing.