Friday, September 28, 2007

Not a Dried Fruit Shop

Drive through Calitzdorp towards Cape Town and you will see Elnatan Dried fruit stall at the side of the road. It is filled with every sort of dried fruit product - even some with a layer of yoghurt, or chocolate. The best part of this experience is the manager - Ursula - who encourages you to taste the products before buying. And we did: taste and buy.

But this is not just another Dried Fruit Shop.
We discovered that this was an outlet for a job-creation project being run by Ursula and Klaus Triebe. They are Swiss, and came to South Africa in response to a call from God on their lives. Arriving in Calitzdorp (which is just a rural main road and a collection of poverty stricken hovels allocated to so called "Coloured" people) they chose to live in the coloured section of dorp and work alongside the poorest of the poor. Ursula began a pre-school in a tent on a nearby farm. And speaks of her satisfaction at seeing her first preschoolers top of the Grade Five class in the local school. Her husband taught local people construction skills and together they built a factory to dry local fruit. Now they sell the fruit from the shop.

They have also initiated a bridge-building exercise between the white and "coloured" members of the dorp. And now the white Dutch-Reformed Church members physically work alongside the "coloured" DRC members in improving their homes from one-roomed hovels to decent houses. Here are a couple who have put their faith into action.

I am tired of missionaries who arrive in South Africa to plant yet another church - as if we need more churches! I am tired of how these foreign missionaries seem to need to plant their churches in areas that are accessable to wealth. And for this reason I salute Klaus and Ursula: they have chosen to live and work amongst the poorest of the poor.

So the next time you drive through Calitzdorp - stop at the dried fruit shop on the Cape Town side of the town. It is far more than a dried fruit shop.

1 comment:

Scout with the Cross said...

What a great story. Real faith in action making a real difference. More power to their elbow!