Keith R. Brinkman serving with Mercy Ships. This is another way for me to communicate with you all what is happening. I hope you enjoy seeing the photos and entries.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

KRB Update Appelsbosch South Africa

KRB Update #2160 November 3, 2010
Keith R. Brinkman
Appelsbosch South Africa

Greetings from Kwa Zulu Natal, Republic of South Africa. As I have previously mentioned the Africa Mercy crew have been divided – the technical crew who continue to live and work on board the ship while in shipyard and drydock and the balance of the crew (myself included) who are being housed at Appelsbosch, an abandoned college left empty after the defeat of apartheid in the mid 90’s. One of the responsibilities of the Advance Team for South Africa was to find suitable accommodations and I remember the first drive to this property back in April with Brenda and Cathy.

Someone asked about Appelsbosch and the history is interesting and I thought I would share a bit. A church was established at Appelsbosch by missionaries from the Swedish Mission. The founder of Appelsbosch was the late Reverend J. Jungquist around 1883. Their aim was to bring the Gospel, the Light (schools) and Health (hospital). A Lutheran church is just across the road from the college where we worshipped our first Sunday. We are living at the former college campus and there are other elementary and high school schools very close. The hospital serves in the greater area and is part of the Department of Health for the government. I have been to the hospital twice with crew members who needed to see a doctor.

A fellow crew member, Elaine Winn, serves in our Communications Department as a writer wrote this paragraph and I think her choice of words is much more descriptive than mine. “It is 3,000 feet up in the mountains in a very remote area about an hour from Durban. The land is rolling and beautiful, with many canyons called ‘drifts’ which are often seven thousand feet deep. Despite this, all the land is cultivated and farmed, neatly segmented into various shapes for growing sugar cane, corn, bananas, or trees. As we drive along the hilly, curving road, the vast expanse of farmlands looks like a giant African quilt of greens and browns. It can take your breath away!
There is a marked dichotomy in the residents; many blacks – Zulus mostly, descendants of the tribes that were forced into the area by the government many years ago and whites descendants of the Dutch, German or Swedish farmers and missionaries who came here in the 1800s. There has been much strife in the past but they are beginning to learn to work together for their mutual benefit, which is the only way it can successfully work. Both are South African now and neither wants to change that. Although the area is well into its spring to summer season, we have many days that seem to be more like late November at home (New Hampshire, USA). When the clouds roll in, as they seem to very often, we realize we are actually IN them. A light mist covers us and visibility can be cut off very suddenly. Then again, we will have a mid summer day of high 80’s. But I understand when the summer hits, we will know it.” Last Thursday, we had a storm roll in and lost power for over seven hours and there was hail – pinging on my window so hard I thought it would break. Some of our West African crew had never seen hail before.

Prayer Requests: ** Safety for those living on and off the ship ** Dental project working with the Department of Health – providing services and education + their upcoming extreme outreach providing services to the homeless in Durban in partnership with a local church ** That the shipyard phase will finish on schedule and without problems – I went to the ship on Saturday – seems like I had been away for a long time (actually only two months).