Our Life in Sweden

Jonathan & Sofia Morgan

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Category: South Africa (page 1 of 10)

Things we’ve learned

This year we have some big changes ahead of us, which we’ll fill you in on in another blog post. All this talk of change got us reflecting on the lessons we’ve learned in the two and a half years since we left Europe. Here are some of the big ones:

Coaching vs Handouts

One of the big assumptions that we westerners make about the majority world is that they just need more stuff (money, clothes, etc). Oftentimes these places are rich in resources but poor in education and good leadership. Coaching encourages people to ask ‘what do I have’ instead of ‘what do I lack?’ and sets them on a course towards seeing themselves as agents of change.

Work yourself out of a job

It’s challenging to be surrounded by so much need and it’s easy to start to think that you are the answer, especially when you might have been privileged with education, experience and skills. We’ve learned that if you want to see lasting change, it’s better to go slow and make sure you pass on your knowledge to someone who’s going to be around long after your visa expires. Preferably someone from the community who speaks the language and knows the culture.

Never stop learning

When working in a culture that’s not our own we’ve realized it’s important to have the attitude of a learner. That means asking questions more than you try to give answers. It also means spending a lot of time hanging out with people, although it doesn’t always feel “productive.” One of the things we wish we’d done from day 1 is to have learned one of the local languages. Doing this would have helped us build deeper relationships and understand the culture better.

Bottom-up change

The best, most long lasting change is bottom-up, rather than top-down. It’s when people and communities take responsibility for the neighbours and circumstances around them. Top-down change is about coercion, about doing something because there’s a rule that says “you must…” Bottom-up change encourages communities to grow. It draws out leaders on a micro level.

Servant leadership

We’ve already touched on it a little, but our favourite type of leadership is servant leadership. It’s no mistake that Jesus told his disciples that the one who wants to be first should be the servant of all. He knew that leading through humility, through putting others first, has power. It speaks into people’s hearts rather than just their sense of obligation.

Have fun

It felt as if we moved to Kommetjie just at the right time. A hectic work season, intense house situation as well as having lived in a township – where you can’t escape the harshness of poverty, all got too much for us. Our surfing friends here inspired us to enjoy life to it’s full and we realized that we couldn’t sustain our work if we didn’t have an outlet. Now we try to look for fun and adventure wherever we go.

Pray a lot

We’ve prayed a lot more this year for the things that have been on our hearts. It’s been a wild journey and we’ve re-learned that change happens when we pray with passion. Although we’ve seen many answered prayers, circumstances changed dramatically, the best lesson has been that we’ve experienced a change inside of ourselves – new perspectives, clarity, peace, hope and joy have all come as a result of praying. God is good!

 

The Thomson Method

Thomson Method

The last couple of months we’ve been meeting regularly with one of our Somalian friends to teach her English. It’s been SO much fun! We’ve had lots of laughter due to misunderstandings and lots of joy in seeing how much this means to her and how useful it is. Unfortunately she hasn’t been able to learn English before as she looks after the shop, which is also the main income of the family. We use a method called The Thomson Method, that emphasizes interaction between the learner and teacher and initially only uses pictures and words to build up the language. We studied Xhosa this way and have a few friends who in a short space of time learned Arabic through this method.

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De senaste månaderna har vi umgåtts en hel del med en av våra vänner från Somalia och försökt lära henne engelska. Det hela har varit en riktigt rolig upplevelse men många skratt bl a pga en hel del missförstånd. Tyvärr har hon inte haft möjligheten att lära sig engelska eftersom hon måste ta hand om affären som också utgör hela familjens huvudinkomst. Vi har använt oss av en metod som heter Thomsonmetoden, som bygger på bildassociation – man bygger upp sitt ordförråd genom bilderna man får lära sig. Vi provade lära oss Xhosa på detta sättet och känner några som lärt sig Arabiska på detta sätt.

 

 

 

 

State of The World’s Mothers

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Last week Baby Safe had the very tragic news of two infants passing away. We continue to support each of the women that lost a child in traumatic circumstances. An investigation is taking place on one of the cases, as it seems that the death could have been prevented by hospital staff.

This made me think of a report from Save The Children, released earlier this year, called ‘The State of the World’s Mothers’. The report lists, among many important things, the top 10 countries and the worst 10 countries to be a mother as well as 4 of what they call ‘lifesaving solutions’.

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Förra veckan fick Baby Safe höra mycket tragiska nyheter om två spädbarn som miste livet. Vi fortsätter att ge stöd till dessa mammor som förlorade sina barn under traumatiska omständigheter. I ett av fallen har en utredning påbörjats, då man misstänker att det begåtts eventuella tjänstefel hos sjukhuspersonalen som kunde förhindrat att bebisen dog.

Detta fick mig att tänka på en rapport som jag läste för ett tag sen av Rädda Barnen, The State of the World’s Mothers. Rapporten visar världens 10 bästa samt tios sämsta länder att vara mamma i, samt 4 tips på preventativa åtgärder. Sverige ligger på andra plats i kolumnen för världens bästa land att vara mamma i.

.[/tab] [/tabs]Skärmavbild 2013-09-11 kl. 14.43.38

 

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Skärmavbild 2013-09-11 kl. 14.45.14

 

 

6th baby in the safe!

Last Friday a beautiful little girl was left in the safe and she’s now in a safe placement being cared for. This will be the 6th baby that we’ve had in the safe since it was first installed, 2008.

So far two radio stations have called wanting a statement as there’s been a several baby abandonment cases this last month, here in South Africa. The South African news agency, Eye Witness News, contacted us to ask about some specific reasons for babies being abandoned. Here’s some of the article and what was said…

Baby Safe’s Sofia Morgan says poverty plays a huge role in almost 90 percent of cases. “The mothers lack the financial means to care for the child. At the same time, the high rates of HIV/Aids, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as rape, also influence a mother who is in a desperate state.”


I fredags hämtade vi en liten flicka som lämnats i Baby Safe lådan. Detta är den sjätte bebisen som vi tagit emot genom lådan i Sun Valley sedan uppstarten av Baby Safe, 2008.

Denna veckan har två radiostationer hört av sig och bett oss uttala oss om orsakerna till varför bebisar överges i Sydafrika. Eye Witness News skrev nyligen en artikel om hur man under de senaste veckorna har upphittat flera bebisar övergivna här i Sydafrika. I citatet ovan kan ni se vad vi hade att säga om hur situationen ser ut för de kvinnor vi kommit i kontakt med genom Baby Safe…

In Court

MM poster w Rarablogg DV Court

Ovan ser ni en bild på Rachel som håller upp vår senaste Mummy Mentor poster som vi håller på att sätta upp runt om i Masiphumelele och Ocean view. Mummy Mentoring är nog en av de viktigaste delarna av Baby Safes arbete. Detta innebär bl a att ge stöd och att vara påtryckare åt gravida kvinnor och nyblivna mammor, de flesta bosatta i kåkstäder.

Förra veckan innebar detta att jag under två dagar var med som stöd till en tjej som skulle vittna om den misshandel hon utsatts för i familjerätten. I den familjerätt vi oftast har att göra med finns bara ett vänterum där offer och gärningsman måste vänta tillsammans, ofta i flera timmar. Självfallet leder detta ofta till stor rädsla, särskilt då offret varit utsatt för misshandel och man tvingas möta förövaren igen. Därmed känns det extra viktigt att Baby Safe kan ge stöd i dessa sammanhang.

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