south of somewhere

Hi, our names are Sarah and Nathan Cooper. We are based in Sheffield in England, but are preparing to move to South Africa in September '06 to join a church planting team in the Western Cape. We hope that this blog will keep you up to date with our progress as we embark on this new adventure. Watch this space...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Beaches and Budgeting

Waaaaay back in January we took some of our NextLevel youth Group on a trip to the beach in Cape Town. We had a fantastic day, swimming in the sea, trying not to think about sharks, and finishing with fish and chips. The youth loved it - I think you can tell from their faces!

The only disappointment was having to leave 5 members behind who hadn't managed to raise the money for the trip (about 4 pounds). Part of the exercise in doing the trip was to try to teach the kids some basic budgeting, by encouraging them to bring 10 Rand a week (about 70p) over 6 weeks, and also trying to encourage openness with us when they were having trouble finding the money. The 5 who didn't go hadn't given their money in, but more importantly hadn't told us they wouldn't be able to, despite our weekly pleadings that they must tell us if they are in any difficulty, so we could put back the date of the trip!

We see this as such an important step in helping them to understand the concept of budgeting in a culture where very few people have bank accounts (you have to pay to open account, then pay to put money in, then pay again to get it out!) and where people face the prospect of long stretches without employment and income. We also see openness in these areas as a vital step to helping these kids form a community where they can be honest with each other when they face financial difficulties, so that they can work together to help meet each other's needs. We believe that helping to build a church community where people can be honest and do look out for each other will be key to avoiding dependance on people like ourselves who won't be here forever with handouts.

And we were pleased that on our next trip out every single member came along!


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