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...

Monday, April 30, 2007

Snow joke!

We woke yesterday morning to see snow outside! Ok, so it was only on the mountain tops, but it was still not what we had expected to see here in Africa. It has been getting really cold over the last few days, and we have been digging out our scarves and winter coats. I’m regretting our decision to leave gloves behind in the misguided belief that it doesn’t get that cold here!

With the weather getting colder we have started flicking the TV on a bit more in the evenings. And what a choice there is... a veritable televisual feast! These were the options from the TV guide for yesterday evening (these are straight from the TV guide – no elaboration on our part!)...

Submarines: Worthless, wet war-movie
Hurricane Smith: Dismal Action Drama
New York Minute: Deeply inane teen comedy
Venom: Bad slasher horror
A Sound of thunder: Awfully confusing sci-fi drama
Supercross: Stupid sports drama
With a choice like that, what do you go for? Bad slasher or worthless war film? Decisions, decisions!

Over the next 3 weeks we are doing girls only and boys only evenings with our Next Level Youth group. We will be looking at issues of identity, relationships and sexuality, but hopefully with lots of fun as well. It’s taken a lot of preparation but we’re really excited about the sessions. With two teenage parents in the group they are pressing topics.

Avian Park Township, on the outskirts of Worcester, has had two racially motivated crimes take place within 2 days. This is the township that is mostly home to ‘Cape-Coloured’ people, and tensions have been rising over the presence of Asian families who run several small shops around the area. In one incident, the owner of a shop was shot dead, and in another, the shop was looted and the shop-keeper left with nothing. We have heard of similar violent attacks in other parts of the country against Somali immigrants.

The attacks in the townships are thought to have been carried out by a local gang, which is largely made up of ex-prisoners who are pretty much forced to sign up whilst they are in prison. In the 1970’s/80’s Worcester suffered with high levels of gang related violence, but this subsided in large part thanks to the work of YWAM (Youth with a Mission) here. No-one wants to see its return.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thanks to everyone whose sent us cards, pressies, parcels, etc... It means a lot, especially when we're missing Blighty and all our folks.

We're putting the finishing touches to our latest newsletter, so if you're on our mailing list, one will be arriving soon. If you want to receive one and don't at the mo, just let us know.

Rachel & John's visit

We had a great time with Rachel and John (Sarah's sister and her husband) when they stayed with us at the beginning of the month.

They explored some of the Garden Route and came back with some amazing photos, so we're very jealous and just hope we will be able to explore a bit more of this amazing country before we leave!

Highlights of their stay with us included watching the sun set over Table Mountain (just on the left in the bottom photo - the mountains stretching into the distance are The Twelve Apostles)and the Atlantic Ocean, exploring the Bo Kaap part of Cape Town (the place with all the colourful houses in the photos) and chillin with the penguins at Boulders Beach in Cape Town. We love having visitors because we always get to do new things ourselves! And of course because it's so good to catch up with friends and family...

If these pictures make you want to see South Africa for yourselves, we'd love to have you stay with us!