In 2006, we came in contact with GCF via email. Gabriel and I wanted to do volunteer work in South Africa. After some substantive discussions here in the Netherlands, we became enthusiastic and traveled to Margate in October 2007. For us, the journey already started on the plane, not knowing where we were going, but still very much looking forward to that beautiful country of South Africa.
GCF is a child protection organisation that promotes the rights and well-being of children and on arrival, we were lovingly welcomed by Maria Hufner (volunteer coordinator) and a number of volunteers who were already there. The next day we immediately came in contact with the children and other employees of GCF. It was like stepping into a warm bath, a very welcome feeling.
I, Ingrid, came to work with the babies and toddlers. Here we did everything. This included washing, dressing, and feeding, but also playing with the children. Every day started with a devotion where everyone was present. Here they sang and danced. Then in the course of the morning, I went together with some employees to a workshop where we made diapers ourselves. These were made in-house from A to Z.
Gabriel was a jack of all trades. He converted three broken bicycles into one properly working bicycle, drove the school transport, and drove to all other common activities.
Once we were invited to a party organized by foster parents, who had passed a course. Here they had all made local delicacies for us. Gabriel got homemade Zulu beer and I tried to eat a piece of cow’s intestine. This was a special experience.
The founders of this wonderful organisation, Monica and Basil Woodhouse, also visited us regularly. They took us to the slum and Monica was telling us inspiringly why they had started GCF, how the people in South Africa lived and how things went in the slum. They also had an employee who lived there. He certainly benefited from his work.
The farewell was so warm and so loving that we remember our time at GCF with warm hearts.
Lots of love Gabriel and Ingrid Dijkstra