Minnesota Farmer

South Africa Bound – VBS

Fifteen people from the Shetek conference of the ELCA flew to South Africa on an agricultural mission that departed on January 31, 2011.  Among the things we packed to bring were the supplies for putting on a bible school program like we do in Minnesota.  We knew that some things do not transfer to different areas of the world, but we figured they were Lutherans so it should work.

When plans were being made we asked the folks to give us some idea of how many to expect.  They estimated that we would have about 140 people at the event to be held on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at the Kwazamokuhle School for the Disabled.


Avalanche Ranch


The program we used was Avalanche Ranch.




When you are doing a program in another country where most of the people grow up speaking another language having a native speaker at registration is important and we had the services of a bright young college student named Sinde Xaba to help put our participants at ease.

The school has hallways open to the air, but covered and paved to make wheelchair access possible.


Covered walk

The buildings are fairly new with construction continuing on campus as they continue to improve the school.



Construction continues


When you do a Vacation Bible School (VBS) in Minnesota you expect to get grade school students.  In South Africa you get students that range from 11 to 52.  Registration was also a bit under what we expected, but Saturday is the traditional day for funerals in the area, and with a funeral for a young person happening that day, numbers were below what we expected.

Travel is also not as easy as we are used to.  People were invited to attend from all over the circuit.  Some would have to travel for quite a distance.  Not all of the travel plans worked out.  All part of learning about life in South Africa.


Up and singing


One thing was not a problem, getting the participants up and singing.  Zulu tradition is one of singing and dancing in church.  When we were teaching new songs and doing actions to them we found ready participants.




Craft projects of all kinds found eager participants.  We were very impressed with thought and originality they put into their work.


meal time


Although the food was a bit different than we were used to it was very good, and there was plenty of it.


free time


Free time was spent playing with the kids from the school who were not high enough functioning to attend the program.  Some students did attend if they were able.  The left over balloons and a few frisbees were left to brighten the day of the younger students.

I had not planned to attend the program.  As a driver I planned to drive participants over to the school, take a few pictures and then go back to help at the center.  The learning experience was one I would not have traded.  It was well worth staying.


The back of the school bus

Sunday will be a busy day.  Hope you join me on my travels.



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