Going home was difficult. It was small and tight. I had just travelled all over Southern Africa. I was used to lots of space. Poor Wilf and Val did their best to help me settle but it didn’t really work.
The only thing I knew was that I wanted to work with children. I was promised a job at a crèche which was being constructed and it was taking forever. I was frustrated and bored. After a year of non-stop activity I found it hard to sit still. I poured out my heart to God and into my diaries. The pages were full of disappointment and discouragement. As the months went by I started to lack confidence. I hated telling people I didn’t have a job. It became more and more difficult for me to socialise for fear that someone would ask me.
Seven months later I signed up for a one year Child Care Course. The institute was in a dodgy part of Durban city and I attended evening classes. My subjects were Nutrition, Child Development, Child Psychology and Business Knowledge (accounting).
I dreaded the thought of accounting. All my math teacher nightmares came back to haunt me. I walked into my first Business Knowledge class slightly nervous. The lecturer took one look at me and said, “You, in the front row please.” What did she see? Did I look like trouble?
I did well and got my diploma. My love for children grew and I began to feel a stronger tug in that direction. I applied for a job in the worst part of Durban and got it.
Port Natal Child Care Centre was at the end of Point Road, Durban’s red light district. It was for children of prostitutes and sailors. They lived with their mothers who had many visitors for many sleepovers. There was such turmoil in their little lives and they were experienced beyond their years. Sleep time was the worst time of the day for us; for many of them, sleep was not a happy thing to do.
We worked shifts so we could stay sane. It was demanding and exhausting. When we had mornings off we went down to Addington Beach to tan and swim. It was during one of those mornings that I learnt the need for wisdom.
I had made friends with a hermit looking guy who seemed lonely. I wanted to help him somehow. He seemed interested in my faith and he asked good questions. One day he asked me to go for a walk with him. I had time, so off we went. He led me into an isolated park and before I knew it, he grabbed me and tried to kiss me. Only God knows how I got away from him. I ran all the way back to work with my stomach in my throat and eyes burning with fear. I knew what I had been saved from.
Wisdom started to teach me:
I was not the saviour of the world.
I could not be a friend to every lonely person I met.
I needed to set firm boundary lines around my life, to keep the good in and the bad out.
I should NEVER again allow myself to be led into such a dangerous place.
I needed others to be with me in my mission to help the disturbed and needy.
I needed wisdom more than I needed anything else in my life.