House Andrew Murray

House Andrew Murray

On my recent visit to Cape Town, I had the privilege to visit the House Andrew Murray (Huis Andrew Murray). I have always had this burning desire to do good to those less fortunate or to try and bring a little happiness to the a world. And when we decided to go visit my family in South Africa, I knew that I wanted to visit an orphanage. I can’t explain why I felt this need, I just knew that it was something I had to do.

I had done a bit of research before heading to my home town and found this really lovely place in the heart of the Boland Mountains – well it’s in Wellington. But if you can understand that there aren’t any mountains where I live in West Germany, you’ll understand that “near the mountains” means to me “right smack bang in the middle heart of the mountain” 🙂

Anyway, back to the orphanage: Huis (House) Andrew Murray is really a gem. They have around 150 children living on the premises ranging from 2 years old to 18 years old. Boys and girls and from all walks of life. They come from broken homes; parents who just can’t afford to raise them; tough stories to hear, but I became so humbled listening.

My mum had arranged everything on her end. She got in touch with the Administrative-In-Charge and got the ball rolling. We had planned to visit with some of the kids and bring some cake. I really just wanted to spend some time with the young ones and have them enjoy something a little sweet to start their weekend.

So on Friday, 11th September we filled the car boots with just over 300 cupcakes, several Banana Breads and about 300 cookies. We drove about an hour until we got to House Andrew Murray in Wellington and was greeted by Karen Petersen. She showed us into their Hall and we set up some tables and arranged the cupcakes (I had made sure use the most vibrant colours for frosting the cupcakes since I can remember loving really colorful cakes growing up). I asked Karen how we could go about everything and she suggested she bring the pre-schoolers in so we could spend some time with them first.

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When we were ready for them, she opened the doors and allowed them to come in. And my heart melted. They were so adorable. The youngest I think was a 2 or 3 year old boy who was just happy to be there. We met a feisty little girl with two pony tails who seemed to be the life of the party. There was a 5 year old who ran in and ran straight for my dad and hugged his legs. Another little girl came walking in, sat down and just waited to hear what this was all about. I later learned that she was with her 2 brothers and her older sister was also at the orphanage.

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These kids are so disciplined, it didn’t take them too long to settle down and find their seats. I don’t speak the best Afrikaans, but I did try (and Karen helped to translate my English as well). I was just so happy to be there and with them sitting there, having already seen the colorful cakes, I was too surprised at them containing their excitement. I asked them if they would sing me a song. And they all immediately got up and stood in front of me and sang and danced and just nearly brought tears of joy to my eyes. They sang two songs before going back to their seats. It was time for the cake!!! First up we asked who like pink. As soon as they figured that we were giving pink cupcakes, those who had not raised their hands first decided they would yell out which colour they wanted. There was green, peach, purple, pink and blue. And I think pink and purple did very well. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them and they were quite curious to see my Peanut who I had in a baby carrier.

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After nearly an hour, it was time for the kids to go back to their houses and prepare for their afternoon activities. They were each given two cookies, one ginger and one coconut. Then they left. Karen offered to show us around the orphanage and so hubby, Peanut and I went with her.

This place is rather big. I was very impressed. Large grounds for sports, a lovely picnic area under trees with benches, they even have a pool. And the houses the children live in are very nice as well. We visited one of the female houses, Erica (all the houses are named after flowers). Each house has. “House Mother” who sleeps in the house with the children. Inside is a living room and kitchen, then upstairs are bedrooms (the older girls get their own room while younger teens share) and large bathrooms (with several showers, wash basins and toilets). The one thing that stood out for me (and this was in each of the bedrooms we looked into) was the state of the cupboards. These girls have their cupboards so organized and neatly packed that it out me to total shame. I don’t think I have ever (even growing up) had my cupboard so neat. Everything in its place: from clothes that are hung up to folded clothes and toiletries. I mean!!! You come into my bedroom (growing up) I wouldn’t be able to tell you what was clean and what was dirty. Karen opened one cupboard and we thought it was just a very organized young lady. But then we went into another bedroom and she opened that cupboard and it too was nearly military grade!

Moving along, we then made our way back towards the main building and looked into some of the classrooms used for after school activities: there’s reading and board games. So the hound children we had just met were now enjoying their afternoon activities before heading back to their houses for (I assumed) a nap.

The older kids were also taking part in their after school activities and so we were not able to meet with them. However we were assured that they too would receive their cakes.

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We learned that some of the children even have weekend outings: a child would be sponsored by a family who would collect them on a Friday afternoon, they would spend the weekend together and then be brought back on Sunday. I didn’t get the particulars of how the children get chosen. And I would assume the “host” family would first have to go through rigorous screening as well as have police clearance, etc. But I did find it great that this option is there.

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Karen told us about the donations they have received over the last year and what an impact it had made to the orphanage. For example, a lady who lives in a house opposite the orphanage offered to paint the outside of the boundary wall so that it looks nice. They also get monetary donations that get used to upgrade the outer facade of the buildings. Someone recently donated furniture for the reception area of the Administrative building. And even with fundraising and donations, of course more can be done. Each year they have a few matriculants and the orphanage, through donations helps with buying the Matric Dance Outfits etc. Once a child has completed High School, they assist with finding Bursaries to further their education. Of course they do try to get many of the children into Foster care if not adoption. I must also add here that when my mum called Karen that week before we went to visit them, Karen reported that they had had a few babies and that they have all been adopted. This was super awesome news.

If you would like to donate or contribute your time or just maybe bake a cake for a birthday or just because, please do get in touch with Karen:

I am so glad I had the opportunity to go visit them and spend some time with the little ones. I would very much like to return and visit with them again.

Lady G


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