For all who are following our work with Irene, the 15 year-old runner who lives in a White squatter camp near Pretoria, South Africa, here’s the news:
On my last trip I went to a school regional track meet where Irene ran in both the 800m and the 1500m races. She won Gold in both. I also discovered that she runs barefoot, as do most of the children, because they can’t afford shoes. The shoes we made for Irene were customized since she has no toes. They were stolen within days by a drug addict in the camp. He sold them so we can’t get them back even though we know who he is. So now she runs with no shoes.
This is where Irene lives. They eat when there is food. They bathe where there is water. But they praise God everyday for what He has given them.
I was told that Irene’s time in the 1500m was 4:48. The world record for 15-year-olds is 4:00. She is doing very well.
I also found out that she is in a Special Ed school. I don’t believe this has anything to do with her abilities. I think that as a result of the trauma in her life, which we are still investigating, she simply cannot cope with regular classes and in South Africa, the solution is to send all these students, regardless of the real issues, to Special Ed schools. Unfortunately, this turns out to be baby-sitting, not education. So, one more issue that we must address with Irene.
Please pray for her. We are doing what we can, thanks to many of you, but the problems are much deeper than we thought.
When Irene was a child, boiling water spilled on her feet. She lost most of her toes.
For everyone who is following the story about Irene, please read.
1. I will be back in South Africa in about 10 days. I am planning to see Irene and her family and do more interviews and video
2. IF YOU MADE ANY CONTRIBUTION toward Irene’s needs, PLEASE SEND ME A SMALL PICTURE OF YOURSELF so that I can show your face to Irene and she will know who it is that has blessed her. Just send the photo to my email address (with name please). firstname.lastname@example.org DO IT RIGHT AWAY.
3. Irene has had pneumonia, not uncommon for her living conditions, but dangerous at 14 years old. She seems to have recovered after much prayer, etc. but please keep her in your prayers. I have also learned that as a child she suffered damage to her rib-cage and needs now some support equipment. It is amazing that she is such an athlete. So I will investigate this when I get there.
4. Irene won 2 gold medals on November 2 in spite of the above. At God’s Table provided her with the registration support. THANKS
I will give all of you a full report after I see her.
Thank you so much for your compassion.
9 people now have made contributions to Irene’s running. One person is following up on some other help and one couple even asked about how to get Irene and her family to the USA.
In total, we raised more than $2000 for Irene.
This will go into the At God’s Table bank account in South Africa and be used to sponsor Irene’s entry fees into races.
THANK YOU! There is hardly anything more satisfying in the world than being the hands and feet of YHWH.
But Irene didn’t quit. Now Irene runs – fast and far. She is a champion long distance runner from a place that no one wants to admit even exists in a world where she is a complete outsider.
Each time that Irene runs, people notice. Each time she wins, she moves just a bit further away from the victimized life of the camps. Irene is running away from her poverty one race at a time until someone finally sees that she is a winner, an over-comer, a young girl who needs to be given a better opportunity to succeed.
Irene needs sponsors to enter these events. The government provides nothing, not even school assistance. But we can help Irene. Will you join with the rest of the community to become a sponsor of a poor white girl in the midst of a racially motivated government?