In 2005, Priscilla, a mother of 4 in the township of Guguletu, was approached by Social Services and asked if she would be willing to become a foster mother to two orphans who lived in her neighborhood. Priscilla was 51 years old, a diabetic with high blood pressure living in a home with only two rooms. Priscilla said yes, there was no way she could turn her back on these children. She knew she could provide a safe and loving home for them along with her own children. The government provides support of R600/mo (about $75/mo) per child. Priscilla is responsible for food, education fees and school uniforms. Soon after the two children came to live with Priscilla, Social Services was back asking her if she would be willing to take in a family of three. Again, Priscilla said yes; she couldn’t say no and couldn’t break up a family unit. After one year Social Services was back again. “Please,” they said, “you are so wonderful with these children and we need your help.” Here was another family that needed assistance, all in all Priscilla now had 12 foster children. At this time most of her own children were grown and out of the house but they would come daily to help their mother in taking care of the children. The government only pays for 6 children but since most of the children were part of a family she did not want to break up the family. I met Priscilla in 2006, and since that time she has had many visitors from overseas. The visitors include college students, church groups, families on holiday and many friends of Acacia Global.
Upon meeting Priscilla you are instantly captivated by her presence. She has a huge beautiful smile and a hug to match. She makes you feel so welcome in her home. Students from the University of Minnesota were so in awe of Priscilla that they wanted to do something special to say thank you to her for all she did for so many children. They went back to Minneapolis and started raising money by selling t-shirts and talking about Priscilla to their friends and family. They raised enough funds to be able to add two bedrooms and improve the bathroom to accommodate the growing family.
In 2007, the Dan and Carol Wolfe family from Minnesota were in Cape Town on holiday. After meeting Priscilla they too were so taken by her generosity that they wanted to assist her and her family. Priscilla continues to receive a monthly food parcel delivered to her to this very day.
In March of 2010 Priscilla suffered a massive stroke. She was in the hospital and rehab for two months and had to use a brace. This past June, through continued rehab visits, she no longer needs to use her brace. During the hospital and rehab stays the children were taken care of by neighbor women who continue to assist with laundry, cleaning and preparing food.
When I was in Cape Town last October visiting Priscilla I discovered that she had taken in two more foster children. I was shocked. A neighbor woman has a serious drinking problem and Priscilla felt her two children were not safe so she took them into her home. The government agreed to sponsor 7 children instead of 6 so that has helped her a bit. A local minister has been assisting Priscilla with clothing and uniforms for the children but it never seems to be enough but she definitely makes the most from the generosity of so many. As I mentioned before, she always has a smile on her face, is willing to tell her story and make you feel welcome in her home. The children of Guguletu are fortunate to have a Priscilla in their lives!