The ever-present help
“I will give thanks to you, Lord with all my heart
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.”
The above words from Psalm 9:1, 2 (NIV) have become my daily song. I sing it loudly and I sing it in my heart. I sing it when I am working and when I am walking. I sing it as I go to sleep, and when I wake up. I sing it everywhere. If the Lord God has been the ever-present help to you in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1), then you will know what I am talking about.
My name is Thembelihle, uMaMoyo, married to Qhubekani Ncube for more than 18 years now. God has blessed us with three beautiful girls who are a joy to us. Bokani Lisa was born in 2001, Taboka in 2003, and Thandeka Christine in 2012. When I kept having girl after girl, though I was not saved then, I knew there was God in heaven, and I told myself that he knew best why he was giving us only girls. Relatives were always subtly pushing for a boy because a home without a boy seems to be almost cursed in some of our communities. I was under pressure and even told my husband that I was willing to try for another child, but he said, “No, no! We have enough. How are we going to care for all those children? Life is hard enough as it is!” So, I rested my case.
My husband and I came to Harare to look for work. He got a job as a gardener with very nice people from Norway, Marten and Christine Sodarberg. We have been in the premises of this family to date. They trust Qhubekani with taking care of their home even while they are gone for many months. For a long time, I was simply a house-wife with no job outside the home. Sometimes I would go with other women to cut the tall elephant grass to sell to those who needed thatch along Harare Drive. We did this to try and augment our husbands’ meagre wages.
Our biggest challenge came when Lisa was going to turn five. There was no way we would afford school fees in Harare, particularly in the former A schools, that used to be a reserve for Whites. We knew that education was very important. We did not wish for our child to end up being a domestic worker. Education opens doors in life. So, we decided that I would go to the countryside where Lisa would start school. Even then, we were faced with many problems. Where would we get the money to support family in Harare and also in Dete?
Schools were far apart, and our little girl would have to walk ten kms to and from school each day, unless we sought help from villagers near the school where she could stay during the week. The area in Dete was also known for roaming wild animals like elephants and even lions. These were a big menace to people. Children did not go to school when these animals were in the area. All these things, as well as thinking of the separation from my husband gave me sleepless nights.
Just as we were pondering these sour thoughts, the Sodarberg family had elderly visitors from Norway. The visiting wife said to me, “I hear you have a child by the name of Lisa. I’d love to meet her. I am also Lisa.” The visitors took pictures with Lisa and with all of us in the family. They also asked for Lisa’s birth certificate and got a photocopy of it. Just before they left for Norway, they said, “Do you mind if we educate your child? We are prepared to pay her school fees from now till she completes her education at any school of her choice.”
Some things happen and they are like a sweet dream. You fear that you will wake up to find it was all but a dream. I pinched myself to see whether I was awake. Yes, I was. We were so full of joy. That came with peace of mind. True to their word, the angels sent by God sent the fees for Lisa’s schooling from that year, 2006, to date. They sent money to buy all the school uniforms she needed from toe to head.
The next hurdle came three years down the line when Taboka had to start going to creche. Only my husband brought an income in the family and it was not enough to send Taboka to school. The Sodarbergs told us they would be responsible for Taboka’s fees and school uniforms. What a relief! If this is not being loved and cared for by God, then I do not know what it is. My husband only provided the food we ate. All else was taken care of.
Taboka became a star in tennis at Vainona Primary School. She even was a captain of the team for three years running. Thanks to the Sodarbergs who allowed her to play with the family since she was young as they were all tennis fanatics. They bought her all the necessary tennis kit, white skirts and shirts, white takkies and socks, tennis rackets and balls. Taboka won three medals while she was at Primary School. Currently she plays girls’ soccer at Vainona High School and they provide all that is needed. Surely, God has been so good. What more can we ask for.
I did eventually get work at Wendy’s Nursery School at Gora Crescent in Borrowdale. When I was pregnant with Thandeka, Wendy promised that my baby would come to the nursery school for free. And that is what happened. Thandeka’s name is Christine, after Marten’s wife. When she was ready for school, Christine said, “She has my name. We are going to pay for all her schooling.” Thandeka is currently in Grade 2 at Vainona Primary School, where her sisters went. All fees have been paid by the Sodarbergs since she was in Grade 0A four years ago.
What can I say? I have seen God’s abundant blessings befall my family. I have thanked and praised the Lord. A few years ago, I said to God, “Lord God, you gave me a brain to think, and strength to work. I only work half a day at the creche. I need to be fully occupied so I can be a blessing to my family.” God did exactly that. There are so many wanting Thembi Ncube to work for them that I have even recommended other fellow sisters in the Lord who did not have jobs, and they are happily employed.
Life was very hard as it is for so many people in the country. But I want to shout about God’s goodness to my family from the rooftop. He has done great things for my family! Now I am able to support my maternal grandmother in the rural areas, as well as my mother-in-law. Now I can attend church services regularly. I used to miss church many Sundays as I had no bus fare. Now I can pay my dues at church, and even benefit from attending conferences with other women. I even have good job offers that keep coming, so that my prayer is for wisdom on what to choose.
Lisa is in Form 6 now. No one in my husband’s family or in mine has gone that far with their education. My relatives used to say, “Thembi, you are all living in town. With the children? How will you educate them?” I always tell them, “By God’s power!” Lisa is writing her ‘A’ Level examinations, and we are praying she will indeed do well and pursue her dreams in doing a Law course.
If it were not for God, if it were not for his ever-present help in trouble, I do not know where we would be. I am just praying and praising and watching what next.
Thembelihle is married to Qhubekani Ncube and they have the three beautiful girls growing under the wing of God’s amazing grace.