Map of South AfricaAdam and Lora Willard were US Peace Corps Volunteers in South Africa from July 2008 until November 2010.  While in South Africa they lived in a rural village known as Dumphries B, located in the northeastern Mpumalanga province and just a few kilometers from the fence of Kruger National Park.  Almost everyone in Dumphries B are members of the Shangaan tribe and spoke the xiTsonga/Shangaan language, which we also learned to communicate competently.  Many residents of Dumphries B were also refugees from political turmoil in Mozambique.

With Peace Corps South Africa, Lora and Adam were part of the School and Community Resources Project and worked for two primary schools in the area.  In Dumphries B was Mahlahluvana Primary School, and just 4-5 kilometers away in Dumphries A was Welani Primary School.  Our job was to assess the needs and resources of the schools and community and participate in developing them and strengthening the teachers and school staff in any way possible.

To that end, Lora engaged primarily in literacy projects.  She organized and created a library at both primary schools, trainedLora with the Book Club at Mahlahluvana children and teachers to run and manage the libraries, and created a curriculum for the library to be used school-wide on a weekly basis for every class.  She also started an after-school reading club at Mahlahluvana and developed a curriculum for teaching literacy to Grades 2 and 3 and trained those teachers in how to use it to improve the literacy rates of the learners (which were dismally low).

One major area of involvement for Adam was Information Technology.  He created a curriculum and did one-on-one training with all the teachers and staff at each school, teaching basic computer skills to most and advanced skills including maintenance and repair to a few.  He also did computer repair work (for free, as Peace Corps is an entirely non-profit job) for everyone who asked for it in about a 20-mile radius.  Near the end of his service, he set up a computer lab (with the help of Ulusaba and Emmaus Road Church) for teaching computer skills to the learners, at each primary school and the replacement Peace Corps Volunteer took up this work.

Adam also began an after-school Art Club at Mahlahluvana Primary School that he co-taught with another teacher.  With the Art Club, the kids did contests, painted murals at the school (including a giant world map and South African map), and eventually took a field trip to the capital city to visit art museums and professional sculptors.

World Cup Mural painting by Mahlahluvana Art ClubFinally, Adam was also heavily involved in helping the schools develop their local resources.  This particularly included helping solidify a partnership between the schools and a local private game lodge, Ulusaba.  Through this partnership, Ulusaba and their guests funded many projects for the schools including both libraries and computer labs, the Art Club murals and field trip, a playground and sports field for Mahlahluvana, and the publishing of a cultural yearbook created by the Grade 7 class with Adam.

We both immensely enjoyed our time in South Africa and even extended our time by 2 months more than our contracted date in order to properly finish up some of our projects.  The opportunity to live among and live as the rural South Africans and build deep and meaningful relationships with them and our co-workers was more rewarding than can ever be explained.  On top of that, we brought a wonderful souvenir back with us from South Africa, our son, Matimu!  His name actually means "History" in the Shangaan language.

All of the posts on this page are e-mail newsletters we sent out during our time in South Africa.  If you're just visiting this page but you'd like to receive similar and regular updates throughout our years in Madagascar, just send us a message with your e-mail address and we'll add you to the list.

If you'd like to see the photo-filled book we created with the 7th graders from Mahlahluvana, please click the cover here to download the .pdf.

It's really a fantastic piece of cross-cultural communication, as the 7th graders did their best to share their lives in the English language.  All of their writing has been preserved just as they wrote it, with pictures drawn by the kids and with photos of the authors in the middle of their daily activities.

Modern Shangaan Life: From a 7th Grade Perspective

Click here for the Modern Shangaan Life: From a 7th Grade Perspective, book in .pdf format

 

And if you'd like to read all of our articles / stories from South Africa in one printable .pdf document, then please click here and enjoy!

Thoughts from South Africa by Adam & Lora Willard

 

 Click here for an album of our best pictures from South Africa:

Click here for an album of our best South Africa photos

Click here for an album of our best South Africa photos!

 

 

Merry Christmas!

Each and every one of us were foreigners to God’s Kingdom, to his lands, and with no hope of acceptance. So then God came to us, to our land. As one of us, he tore down the fences and the dividing walls that were built by our sin; and the effort killed him. But death couldn’t keep him and…

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David Immanuel Willard is Here!

David Immanuel Willard has made his grand entrance! Born on Dec 6th at 3:17 am in Pretoria, South Africa (7:17 pm Dec 5th, CST), weighing 7.6 lbs. and 21 in. long, he’s a sight to behold!

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South Africa & Tanzania 2013 Photos

We visited South Africa and Tanzania between April and June 2013, visiting the village where we used to be PCVs, some training in Tanzania, a safari in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, and visiting a missionary team in an Alagwa village in Tanzania. 124 photos

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Back and Forth

We stepped off the taxi, three of us this time, back in our village in South Africa.  We began...

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Transition to Madagascar Photos

Pictures from our move to Madagascar. They’re mostly from South Africa, in Pretoria, Dumphries, and Kruger, where we stopped for a few weeks along the way to visit friends and “family”. But the last 10-15 are from our arrival in Madagascar. 139 photos

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South Africa – Best Of Photos

These are a collection of our best photos from our time in Peace Corps South Africa, living in Dumphries in Mpumalanga province (near the border of Kruger), and working in the School and Community Resources Project. It was a great time, from July 2008 to November 2010. 513 photos.

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Ku Tsundzuka

Our time is up.  We extended a couple of months, but those are finished now too.  After nearly two...

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Video Introduction

Watch this video for an introduction to the Antakarana people and our work among them

Latest News

7 days ago

Willards in Madagascar - www.madmissions.com

I had an awesome week at the global YWAM Frontier Missions regional leaders' conference! It was our first time to be at a gathering like this and it was so encouraging to be with people who share with us the same passion for reaching the unreached and the same vision for seeing disciples and churches multiplied among them. We had so many great times of prayer and fellowship and discussion and feedback with one another.

Many of you know that we've been discouraged lately with the circumstances of the work in northern Madagascar and we've felt very much alone in our efforts. But being with our co-workers in YWAM Frontier Missions this past week has helped us see that we're not at all alone (even if we're often distant from others) and we can see that God is doing amazing works around the world! We also learned that it's not uncommon for many places and people groups to take many many years (many more years than we've already invested) of difficult work and perseverance before disciple-making movements can begin, yet God is faithful! So it's been so encouraging for us!

It was also my privilege to serve at the conference by being the primary driver for taking people to/from the airport, and to/from the conference facilities each day. During the last 9 days I drove over 2,200 km (1,350 miles)! And I was still able to participate in all the meetings and group sessions each day (and Lora Willard and the kids were able to join me for the last few days). So it was a very full week, but very much worth it! God is blessing us in this time!
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So glad you're getting the encouragement you need. Blessings to you and your family.

Amen

2 weeks ago

Willards in Madagascar - www.madmissions.com

We had a really great time at the staff conference this week at YWAM Worcester! It was so refreshing to hear from others who've been led by God to pioneer new ministries in very challenging and sometimes dangerous situations, to hear of their perseverance and God's faithfulness to them and through them, and to hear about the principles and truths that God has taught them throughout it all. Much of it were things we've also learned over the last 5 years or so, but it was so great to also hear it from others, and to hear of the great results that God eventually accomplished through them, and to be encouraged to keep moving forward ourselves.

And this coming week I'm very excited to help support the global YWAM Frontier Missions regional leaders conference! It will be full of people whose passion and efforts are specifically geared towards reaching unreached people groups all around the world and who use the same sort of strategies and who have the same vision we do. I've already met a few of them and they've been super kind, and it's already been similarly refreshing to hear their stories of hardship, perseverance, and God's faithfulness. So I imagine a whole week with them will be awesome! Please pray for Lora and the kids though while I'll be gone for a week, because they aren't able to come with me this time.
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Am praying for you and your family

David had his first day of school (pre-school) today! Here at YWAM Worcester they have both a pre-school and elementary school on campus, so both David and Matimu are attending while were here. David was so excited to go to school and hes informed us that hes a very big boy now! It seems like they have a really great preschool program with lots of other kids for David to befriend and the teachers said he did really great on his first day today. Look at the last picture posted here for a humorous look at what the pre-schools first activity of the day was!Image attachmentImage attachment

David had his first day of school (pre-school) today! Here at YWAM Worcester they have both a pre-school and elementary school on campus, so both David and Matimu are attending while we're here. David was so excited to go to school and he's informed us that he's a "very big boy" now! It seems like they have a really great preschool program with lots of other kids for David to befriend and the teachers said he did really great on his first day today. Look at the last picture posted here for a humorous look at what the pre-school's first activity of the day was! ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Willards in Madagascar - www.madmissions.com
We made it to YWAM Worcester!  The train was only a few hours late and we hardly noticed.  The time (27.5 hrs) flew by as it was definitely the most comfortable long trip weve ever made.  We could fully stretch out in the comfortable bunk beds, and there was even a hot shower in each train car!  The overall scenery wasnt as varied or great as hoped for, but the last hour or so was spectacular as we drove past vineyards and jagged mountains.  I got this picture of our train going into the mountains shortly before arriving in Worcester - very scenic!  

So now were settling in here at the YWAM base, meeting people, figuring out what our next few months will look like, and really getting started with our sabbatical.  Were expecting it to be a great time!

We made it to YWAM Worcester! The train was only a few hours late and we hardly noticed. The time (27.5 hrs) flew by as it was definitely the most comfortable long trip we've ever made. We could fully stretch out in the comfortable bunk beds, and there was even a hot shower in each train car! The overall scenery wasn't as varied or great as hoped for, but the last hour or so was spectacular as we drove past vineyards and jagged mountains. I got this picture of our train going into the mountains shortly before arriving in Worcester - very scenic!

So now we're settling in here at the YWAM base, meeting people, figuring out what our next few months will look like, and really getting started with our sabbatical. We're expecting it to be a great time!
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May God be with you .

FCE ZAL

Welcome! It is great to have you guys with us ❤️

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