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Circular - March 2017
As most of you know we tried a number of times to get visas for Joyce and Harriet to visit Ireland. We were unsuccessful and it remains a serious concern to me when I consider how they were treated and the reasons given for refusing the visas which I thought not only very unfair but insulting. This was a serious disappointment for Joyce and Harriet who had been excited at the prospect of a visit. It also denied us the opportunity to spend time together and build a better understanding which could benefit the future of the work of Acheru. As we'd failed to bring Joyce and Harriet to Northern Ireland we decided instead to invite them to South Africa, which has become a second home for us. They required visas and the process proved difficult. As with a UK visa, it was certainly a lot more difficult than in the past but at last the visas were granted and Joyce and Harriet have just arrived here. Hazel and I have been out here since mid January staying in the Western Cape where we feel very much at home. We're only a mile from Alan Clegg's house, in a place we've come to love. It's not a holiday, at least that's what I keep telling myself, although we certainly get time for relaxation. Most days I try to spend up to five hours writing and am well advanced with another book, as well as other reports and articles. We've been attending our local church, and I've taken a morning service there. We've also been able to renew our acquaintance with a number of missionaries in the area. I hope Joyce and Harriet will also feel at home in the church here and last Sunday, in preparation for their visit, I was able to show the Acheru film in church and tell people a little about them. It is a big encouragement for us to attend such a distant church, almost at the southern tip of Africa, and find that despite the very serious problems their own country faces they take such a keen interest in Christian work in other parts of the world.
As well as doing some travelling with Joyce and Harriet to show them something of the beauty of this area I am talking to them about the future of Acheru. The day to day work there is largely under the direction of Joyce as administrator and Harriet dealing with Community Based Rehabilitation. They have both given long service and gained a lot of experience. The governance of Acheru is under the local management committee which Africare have handed over to, and we have a good working relationship where I communicate with them from time to time on the business of Africare as it relates to Acheru, and I receive minutes of their board meetings. Beyond that, having given them responsibility for management, I don't want to be seen to be interfering although I have known a number of board members personally for many years. By far the most important part of the Africare/Acheru relationship is dealt with by myself on behalf of Africare, and Joyce on behalf of Acheru. I don't want to undermine anyone else's position but this reflects the reality of the work.
For most of the time our communication consists of the monthly reports, statistics and accounts we receive from Acheru but there are other times when I need to discuss plans with Joyce. It's a system which generally works well, but communicating by e mail is never the same as meeting face to face. It's important for the work that there's more to our relationship than just business and I think having an opportunity to spend time with Joyce and Harriet can only lead to a better understanding. It's a bonus having Alan Clegg here too, he'll be joining us for some of the time and of course he knows Joyce and Harriet well and was instrumental in the establishment of Cherub when we started our work with disabled children.
Brian Dorman

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