Since projects have returned to normal after the pandemic, driving has taken two different forms in two different vehicles. Some of the week is spent in an accessible car collecting individual people from their homes, and some of the week is spent driving a minibus collecting several people who live in a similar area and bringing them all to the farm together.
Collecting individual people from their homes and driving them to the farm is such a privilege. It is fantastic that the car can transport those in wheelchairs safely and easily as well as those with little or no mobility problems meaning that there is no barrier to anyone coming to the farm for projects. These one to one conversations in the car with individuals about health, housing, family, friends etc are so precious. I don’t have a great memory but I do try to remember whose family members are unwell or struggling, who has ongoing health issues etc and it is great to be able to catch up each week with ongoing situations and to be a listening ear.
The promise of prayer for difficult situations is always gratefully accepted and the opportunity to celebrate good news together is also precious. Occasionally passengers are very quiet and withdrawn when they get in the car and don’t want to talk and the journey is a quiet place but a safe space. But as each person attends their project each week, our relationships as travelling companions grow, as do trust and confidence.
Journeys on the minibus take on a much different flavour. Beneficiaries share events of the week with each other, chats about football, world news, TV programmes, the weather etc. There is often banter and joking and a general sense of excitement to be going to the farm for some time. There is much chatter about what will be for lunch and more importantly what’s for dessert! The return journey is just as noisy as beneficiaries share their thoughts on the lunch provided and tell each other what they have been doing the day on their project. There are chats about upcoming football matches, soap storylines and recipe swaps, the state of the world, politics and benefits, music, fashion and family. There is one journey which has little of this though. This is the journey home after the monthly Bible study – the bus often fills with singing and laughter and people sharing what they have learned at the Bible study. It’s beautiful to hear beneficiaries sharing truths about Jesus with each other.