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The Bergeys are in South Africa.


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I just checked in on the Bergeys and, to my dismay, they reached South Africa with their multiple children (both bio and adopted) in tow.  

Selina is the lady who famously wiped her blog of incriminating evidence when she found our critiques of her parenting and aspirations to run an orphanage in South Africa.  The Bergeys have no qualifications except unaccredited Bible College "degrees" and "hearts for orphans."

And she gives us an update. http://littlefishministries.org/behind-the-scenes-and-culture-shock/

She has culture shock, their volunteer visas were denied, and they seem to be over-staying their tourist visas.  More Poisonwood.  

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So, when culture shock hit, and hit rather hard, I found myself quite surprised.

The day before we were scheduled to fly to South Africa, our volunteer visas were denied, so we came over on a plain old three month tourist visa. We had no guarantee that we could remain in South Africa longer than that 90 days. The visa issues definitely compounded the culture shock, as it was difficult to attempt to set up our house, stabilize our children, and make this new land home, all while struggling with the stark reality that we might have to leave, and soon. The joy I would have found in buying curtains and hanging family pictures on our walls was overshadowed by a fear of having to sell everything. Again.

Previous thread contains links to her old (much edited) blogs: 

 

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Got to say, if I was on a 3 month tourist visa, I'd be a bit more careful about blogging the fact I'm planning to stay a lot longer, and doing things I shouldn't be doing...

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From the blog post linked above

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I first felt the culture shock at the mall, of all places. We had been here for 2 days. I felt like I was walking around in a jet-lagged fog. Some of the other missionaries invited us to meet them for lunch at the mall, and in theory, it sounded like fun.

In reality, it was terrifying.

Brent sat down with the missionaries and our children, and sent me to order food from the food court.

Here I was, in a mall, a beautiful mall, in Africa, where everyone even spoke MY language, and I was so overwhelmed I could barely breathe.

I wanted to run, to hide, to sleep, anything but being in that mall. 

I couldn’t order anything. I slipped next to Brent and whispered in his ear, “I’m sorry. I can’t seem to figure out what to order for our family. I need help.”

He ordered and I sat down and tried to act normal. When the food came, the intensity of the feelings were so strong, I couldn’t swallow. I acted like I wasn’t hungry and willed away the minutes until we could get back to our house.

There are actually grocery stores in the malls here in South Africa, which seemed funny at first, but has since become a nice reality. You can purchase your groceries, then walk around the mall with your full shopping cart (trolley) if you have more shopping to do. So, after the less than enjoyable lunch experience, Brent took me into the grocery store. He said he would sit with the children outside the store and let me “grab a few essentials”.

That sounded great in theory.

I grabbed my trolley and started walking the aisles. You know how it feels when you go on a trip and visit a new grocery store? It takes three times as long as usual to shop because you don’t know where anything is located. Toilet paper? Aisle 13. Milk? You missed that over on aisle 3. You know how challenging it can be.

Well, that first grocery shopping experience in Africa was about 100 times worse for me.

I didn’t recognize ONE single label. There was a whole aisle of “biscuits”, which I later learned were actually cookies. (I should have grabbed some!) The difference from rands to dollars made everything seem crazy expensive. The shopping clerks had heavy accents, so even when I asked for help, we had trouble understanding each other. I wandered up and down the aisles for about 15 minutes. That crazy I-can’t-breathe-run-for-help feeling hit again and I left the store, with an empty trolley and tears.

“I’m sorry.” I whispered to Brent. “I’m just a little overwhelmed. I didn’t buy anything.” 

He gave me a hug, took us home, and returned to the store (alone!), and finished the shopping. He continued doing all of the grocery shopping for about a month. (Yes, I’m so thankful for him!)

It’s difficult to explain the extreme cultural differences here in South Africa, so I won’t attempt that here. But if the mall caused anxiety, the townships caused even more at first. Don’t get me wrong—I love the people and was burdened to serve—but my body reacted emotionally to the drastic differences in culture.

Why do people so inept, fearful and self centered have the arrogance to think they are qualified to go to another country to help and save the people there?

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God laid it on their hearts.  They have a burden for Africa.  And orphans.

To give a bit more background on dear Selina - she's a child-collector too.  She started by adopting a 14 year old special needs girl from China who had issues not uncommon for older adopted children, but ones Selina had no idea how to cope with.  Unlike Selina, I will protect her privacy by not giving more details.  Said daughter was slung into residential care until her spirit was broken and she developed the requisite "servant's heart." 

While all this was happening Selina adopted two more babies from China, and they got the bright idea to go to South Africa.  Because orphans in South Africa need Jesus.  And the Bergeys.

So they did a Rodriques and packed the family into an RV for Deputation.  Oldest adopted daughter eventually taken back into the family - and was treated like an unpaid nanny by Selina.  Such a stable life for children - especially those whose lives have already been disrupted by adoption.  And residential care.

Since then, the Bergeys have adopted another baby (from a disrupted adoption) and had another bio baby.

Now the whole crew are missionaries in South Africa.  Possibly illegally.

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As if SA doesn't have enough to deal with, they're also stuck with these delusional fuckwads. Poisonwood Bible indeed.

People like Selina & her asshat husband make me want to forward the link to her blog to SA immigration authorities. They may not be illegal yet but the intent to evade visa requirements is clearly expressed in that blog entry. Speaking of which, pardon me while I screenshot that post!

 

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If she can't even purchase groceries how the fuck is she planning on doing anything there besides wandering around being helpless? 

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This woman is a fucking dumbass.

1) She was surprised there were GROCERY STORES in a SHOPPING MALL. Shopping malls usually contain grocery stores, right? How backward did she think South Africa was? I admit I've not heard of malls where you can wander round with your grocery trolley, but that's by-the-by here.

2) She didn't recognise any labels. Well NO SHIT SHERLOCK it's a DIFFERENT COUNTRY on a DIFFERENT CONTINENT. Of COURSE they're going to have different brands. Even if she didn't recognise the labels, she ought to be able to recognise the damn food, especially since the labels would all be in English. Most of the food would be the same in both countries, the cuisine of SA and of the USA are not mutually exclusive. 

3) They all speak "HER" language? She didn't know that most South Africans speak English?

If you're going to a new country DO SOME FUCKING RESEARCH. 

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I'm glad they're so fucking inept. Keeps them from doing too much harm to the people of South Africa.

I do wonder if they've managed to get the visa they need at this point. She mentions that they've been in RSA for 5 months, so either they did finally get their visa situation sorted, or they're already there illegally. In which case, I would LOVE it if they were deported. :)

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So, is one child missing from their biography?

Edit: Nevermind, I see that the oldest is still there. I didn't think she was as old as she should be so I got confused. :my_cool:

Edited by meowfundiecatz
math is hard
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Why would you go to a country you've never been to before and just assume you can start a non-profit? Who does that? Wouldn't you visit first? Do sone recon and see if it's a good fit? Since they didn't know the basics like English being spoken there, wtf were they thinking? Oh, they weren't. 

If these people don't understand basics, like how to immigrate legally, how are they going to manage to understand and take part in court proceedings to terminate rights in a country that may have a high rate of fraud in that area (like many other countries)? How will they background check potential adoptive parents to avoid trafficking and abusive homes?

An orphanage is not just a collection of children, and it takes specialized knowledge and a lot of resources to run one that truly looks after the best interest of the children. There's a reason why they've disappeared from many Western countries.

Some people piss me off so much. People who play with the lives of children like this are right up there at the top of the list. Idiots who can't even bother to learn about where they're traveling and are therefore culturally insensitive are also on that list.

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What a totally moronic idiotic crap pretend human being. Has she been hiding behind rocks all her life? Shopping in a SA mall is perfectly easy. I've done it. I'm not a Mensa member. Look at the labels. Ask the staff. Omg they have a different skin colour!!! So bloody what? You chose to go the SA. Worse than Shrader in Zambia and Hodnett in Scotland. Idiots complete bloody idiots. God help SA. 

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5 hours ago, mango_fandango said:

This woman is a fucking dumbass.

1) She was surprised there were GROCERY STORES in a SHOPPING MALL. Shopping malls usually contain grocery stores, right? How backward did she think South Africa was? I admit I've not heard of malls where you can wander round with your grocery trolley, but that's by-the-by here.

(my bold)

Not to defend this twit, but I've never seen a grocery store in a shopping mall. I'm not a huge traveller, but I think I've been to malls in at least 4 or 5 different states in the US. Other than a store selling vitamins and protein powder, the only food I've seen in malls is at restaurants. 

(Just to avoid any confusion) I don't know about other places, but most people here define a mall as an enclosed building, where shoppers don't go outdoors to go from one shop to the next. We call shopping areas where several stores are all in a row, but each has a separate outdoor entrance a shopping center or maybe a strip mall. (I wonder why we don't make word play with that? "Strip mall" really is ripe for a good/bad pun.)

All the grocery stores I can think of are/were in a shopping center or free standing. 

I really hope these folks head home and reassess their plans for life. :(

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Hm. Clearly it's different in the UK then. My local "shopping centre" is I think what you'd call a mall, lots of outlets in one building aka under one roof. It has two supermarkets (what'd you'd call grocery stores); one has an outdoor entrance but there's one indoors as well. You can't wheel the trolley round the other outlets though. When I lived in Germany for a year there was a shopping centre nearby that was similar in that it had a couple of supermarkets included, no separate outdoor entrance. 

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By the time I was eleven years old, I understood basic currency conversion and could shop in a grocery where they didn't speak "my" language.  As did pretty much everyone else in my Grade Six class, as we all went on our school trips together to the USA and Quebec.

This woman is horribly delayed, both intellectually and emotionally.  If she cannot handle a strange grocery in an English speaking country, and her arithmetic skills are at the low primary school level, she has no business trying to start a mission there.  She needs more supports than the clients will.  She's an object of pity, not snark.  

 

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26 minutes ago, WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo? said:

Not to defend this twit, but I've never seen a grocery store in a shopping mall. I'm not a huge traveller, but I think I've been to malls in at least 4 or 5 different states in the US. Other than a store selling vitamins and protein powder, the only food I've seen in malls is at restaurants. 

(Just to avoid any confusion) I don't know about other places, but most people here define a mall as an enclosed building, where shoppers don't go outdoors to go from one shop to the next. We call shopping areas where several stores are all in a row, but each has a separate outdoor entrance a shopping center or maybe a strip mall. (I wonder why we don't make word play with that? "Strip mall" really is ripe for a good/bad pun.)

All the grocery stores I can think of are/were in a shopping center or free standing. 

I really hope these folks head home and reassess their plans for life. :(

In Europe all shopping malls (all those I have visited) have grocery stores. I get that this may be a cultural difference, but it's just a shop that sells food too, nothing misterious or scary. It would be as if I got culture shock because in an American shopping mall I found a vitamins shop. Ridiculous.

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@laPapessaGiovanna, I hope that if I ever get to spend more than just a quick vacation in another country, I will do a bit of research first. I also hope that if I discovered something new to me, like a grocery store in a mall, my reaction would be a sensible one. Along the lines of, "Cool! That makes a lot of sense. I wonder why we don't have that back home?" 

I get feeling a bit homesick, but being incapacitated to the point of not being able to eat or buy food is (to me) a sign that maybe she is in over her head.

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She was moving permanently to SA and didn't know they called cookies biscuits?   I mean that's minor of course, but it's just an indicator of how little research was done about the culture. Did they not know anyone from SA? Why did they choose it? We're they opening their own orphanage? Or joining to work with someone else? 

I have heard about the SA malls, it does sound overwhelming, but then I find most malls overwhelming. And I find it difficult to order food for my whole family like that, so I can relate to that part. But it's just one of the many reasons I don't up and move to a new country with no research (and believe me, if I did have to move I would find out every single thing I could about it by the time I got there!)

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5 hours ago, Imagine20 said:

Why would you go to a country you've never been to before and just assume you can start a non-profit? Who does that? Wouldn't you visit first? Do sone recon and see if it's a good fit? Since they didn't know the basics like English being spoken there, wtf were they thinking? Oh, they weren't. 

Actually they did a trip there, supposedly to verify their own suitability and the needs of the people there. It turned into a vacation with their bio children, the adoptive ones were left back in the US, one institutionalized and two with relatives iirc.

They toured an impoverished neighborhood and verified that there were children with a sad look living in poor homes and proceded to take eleventy pictures of them. From this they deducted that there was a great need in SA for the Bergeys to open an orphanage, because of course.

I don't know if the culture shock post was for real or if it was an increased drama version, very probable with Selina. Or she was playing the helpless doormat er helpmeet for her own reasons.

5 hours ago, Imagine20 said:

If these people don't understand basics, like how to immigrate legally, how are they going to manage to understand and take part in court proceedings to terminate rights in a country that may have a high rate of fraud in that area (like many other countries)? How will they background check potential adoptive parents to avoid trafficking and abusive homes?

Background checks? You mean making sure the adoptive parents are the right kind of Christian?

5 hours ago, Imagine20 said:

orphanage is not just a collection of children, and it takes specialized knowledge and a lot of resources to run one that truly looks after the best interest of the children. There's a reason why they've disappeared from many Western countries.

But but they have a BURDEN for the ORPHANS! And orphans stay in an orphanage of course. And even better in an orphanage with Jesus! What could go wrong? 

The white missionary saviour syndrome is strong with them.

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Are they aware that you can't adopt in RSA if you're not a citizen or permanent resident? What exactly are their plans for this orphanage? 

ETA: I'm going to assume they don't know about the adoption rules given that they think there is neither electricity nor hot running water in Sudan. 

Edited by subsaharanafrica
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It seems like she hasn't even read the most basic articles about how South Africa is different to the USA.  I think I've read one of those about every country I've ever been to, just because they're fun!   And there are any number of "what's it like moving to....?" articles out there, too.   But "ZOMG they're called BISCUITS!" counts for all the English-speaking countries outside North America.  It's like me getting amazed in NYC that I couldn't find biscuits in a supermarket but there are these weird things that look just like biscuits, but are called cookies.

I completely understand culture shock can be stressful, but this is ridiculous.  Getting upset that she didn't recognise brands, to the point that she couldn't shop for a month?  Literally no sympathy. 

Either she's the most delicate, most unprepared snowflake, who absolutely shouldn't be in charge of any child's education - or she's living in a nice suburb, hanging out in the mall with other missionaries, and needs to make it sound far more dramatic to keep the cash rolling in.   Either way, I hope she's allowed nowhere near actual orphans.

Edited by Lurky
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4 hours ago, mango_fandango said:

Hm. Clearly it's different in the UK then. My local "shopping centre" is I think what you'd call a mall, lots of outlets in one building aka under one roof. It has two supermarkets (what'd you'd call grocery stores); one has an outdoor entrance but there's one indoors as well. You can't wheel the trolley round the other outlets though. When I lived in Germany for a year there was a shopping centre nearby that was similar in that it had a couple of supermarkets included, no separate outdoor entrance. 

I've seen a few malls with attached grocery stores in the States, usually in predominantly ethnic neighborhoods where the groceries cater to that clientele. One exception would be Westside Pavilion in Los Angeles, which is a "regular" mall with Macy's and Nordstrom anchors that also has (or had, haven't been there in ages) a supermarket on one level.

In any case: A, I agree that shopping malls with grocery stores aren't particularly common or expected in the US, and B, that's still a really stupid source of culture shock.

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Oh boooohoooooo. 

 

When Mr. EW was 24, he flew solo to West Africa to help with some mission work. There were no malls or traditional grocery stores. They went to the market once a week and that's it. You didn't go out after dark because the Witch Doctors hated your guts. 

He never complained. 

 

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I will NEVER understand the overseas missionary family. Never. Here's a novel idea. If you have a heart for orphans, start your little travel + beg and SEND the money to an already established orphanage in Africa. Otherwise you are wasting people's donated money on your children's plane tickets, food, visas, and housing. Stay your ass at HOME! If one of you wants to help with a new orphanage, work with someone who lives there and knows what the fuck they are doing. There's this handy thing called the internet where you can research orphanages and can communicate via email. For free!   Have your husband travel by himself (only one expensive plane ticket!) and work with some of those people for a few weeks and donate all the money you collected goes to the orphanage. This is like Operation Christmas Child. Send MONEY instead of that junk in a shoebox. Hint: your family is the junk in a shoe box. I am being harsh but it's the truth. If you wanted to help the orphans, you should've stayed at home. 

BTW, it seems she was having a panic attack in the mall but I'm sure she will do nothing for her anxiety but pray. And I doubt this will be her last episode in SA.

Edited by JermajestyDuggar
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I love to go to grocery stores in other countries. It is so much fun to just walk around and imagine what products you would buy if you lived there and compare prizes and see what is expensive and cheap in that country compared to my own. "Oh, butter is extremely expensive but avocados are dirt cheap!" "There seems to be three major brands of wheat flour. Would I buy the Pleasant Meadows brand, the Johnson brand or the store's own brand? Hmm, I would probably buy the cheap store brand and if it is crap I would buy one of the other brands." I absolutely love that!

I am also shocked at how confused she was, I bought some stuff in a grocery store in Russia and I don't speak Russian and most of the clerks didn't speak either Swedish, English, German or Spanish which I speak. I pointed and we used pen and paper as the numbers were at least the same. I remember when I couldn't get a clerk to understand I wanted the prize of an item. I finally found the magic word in English "money" and she understood what I wanted. 

About grocery stores in the mall. In Sweden most big malls would have grocery stores especially the type that is not in the city center. Even in city centers usually at least one of the malls has a grocery store. 

Edited by elliha
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My husband had to travel out of the mainland United States for work this summer. We talked about me going with him. Guess what I did? I researched the cuisine, I researched some about the culture, and I researched some fun things to do. I knew going was a slim chance, but I still felt the need to research. I didn't get to go. :pb_cry:

I know very little about South Africa. I am trying to picture so myself being there without any research. I have been aware that English is spoken in South Africa since I was a child or young teen. If I were trying to order food I would ask for a recommendation from one of the missionaries, ask a local for a recommendation, or I would have just been adventurous and tried something. My response to see the grocery store would have been thinking it was convenient since we were already at the mall and needed stuff. It would have only taken me seconds to recall that cookies are called biscuits in the U.K. 

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