Fire in Kya Sands


We had been working for over a month looking for people that our summer teams had met and had ministry conversations with. We now

stood there at the top of the hill looking at where we once had weaved in out of, looking for shack numbers and people, left in ashes.

Some of our Bible study friends lost their homes, their clothes, their money, everything.

Many people lined up to register how much land they once held, where they home had once stood. I began to walk around the site along with these now homeless people. They already have so little and now even that is gone. Even though they had lost everything, they were all pulling together, attempting to rebuild and prod the process along as quickly as possible.

After the land had been cleared a large bulldozer drove in and started clearing the land, crushing everything in it’s path and demolishing whatever was left behind. All I could think about is how difficult it would be to watch where my home once was, any fond memory I had of where I lived was now being erased. These people are so used to suffering that they have become numb to the pain yet still find a way to be joyful in their circumstances. That was the most difficult thing for me to process through. The most unfathomable to me, consistently, is how the people who live in these informal settlements continue to find the positive in their difficult and uncomfortable situations.

Many of the people who live in these settlements are from a surrounding country in Africa. In December, most leave South Africa and travel home to spend a month or two before returning to find work. They save up the whole year (and sometimes years) for the expensive trek home. When Americans experience a house fire, they list off the expensive electronics and maybe the precious family photos they lost. These people were devastated at losing a pair of shoes or all their money that had kept in a tin can inside their shack.

When we found out that our friends had lost their homes, we decided that although we couldn’t help everyone who had lost their homes, we could help the ones we knew. Some of us interns along with Impact Africa staff came together and put together bags with soap, snacks, bottles, clothes, and blankets, along with a Bible for each mother. They were most excited about the Bibles and continued to thank us! Even though this fire happened at the beginning of the month when they had been attending our Bible study for only a few weeks, they still come and one of the women rides a bus from a separate community because she loves it so much. They all have homes and I am so thankful they are safe!!


3 thoughts on “Fire in Kya Sands

  1. Hi, Ashley!
    My name is Kathy Hartman, and I live in Beloit, Wi. Saw your article in the BDN and have been saving it to show my son and his wife. I haven’t had the chance yet, but what captured my attention was the last paragraph in the article. You stated, “Long term, I hope to travel all around the world to different countries…..
    to capture the culture and true essence of other countries through photography and writing……….”

    Last March, our son, Jeff and his wife, Brooke, began a year long adventure as photojournalists with World Next Door – a free online magazine designed to “change a reader’s life forever.” WND is based out of Indianapolis. Since March they have been in Rwanda, Cambodia, Nepal, Las Vegas [as I write], and will complete the year in Cuba.

    There is so much I share would like to share with you, but if you would be interested you can read our daughter-in-law’s blog on World Press……. Then scroll down about 4 listings and you’ll see 2013:World Next Door Hi, want to hear a story?

    They will be here around Christmas. If you will be home and would like to meet them and learn more, we all could meet for a cup of coffee. If this truly is the Holy Spirit’s prompting, somehow it will work out. If not……just know there’s this crazy lady who lives outside of Beloit who has had you on her heart!!! Have a blessed Thanksgiving. My phone # is 608-751-3491. We live at 9939 S. Walker Rd., Beloit, Wi 53511-9724


    1. Hi Kathy,
      I was so excited to hear from you! I would love to get together with you, unfortunately, my time was very short and busy this past year.
      I am following your daughter-in-law’s blog and enjoy reading it. Will they be in the States any time this year after June?
      Thank you again for contacting me!
      God bless,
      Ashley Bridges


      1. Ashley, We’re traveling to Florida this coming Friday. They’ll be coming out of Cuba Sunday, and we’re going to pick them up! We’ll get to hear stories for a day or so, and then drop them off in Tampa to visit with Brooke’s dad. We’ll head home.

        Not sure what their plans are….. don’t know if they know. I think they are waiting on God at this point. I sure hope you all will make a connection one of these days! I guess that’s another “wait on God” and his timing. 🙂

        Sure hope you’re well, safe and being used to bless others!! I pray Psalm 91 each night over Jeff & Brooke. I’ll add you to my prayer! God bless…..

        Sent from my iPhone



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