A very wet Day 6…and our Contests!

Hey Church…

What a difference a day can make. Last night the torrential rains rolled in…and it just kept on raining all day!

We got to Enaleni…and there were only about 6 kids there. We started working on the garden in the rain…and finished putting the roof on the latrine.

By noon…we were all soaked to the underwear!

At 12:30 we left for lunch…which was also in the rain outside a small convenience store on the highway…then we went to Bhobhokazi for the first time.

Bhobhokazi is an un-fenced, nondescript CarePoint on the side of a road with a decrepit old kitchen that is still used to cook lunch for the kids.

When we got to Bhobhokazi there were no kids in sight…only cows and chickens and the Go-Gos getting ready with some food for the kids.

Slowly, the kids began to trickle in to the CarePoint…so our team played with them in the rain while a few of us talked with the Go-Gos and D-Team…and prayed with them.

By the time we handed out the care-packages there were about 20 kids…stuffed in a little room…feet smushing in the the goat-poop (Sherise says: “A.k.a. Pooze”) from the goats that had been chased out.

Bhobhokazi is so undeveloped and needy.

The rain certainly messed up our day…but it didn’t dampen our teams enthusiasm or effectiveness.

After a brief stop at the downtown market…we got a hot shower and a great supper…and we’re just about to sit down for our last team meeting on Swazi soil.

Thanks again for all the prayers…support…and blog comments.

Be sure to enter our BIG CONTEST …which is EXPANDING with this blog entry.

First, take a look at the giraffe and elephant from the previous entry…read the rules and log on to play!

Then…try to guess which team member is holding scorpion (in the last picture of today’s blog entry)…we dug up in the garden this morning. All right answers will be put in a hat and ONE DRAWN by the Mighty Scorpion Handler at each of this weekend’s services.

– Todd

OK…now for a few team reflections from today:


What a day today! It has been raining all day, but that can’t stop us!!!! Our team faithfully dug, weeded and planted in the garden and led VBS at Mrs. Langa’s preschool.

Today we went to Riverwood’s new carepoint, Bhobhokazi. I didn’t really know what to expect when we got there. I knew that Bhobhokazi was not as developed as Enaleni and that it was needy, but I did not expect to see what I did! Bhobhokazi consists of a mud hut for cooking and a small, unfinished cement building. It does not have a play area for the children and has no sort of protection or security (fence). It was clear that Bhobhokazi is a very poor carepoint and needs great support.

Because of the rain, there were no children at the carepoint, but, despite this, the Gogo was faithful and still came to prepare food. At first, we just looked at the area and talked to the Gogo; there wasn’t much else to do. We had prepared care packages for the children, but there were none there! However, soon after we arrived, children began flocking to the care point. They walked up to us and were very shy but within seconds they were smiling, talking and hugging us. It was so evident these children wanted and needed so much love and attention. It was so special to be able to give that to these children, even though it was only for a few short minutes. At one point, this little girl ran up to me and began hugging me and smiling at me. It was a beautiful moment. It amazes me how the “small things” have such a huge impact!!!! Then right before we left we were able to distribute the care packages to these kids. The joy I could see on their faces was priceless. Once again, the small things make a huge difference.

After meeting some of the children at Bhobhokazi and the Gogo who looks after them, I couldn’t help but feel excitement for our future with this carepoint. It is amazing that a church in Winnipeg, Canada has the opportunity to significantly impact the lives not only in one community in Swaziland, Africa but two!!!! I cannot wait to see what the future holds!!!


Today we went to Bhobhokazi! When we arrived, it was raining and there were no kids at the carepoint. It was slightly disappointing to say the least. But we said hi to the gogo and, in a few minutes, group-by-group, kids started showing up. It was difficult to “break the ice” and engage with the kids. Who knew playing TAG was the perfect choice?! Once the game took off, the little Swazi hands didn’t let go of ours. The connection with those kids happened instantly and will just grow stronger!


Today was a tough day for me. For those of you who know me well, I hate to be soaking out in the rain. Easy to say, I was a little grumpy inside today, so I wasn’t looking forward to going to Bhobhokazi and “starting all over”. It was very humbling to see the difference in the two care points. Enaleni now has water, a fence, a latrine, a garden, and an orchard. Bhobhokazi has a kitchen that was just finished. That’s it. But the inspiring thing is that Bhobhokazi is what Enaleni was just one year ago.


I almost felt like an intruder as I watched one of the little girls from Bhobhokazi receive her care package. It was such a unique moment. The rain was absolutely pouring and half our team was crammed into the porch area of the half-finished kitchen building donated by another compassionate church. The few children that had been drawn to the care point by the arrival of the “white people” were lined up in the future kitchen area waiting to receive their packages. I was stuck in the back of our group, trying to catch even a small glimpse of the process. Suddenly, I caught a lucky break; the stars (and bodies) aligned and I had a clear view of the doorway just as one little girl received her package. I could almost read the thoughts racing through her mind. First, she just looked at the package as if she didn’t know what to do with it. Then, time seemed to slow as I watched the realization that this gift really was all for her spread across her face and into her eyes. Wow! Her eyes said more than words ever could; there was no such thing as a language barrier. A beautiful mixture of delight and thankfulness was completely held in her beautiful brown eyes. I could have looked at her forever, but the gap closed and the moment ended. It was, however, a perfect moment to (almost) close my time in Swaziland.

In other news, this may be our l

ast blog entry until we hit Amsterdam since we leave Swaziland tomorrow (after saying our goodbyes at Enaleni) to head out to Kruger National Park in South Africa and we’re not sure whether or not we’ll have internet access at the guest house there. Thanks for following us this far and keep your contest entries and other comments coming!

– Sherise

How to cut sheet metal…Swazi style!

20 thoughts on “A very wet Day 6…and our Contests!

  1. Hey team. What a week you’ve had! It has been so wonderful to read the blog and feel a part of this beautiful journey you’ve been on. I hope to make the trip one year soon. Talk about joys and touching moments. The gifts being distributed….I felt a thrill of excitement thinking about our kid, Sisekelo opening his and wondering would he like all the stuff we packed in his bag? The prayer with the kids…what a precious photo Brenda. (I too, have wondered if you’ve found food you can eat this week and been praying you have!) And I hope you all wear your Swazi clothes to church….such a fabulous picture! And then to read about your rain soaked day and how much there is to do at Bhobhokozi. Lots of challenges and yet the joy of giving the care packages and seeing their responses. Your emotions must be riding pretty high as you set out for home. Now for the name the giraffe and elephant contest…I looked up ‘love’ in Siswati and this is what it is;’Ngiyakutsamdza’ so that is NOT my entry! But in Swahili the word used in the Bible for love is ‘Upendo’. I thought, ‘how perfect is that?’ So there ya go. That’s my entry for the giraffe-Upendo.God be with you all as you travel back. And may the work done in practical and heart ways be felt long and deeply in the lives of the beautiful souls you’ve said good bye to. Praying for your safe return.Marlene McNabb 🙂

  2. ok here’s th backstory of the background of the lethoso, south africa emergency resuce of a giraffe http://www.sanwild.org/Successpages/emergencyrescues/RESCUES.htm …. The story of Kariba and her mother Sindisa is quite unique and the young giraffe calf is truly SanWild’s miracle baby. ….just like the gogo’s and help the riverwood family is giving to the single moms and parentless households in swaziland, this young giraffe and mom had some help as well… and is now growing by leaps and bounds…. shucks – i just realized it’s a draw from a hat, not an emotional story that will cinch the contest… hmmmm … anyways, the entry is Kariba for the giraffego team go….. when you visit the animal park, realize that your help is allowing these care points to grow up in thier own unique way, and that your blessings of time , energy, and genuine emotions and hugs over these children will go on for a long time… take care…. ARE YOU wearing hats and sunscreen on your faces? praying for lots of 3 seats being empty so you can stretch out on the trip back and sleep

  3. hey team… I think that you’ve rpobably been challenged alot on this trip , and have had to grow and do things that you needed power-in-the-moment for…. take these experieences of surrendering and clamoring and trusting for God’s strength with you as you readapt to our culture… so in that spirit, I believe that it was SARAH’s hand that held the scorpion… that would be the most surprising and msot fitting person to be holding it… besides, todd’s. scotts, and and tim helstons hands are too large… even though tim H. does handle intricate equipment, i’m thinking he’s actually the one taking the picture…. blessings

  4. Hi Team,Well another amazing day, can your brains or your hearts, handle much more intensity? man are you going to crash when you get a moment of down time. I think the person holding the scorpion might be Mitch, b/c it seems he is the least likely to do that as I have to kill spiders in our house for him.Mitch it was wonderful to talk to you today, can’t wait to see you and hear about all you have to tell, might take a few days.love Cheryl/Mom

  5. I vote Rachel’s hands.Have a great last 1/2 day at Enaleni….and I imagine goodbye’s will be hard.Safe travels home. You all have done amazing. Can’t wait to hear more.I hope you see some Lions! Enjoy the safari. You all deserve it and it will definitely be a rich part of your Africa experience.Yay team.Jon

  6. Thanks team so much for your blessing to us back home. You carried/were extensions of our hands, love, hugs, joy, playfighting, giving, and hard work. It has been an incredible journey to follow.as for the scorpion contest, we say it was definately Doug’s hand, Rena says “them be guitar playing hands”… or something.Anyway, we pray that the rest of your journey continues to be life giving, and perhaps a little less rain-filled. You have been a huge blessing to so many, now allow to God to warm your hearts with the memories of what has happened this past week. Rest in the knowledge of the love He’s poured out through you. More has yet to be done, but you’ve done amazing things.Enjoy the safari, you deserve it. Safe and comfy travels.love Rod and Renap.s. another name to be considered in the name that Elephant contest – Kú-níka. It means to give. Simplistic as it sounds, as God has given, so have you, representatives of God and Riverwood. And this giving will continue as these kids hearts will only reflect the generousity shown to them.

  7. What a challenging day as you finish up your projects for now at Enaleni and what a challenge you found for us at Bhobhokazi. I can only imagine how difficult it will be to say good bye when there is still such great need but I am confident that it is not “good bye” from Riverwood only rather, “until the next time”. After all, you have made the world a much smaller place for all of us on both sides of it. Well done! Have a safe flight back; enjoy the safari and the rest you certainly need.

  8. I don’t think you guys realize, until maybe you get home, just how far and wide the impact of this journey has been. There are people at my work reading the blog and I’m sure lots of people’s work, family members, and strangers. It’s the topic of conversation, everyone greets me at work, “have you heard from Mitch?, Wow, that’s som kind of church” It’s amazing, and I know the Lord will continue to do a might work, in Swaziland, Winnipeg, and whereever else this message is reaching.Dear Lord,I lift up each and every member of this team to You. I pray for strength, energy, health and safety. I pray for fun and relaxation on their safari, where they can see more of Your glory Lord. I pray that You would touch them continually in ways they don’t expect, as they assimiate back into our blessed and comfortable culture. Thank you Lord, for allowing each member to bring what You created them for to this journy, and may they continue to do so, and continue to serve You and others in some capacity. Lord bless them and protect them on their journey home, bring each of them home safely to the families that love them and miss them.Thank you JesusAmen

  9. Hey team! I have been following the blog every day and it has been amazing, I have enjoyed being able to get a snapshot of what you have experienced. I have laughed and cried at the stories and pictures.I will be praying for you all as you journey home.Mom, I miss you and I love you but don’t worry everything is great back home!Love Lindsey

  10. Well you have definatley dug deep and loved deeper. How amazing! Enjoy your last days, we’ll be praying for a safe journey and we’re excited to see you.Miss you much,Cal and TaraPS Our guess is Leslie’s hand

  11. Hi guys! (I’m so sorry it took so long for me to figure out how to post a comment! I didn’t think I was that computer illiterate 🙂 ) Wow, you’ve had quite the journey. I’ve loved reading the blog and ‘experiencing’ Swaziland with you. I can’t wait to go myself! The kids are beautiful and the people there seem to have such beautiful spirits! We’re praying for a safe trip home and I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures and video. God has truly blessed Riverwood to be able to be a blessing to Swaziland.As for the contest, I love the word ‘hope’ to describe what our Canadian and African churches are doing so I’d suggest naming the elephant Leni (lay-nee) short for Enalani (the hope of a harvest). Blessings,LeeAnn Cheadle

  12. just a quick note to let the team know i’m praying for you … i love the pictures on the blog (even the scorpian) … and i can’t wait to hear more when you’re home (*cough* Sarah and Nick… I’ll be picking your brain and your camera…) take care, riverwood is thinking of you…

  13. You’ve accomplished so much in such a short time. I pray that you will be able to breath a bit on the trip home. It will be a lot to process and transition back to life at home. You are in for a surprise weather wise. I’ll just say it will seem almost as extreme as your adventure. Praying for safety on the final leg of your journey.Lynn

  14. It’s 6:00 am here, so I imagine you guys are well on your safari, maybe even finished. Will be praying for your trip back. Maybe not on the this flight, but from Amsterdam, could someone please encourage Mitch to do his homework, I know he won’t want to do at home this weekend.ThanksSee you all soon at the airport.Cheryl

  15. Wow guys, it has be so wonderful to follow along with your experiences these past days. Our God is so good – he is doing amazing things. And you have been so faithful and obedient in serving him!! Way to go!! “When we see the face of God we shall know that we have always known it. He has been a party to, has made, sustained and moved moment by moment within, all our earthly experiences of innocent love.” C.S. Lewisp.s. I think the hand holding the scorpion was Nick’s.

  16. Hi all,I’m at work right now and don’t have time to include all the details now but this evening I will post the flight schedule and website where you can track the flights of the Swaziteam. We did this while on their way out and it helped to feel closer to them, praying each step of the way. Lynn

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