Hello Riverwood! We have been on the adventure of a lifetime. What a team to be with….they have been amazing. Each of us feel like we are a part of Riverwood here and are on a journey together with each of you. It has been an incredible thing to see the way that our church can meld together with the communities here.
Friday was a different day for us. I was actually wondering at the beginning of the day how it would go because so much of our hearts and emotions have been captured by Enaleni and the children and projects there….I was wondering if we had enough room in our hearts to be captured again by another carepoint. We knew this was kinda Riverwood’s first official day at Bhobhokazi to connect and get to know them. Last year the team had a couple of hours in the rain there to meet and see the carepoint….but this was our first full day of making that connection.
The morning was a bit slower…..at Bhobhokazi, only a handful of children come earlier and the majority of them arrive after 1PM…..it is an older carepoint (most of the children are a little older….with a few little ones) and most of them are coming from school. We have been really thrilled to see how many of our children are going to school….we are also creating a gameplan to see all of them have the opportunity. I know many of you sponsoring are wondering about that….more about that later.
For the morning, we worked on a couple of projects. The kitchen that we had sent money to help fix up still needs to be stuccoed, so we had thoughts that we would be helping with that….however, Gino (who has had some Winnipeg stuccoing experience) began helping the Swazi’s do the work and in about 10 or 15 minutes, it was realized that we should let the Swazi’s take care of the stucco work because they do it VERY differently and WAY faster than we can. We helped mixing cement for them, and we went to work cleaning up around the carepoint.
The carepoint is VERY different than Enaleni….it is much smaller and much more undeveloped. It has actually been what Hope Chest has called the ‘neglected carepoint’ because of its history….another church tried to sponsor is way back in 2005….and they didn’t do anything with it and never ended sending any money….they had to give it back to Hope Chest….then somehow, through one of the vision tours they take, a member of the Coca-Cola company thought it would be a good thing to have their company sponsor the carepoint….again…it never flew…only a few people sponsored children and they didn’t do any projects there. So last year, when Tom asked us to take the carepoint, it was because it was in need of a church that could commit and be consistent to the project…and he thought Riverwood would be it!
We worked on cleaning up the carepoint….throwing giant aloe plants over the fence out of the carepoint area….lining the bottom of the entire carpoint fenceline with rocks, and cleaning out the storage area for the food which had been having a problem with rats (which we also had the holes patched up so they can’t get in any more).
Towards noon kids started rolling in slowly…..and what happened I can only describe as a slow swell of activity and children that all of a sudden turned into a swarm of children!! By 2:00 the place was alive and bustling. We ran our children’s program and had everyone from the team participate to help focus just on the relationship building there. After the program we just played and it turned into what we all called ‘organized’ chaos….there were soccer balls flying around everywhere….footballs flying through air…children running everywhere….and screaming and laughing all over the place. It was awesome!
Once thing we noticed was that the kids here hadn’t quite learned the proper boundaries as the kids at Enaleni had. We had a bit of trouble with them trying to go through our stuff, etc….but then we realized that this is also a result of the ‘neglected carepoint’ issue and will now be changing and developing.
My worries about us having enough room in our hearts to invite the children of Bhobhokazi faded away…it was an incredibly significant day and a wonderful way to start there. The development there will be more limited than we have had at Enaleni….they really need a latrine built as the department of health in Swaziland is after them a bit….then they need a well (if there is water around) and a classroom…that will be about it.
Anyway….we are really looking forward to the party today….all the kids of Bhobhokazi and Enaleni will be coming together at Precious’ (Pastor Peter’s wife) pre-school for a GIANT PARTY….can’t wait to share pictures of it.
P.S. we are staying at a different place for Saturday and Sunday night….and we don’t know if there will be internet…so if you don’t see anything for a couple of days….SORRY! Stick with us…hopefully we will be able to post.
Wow! Has the last few days have ever flown by. We have had a wonderful time building relationships with the kids. We have laughed, tickled, giggled, hugged, done fun hand shakes, and played. It has also been wonderful doing DVBS with the team. So far we have learnt about Jesus’ Miracles, Lost Sheep, and Zacchaeus. The way the kids faces light up at the songs, stories and crafts is something that I will keep with me forever. But, the BIG thing that has been such hit has been the parachute. The giggles, screams and squeals of joy just hit me in the heart. To bring something that we have taken for granted and see the eyes of the children get as big a saucers when we bring it out…Wow! sometimes words can not do it justice. The experience so far… to be loved with unconditional love, to be welcomed with open arms, and to be working with this amazing team has been such a blessing. Today we went to Bhobhokazi for the first time, and we had a great day…my highlight was this afternoon when I had my first opportunity to play a game of football (soccer). We passed the ball back and forth and I was definitely put to shame. These kids have such a contagious energy. They have so little, but with Christ they have so much, so much joy, so much love, and so much hope. What a learning….something that I will ponder in my heart forever.