Well…church. What a weekend. We are sorry that we haven’t posted anything. We lost internet on Friday night and haven’t had it since. We are currently staying at a game reserve….and only 3 of us have been eaten by hippos. Guess which three! We literally have 5 minutes to post this blog and hopefully it works.
I don’t think that we can express very well in words what we are feeling.
Saturday was the party with both carepoints. It was incredible. We had over 200 kids come to Precious’ pre-school for a fantabulous day. It was the best party we’ve ever been a part of. We had so much fun playing, partying and connecting with all of our children together. It felt very natural and the kids had the time of their lives.
We set up stations for each of the kids to go through. We had the big bouncer for the kids….we had face painting….balloon making…..the parachute games….baseball…yes that was interesting….but it worked….a few tennis balls to the head though….we also had a soccer pitch for the kids where Amy was able to live out her childhood dream of being beaten by a bunch of talented 8 year olds.
The kids loved it!!! Then we had a hot dog boil for lunch….we made 480 hot dogs and none were left. We couldn’t believe that some of these tiny kids ate that many hot dogs….
We sang songs together and chimpoo made his famous appearance. We handed out party blowouts and canadian flags to all the kids. We took a bizzilion pictures and hopefully captured all of the kids that were there. We also are pleased to tell you that our Bhobhokazi packages ARRIVED…..HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORAY…..however….we were not able to hand out the care packages that day because there are SO many new kids there now that we have to go buy a bunch more so that everyone will get one.
One of the highlights of the day was in the morning when the bus carrying the kids pulled up. It was the ultimate party bus. Let’s just say this bus was pimped out. It had enough subwoofers to hear it from about a mile down the road….the kids pulled up with the music blaring…..dancing inside….and in a 20 seater bus there was easily more than 400 kids. Okay we’re exaggerating….but only by about 3.
After the party we headed to our new sleeping quarters for the next couple of nights. We didn’t know what to expect except that it was at a local game reserve. When we got there….we were greeted by Pumba and all his family. There were worthogs all over….a few impalas wondering nearby….and at least one zebra that was sleeping soundly in the water alongside his best friend the crocodile.
We came up to where we were going to sleep and we all began to laugh….we all had grass tiki huts reserved for us….and the best part is that the doors were made for hobbitses….Jason felt like goliath trying to fit through the hobbit hole….and Gino….he took a running start. We settled into our comfy little huts, showered….and got ready for supper.
We enjoyed an very much needed evening off together enjoying supper on the patio during sunset which included eating those really cute little impalas. Yum yum….Todd you’ll be proud, Carolyn ate one.
The team enjoyed some traditional Swazi entertainment that included dancing and singing…of which Jason and Ron took part in enthusiastically but maybe not so rhythmically…..and then we all huddled together to enjoy a slideshow of the day’s pictures…..300 pictures later we felt a satisfaction about our day that we can’t really put into words. The team was in great spirits heading to bed.
Sunday, was another experience of a lifetime.
For beginnings…..about ten of us got up early at 6:30 to go on a horseback / bike outing through the game park. We enjoyed ourselves riding through some beautiful countryside and seeing impalas, wildabeasts, monkeys, zebras, crocodiles, jackals, and lots more worthogs. Those who were trying to sleep in….got up with us because we are staying in grass huts….and just an FYI….grass isn’t a sound barrier material….sorry guys.
Those who were left behind got their own private game drive from their doorways….there were a herd of zebras that wandered into our camp. As it was announced to all….Gino got so excited he forgot to put on his pants as he wandered out to see them.
We had a good breakfast and then made our way to church.
Well…how do we describe this….as Todd said last year…you haven’t been to church until you’ve been to church in Swaziland. It was AWESOME….and because we can’t find any other words….we’ll just stick with awesome. Many of us found it incredibly emotional as we joined in worship with the church of Enaleni. Riverwood, you need to know that our churches in these past two years have grown together so strongly it is hard to describe to you.
The singing was both beautiful and uplifting. It was as if the music (with out instruments) enveloped each of us.
Their worship brought us to tears….and even got some of us dancing. We had the privilege of sharing with them. Carolyn spoke and opened up the message….or actually it was Mrs Todd. Jon followed and preached….he wasn’t sure how it was going to go as he started preparing the sermon the night before….scribbling in the dark….in the end…he had notes that he wasn’t even sure he could follow. Todd you can probably relate from last year. The message was well received as he talked about Enaleni being a light to the community around them…..and that at Riverwood we are driven by the same vision.
Then we had four of our team members share their testimony and they did a marvelous job….it was moving and meaningful for both us and the Enaleni church. When Scott was sharing he used the words HARDCORE AND STUPENDOUS….we are still trying to figure out how they got translated.
The service was deeply emotional….moving….impacting….and felt like our hearts were as one with the Enaleni church….if we could say it any more clearer….we would….but it was like an experience we have never had before. Like last year, each of the team was fitted with Swazi flags as a gift from them. It was so fun.
We LOVED sharing the KFC lunch with them afterwards and had a great time both serving it and eating with the church. We had a bit of playtime with a bunch of the kids that were there. Right now, the team is on their way to the market to do some quick shopping and then we are off to supper with Pastor Peter and his family. We are really looking forward to it. We are going to give them some gifts tonight which include some Canada apparel, a video camera and a digital camera. We know they will be thrilled as they have their computer from last year to use them.
We are now down to one day left at Bhobhokazi on Monday….and one day at Enaleni on Tuesday…..we will be so sad to say goodbyes….but we are looking forward to connecting with the kids for one more day and getting a little more work done at Enaleni…..on Monday and Tuesday we will be handing out the care packages….the croc shoes…..the gifts for the D-Team and Mages….which we have been calling Gogos….
We are all a bit tired but still full of life and laughter….the team is doing just great…we are working together….we are cheering each other on….and we do SO much laughing together.
Each day is SO full and by the time our heads hit the pillows we are exhausted in the best of ways.
Riverwood….if you get this during church and are able to share it…..Enaleni says hello….that they love you….and that they cannot express in words what they feel about us. We have told them again and again that they have given us so much more….but they have so much love for us too. It is just an amazing connection.
We love you all….to all of our loved ones…..we are sorry there hasn’t been contact….we haven’t been able to. On Monday night we hope to have internet again. We love you all. We miss you.
MORE PICTURES TO COME WHEN WE GET INTERNET.