BREANNE’S BLOG POST
Last day at Enaleni and last day seeing the kids. My heart is completely broken. This entire trip has been an experience I will never forget. Swaziland has taken a piece of my heart and I will never get it back. The kids affected me more than I ever thought possible. I came to Swaziland planning to take some time out of working with the kids to do construction, but after that first day at Enaleni I decided to spend the entire time with the kids. As much as I wanted to get involved with the building of the new church building, the moment I saw those kids I couldn’t bring myself to leave them for even an afternoon.
On Sunday evening we went out for dinner with Pastor Peter, Precious, and two of their kids. Shelley and I were talking to the kids and their daughter gave me a Swazi name. She named me Bongiwe which means ‘we are thankful’. I found out that Precious actually knows the woman that I was named after and invited her to the preschool this morning (Tuesday). So as I was helping some kids with the craft, Precious waved me over and introduced me to her. I got the chance to talk to her for a few minutes and take a picture. It was a pretty cool experience.
Today I had the honor of meeting my sponsor child, Nomphilo Mkhatjwa. She’s six years old and so beautiful. Because of the language barrier it was hard to communicate through words, so we just sat and drew in the dirt. I tried to love on her as much as I possibly could. She was sitting on my lap and I took a picture of the two of us. When I turned the camera around for her to see it, she pointed at herself in the picture and then pointed to herself. Then she pointed at me on the camera and then back at me. She did that a few times and then just looked up at me and smiled. Breaks my heart that I didn’t have more time to spend with her to get to know her, but makes me so happy that I had the opportunity to actually meet her. It was such an amazing feeling.
One day left in Swaziland. I can’t believe it was gone by so quick! I don’t know how long I will last before I will have to come back and visit everyone here that I’ve grown to love. Just so you all know – I got a few offers to stay, but I really am coming home. I miss everyone like crazy and I can’t wait to tell every little detail of this trip. Thanks again for all your prayers and comments! -Breanne
GINO’S BLOG POST
Wow…did i mention wow!!! It has been an incredible journey thus far and i am so thankful to have been part of this Riverwood mission trip. I want you all out there in cyberland to know about this group of people that you sent to Swaziland. To a person, they are incredible. The leadership of this group, Jon and Carolyn, have done a wonderful job of preparing this group for whatever the day’s events might bring. And trust me, things change on the fly, Swazi-style, on a regular basis. But the rest of the crew is made of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and everything in between. i think i personally knew 4 of the 20 prior to this trip and today, they feel like family to me. To a person, these people have worked hard and loved harder. We have tried to take the lead of Swazi Team 2009 and continue the good works and foundation that they laid for us. If successful, i hope we have laid a strong step for Swazi 2011 to fly with.
Thank you Riverwood for following along our journey on the blog. The responses are nourishment for us and quite literally, a lifeline to home. We spent every night sharing and praying, crying and laughing, and reading your comments. it has been incredible for us to know that you follow us every step of the day. Kudos to Jon and Doug for the incredible pictures and Jon for posting faithfully for us each opportunity that he had. A day left of “fun” and we will start the journey home. I have loved Swaziland, but i can’t wait to see my little girl too. Till Friday! -Gino
SCOTT BALLENTYNE’S BLOG aka THE GREAT BRICK LAYER
Today was a very moving day and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I spent a lot of time playing games with the D-Team and building relationships with them as well as many of the children over the past ten or so days. Just like everyone else in the group I felt super connected to Precious and Pastor Peter. I got to teach Precious to use their new video camera/ camera. Unless someone caught it on video it’s hard to express how emotionally excited she can be. She literally jumps up off the ground in pure joy.
My family will be happy to know that I laid my first brick on the church today with the guidance of my team member Jason. Don’t worry I’ve been working hard at things that matter more than bricks in my mind. It’s hard for me to lay bricks when there are children I can be showing God’s love to. I will love when it’s time to love and work when it’s time to work. I received a visit today from Khetsiwe’s grandma at the Enaleni carepoint. She gave me a mat that had a special message made into it. It read ” MR SCOT KHETSEWI S FATHER GOD BLESS YOU”. Khetsewi’s parents I think are both passed away. I was very moved by here grandma’s actions and I was only able to share a few unsuitable gifts in return but it was all I had at the moment. If I had all my trip possession that I had and had purchased to bring back home I probably would have given her most of it ,I was so moved. I also got a special note from my little buddy Sisekelo Mdaga. I also met another friend who has the same name as my special friend named Khetsiwe Dlamini but she is 15. I can’t wait to share with their special friends who sponsor them at Riverwood. I have information to share with their special friends. The best part of the trip for me is the friendships I get to take home!