Well….Bhobokazi day 2 has been completed. It was a truly great day. When we first stepped foot outside today we realized it truly was not summer in Swaziland. Today was a cooler day….and a bit rainy….but not too bad in the end. It just spit a few times in the morning and then began raining harder as soon as our time at the carepoint was finished. It was kind of refreshing to have a cooler, overcast day today.
Things at Bhobokazi were markedly different today in that the children were much more open and free with us. It was so fun. I think having the party day really helped to show them we are there to truly play with them and to have fun. Swazi culture is much more reserved and sometimes that means the children don’t quite know that they are allowed to let loose….well, today they did!
We had an absolute blast connecting and playing with them today. The children’s program went great. There was so much joy, laughter, smiles and play today. It truly was one of those days for me that I’ll remember just because I loved seeing how free the kids at Bhobokazi were…..this was probably the most I have ever seen this to date.
The team did great….we brought out a bunch of games included velcro catch, UNO, Skipbo, Snakes and Ladders, bubbles, skipping ropes….and anything else we could find. It was truly a day of our team interacting to the highest potential there and there is no doubt in my mind that the kids there felt valued, loved and just simply accepted.
Lots of pictures taken today….I’m uploading more than usual and there is a pile more I don’t have time to upload. Lots of memories made today. We are sad that tomorrow is our last day at Bhobokazi! Feels like it has come too fast. But we will take a lot of joy in handing out the care packages and the umbrellas and blankets to all the children.
All in all a great day! It is well past bedtime and I will leave you with the team posts and a pile of pictures to hopefully share our experiences today.
Riverwood, you are awesome! Thank you for all the encouragement and sharing this journey with us on the blog. It really means a lot. I’m not sure if everyone knows what we do with the blog but every night we gather as a team in anticipation to hear from our family and friends back home. Everyone has been cheering us on saying we’re doing such a great job but I really feel like we’re just representing a larger body of people who deserve big cheers and thank you’s for supporting our Swazi friends. Thank you for sponsoring the children to feed and care for them. Thank you for sending letters and pictures to show you care. Thank you for the “I love you’s” and supporting the team every year so your ‘special friend’ in Swaziland can get a couple weeks of hugs, smiles and fun! For those sponsoring a child at either care point, your child knows your name! You ask any child what their ‘special friend’ in Canada’s name is and they will tell you in their quiet, sweet voice. They probably have your pictures you sent too.
Thank you to Pastor Todd for sharing this passion with us and for the ‘original four’ who first journeyed hear and chose Enaleni. This has been an amazing 5 year journey and it’s just the beginning of a very long friendship. I can already see a shift in our relationship with our Swazi brothers and sisters as the major construction projects slow down and we enjoy the familiarity and extra time to invest in relationships with them.
The people of Enaleni church love you Riverwood! At church yesterday they had so many prayers and praise for Riverwood. Not just the team but for everyone at Riverwood! I have heard and experienced stories that would have been hopeless and had devastatinng endings if it were not for the Christians at Enaleni church, the missionary staff on the ground here and Riverwood’s support. God is doing amazing things through all of us and it is a great privelege he has given us. So thank YOU Riverwood! Keep up the good work in being obedient to God’s command of caring for the widows and orphans!
GooGoo (my new Swazi name given to me by one of the Bhobokazi girls) AKA LeeAnn
ALLOOO RIVERWOOD! Cassie, you should know, i would probably not be posting if you hadn’t written on the blog. Sooo, thank you? maybe?
Well we just finished our team meeting and writing out all the personal cards for the children. It was a hoot! Today was our second day at Bhobokazi and it was amazing. I was in a bit of a funk yesterday but with all the prayers from everyone i was completely re-energized and in good spirits today. I felt like i made more than a few connections with the children. I’m sure i’m not the first to be tempted to take them home. In the past week and a bit, i have been known to have a child in my arms.. mmmmm.. 80% of the time. There were two wee little girls (2 yrs old?) that touched my heart especially. I had started to connect with them the first day but i had an awful hard time getting them to laugh and smile (they made me work real hard for it) but today i was able to play with the two of them together and they would not stop laughing, chasing, and running from me. It was the perfect way to end the day 🙂 I’m hoping tomorrow goes by extremely slowly and please pray that I can soak up every minute!
And just a little tidbit, for those of you who know me well, i am deathly afraid of chickens. Wellll if you haven’t noticed in pictures, they are EVERYWHERE in Bhobokazi. They hop through the fence and don’t leave. After many close encounters I can say I am somewhat overcoming my fear. By the end of today they barely even phased me. Yayyyyyy, who knew that would ever happen! Thank you all!
Dear friends, family and Riverwood church. Thank you so much for your love and prayers. You are such a blessing to me. I feel like time and time again God breaks me. These people have found away into my heart. It will be very hard to leave here. To share one story with you would be a challenge as there are many stories. Like on the first day here at Enaleni, when I saw a group of kids playing on this cement pad. I thought to myself I should make a hopscotch. But do we have sidewalk chalk? Nope. Time to improvise a rock should do. Did not show up so clean so one of the girls found what looked like a piece of charcoal. She outlined it all for me. Great! Then before you knew it we were all playing. I was going to offer lots of grace as they were all new to the game but they would have none of that. Your rock was on the line you were out. They took the game very seriously. It was lots of fun to play with them. Then one of them said do you know another game? Hmm yeah do you know how to play tag? No they said. So we played that for a bit. But then they taught me one of their own games. The game required me to lift my right leg and have a ball bounce under to the person behind. Well I had bit of trouble with this as I am wearing a long skirt and trying to be discreet. The girl behind me at one point grabs my skirt and tucks it into my underwear. Well it won’t be a problem now. I had such a great time connecting with these older kids. I will really miss the friendships I have formed here. On our first day at Bhobokazi one of the GoGo’s came up to me her name is Grace. She gave me a warm welcome and said thank you for coming you are such a blessing. Then later in the morning I went into the kitchen to get a water and 3 GoGo’s were in there. One of them started to talk to me. So I sat down on the cement floor. But they right aways said no floor too cold and got me a mat to sit on. Then we tried to talk to each other. But I don’t know much Si Swati and they knew very little english so they called one of the GoGo’s son’s in to translate. We chatted for a bit. They told me some of there stories. Then we headed outside. Once out there Grace again said thank you you are such a blessing. But I felt like that she was more the blessing then me. As we are only here for a short time and she gives of her self day in and day out. So I got You are a blessing translated into Si Swati and told her that. I was so moved by her. She truly is a special lady and has found her way into my heart. I am just so moved by the different things I see here. Like the day we had the party. At the end of the day I saw one of the kids holding a candy bag and it moved me to tears. I thought that my kids get access to candy so often and these kids almost never. Also on that day Grace the GoGo was there and at the end of the day I walked over to her to say good bye. Remembered how to say it in Si Swati and she came over to me and gave me a big hug and started to pray over me in Si Swati. Which moved me to tears. Then I prayed over her in english. What a beautiful moment. So many times I see things like children without shoes or 2 and 3 year olds walking home by themselves carrying a very heavy cabbage, or today seeing a boy with very filthy pants. These things and so many more just break my heart. But what ever God has for me I want. So I just want to be open and say do your will in me Lord. I am your humble servant. Ben my wonderful husband thank you for all that you are doing back home. I can’t wait to be in your arms on Saturday as someone said only 6 more sleeps. Geoffrey and Madeline love you both so much can’t wait to give you hugs and kiss. Big wet sloppy ones! To my amazing babysitters thank you ever so much for making this possible for me you all rock! Again to everyone who is praying for me and the team I can’t say thank you enough. Paradise and Deanna thank you for commenting on the blog it means so much.