Summary of Day 4 – Purses, sewing-machines, cockroaches, tea-beside-a-mud-hut, a real Thanksgiving Dinner and the Winnipeg Jets.
8:00 am Alarm goes off.
8:50 am Breakfast (omelets!)
9:05 am Strategy meeting with Kriek and Ncobile (our driver/translator)
9:28 am Ride to Jumbo’s to trade money
9:42 am Shop Rite trip to buy school supplies and home-visit grocery gifts.
11:03 am Drive to Bhalekene Care Point where 25-30 Magges/GoGo’s are gathering for the day to cut material for purses. They hope to cut enough for 200 purses. Then they will take them home to sew.
Each woman receives ‘an average Swazi’s day’s wage’ for every purse they sew (which takes them 30-40 minutes). Then they are gathered by Julie and her team at Timbali Crafts. We then bring those purses to Winnipeg and sell them at church and various craft sales.
The ladies are able to put some of their earnings into savings (with Timbali) and when they withdraw it, Timbali will DOUBLE IT! This encourages saving and budgeting for School Fees.
11:32 am About 200 Mkhulu’s (grandpa’s) and GoGo’s (grandmother’s) gather for the government sponsored ‘Old People’s Pay Day’ (our version of Old Age Security support). This happens once every 2.5 months.
12:50 pm Ncobile takes a short-cut, cross-country, to Enaleni. This girl can drive!
We spend the afternoon working on three different video projects we’re producing in an attempt to bring as much of Swaziland back to Riverwood as we can.
1:32 pm Having skipped lunch, we sit with the pre-school kids and have a bit of their daily rice & veggie meal.
2:28 pm School kids begin arriving at Enaleni for their daily lunch. In no time the Care Point is buzzing with about 130-150 kids, running, playing ball, playing on the play structure and eating lunch.
2:51 pm We walk back to Sheila’s house to take a look at her 2 sewing machines. Sheila typically sews for Timbali but her sewing machines (that she shares with other women) are both broken down. This is a huge problem.
She needs to sub-contract other’s to sew for her and at the same time she needs to keep making payments on the sewing machines. After emptying the machines of cockroaches (chasing them wildly, squishing them and feeding them to the chickens), Cam and i determine we can’t fix the machines so we pack them up to bring them to a sewing-machine-repair shop.
While at Sheila’s place, we spot at least 4-5 cards, notes and photos that are from Gord & Marlene and Matt & Amanda from Riverwood. Too cool to see these simple gestures of care being showcased as special mementos in the middle of Africa!
When you write a note, Christmas card or send a photo…it has a huge impact!!!
4:13 pm Leave Enaleni and begin driving to Lindiwe’s homestead (Ncamsile’s place) for a visit. We bring a bag full of grocery staples and have a wonderful visit. Lindiwe unpacks her ‘for-company-only’ tea set and brings us each a cup of tea and some small bought cookies. It very well could be the best cup of tea i’ve ever had…or maybe it was just that i was sitting on a mat, leaning up against a mud hut, generously being served a cup of tea by the mother of the child i’ve sponsored, prayed for and had on my fridge for the last 4 years.
5:17 pm We leave for Peter and Precious’ house for a special meal with their family and a few elders from their church. It’s an amazing meal cooked by Precious. Just before the meal, one of the church elder’s presents us with some special gifts from the church.
Cam and i realize half way thru the meal that this is a truly special “Thanksgiving Dinner”. Each person around the table is living with genuine thanks and gratitude…all of it focused toward Jesus and much of it aimed at Riverwood.
We have an amazing conversation with our friends…much of it focused on ‘What is Canada like?’ We realize just how crazy temperatures from +32C to -32C sound. It sounds even crazier that we wait till the water is frozen, then drive trucks and tractors on it so we can drill holes in the ice and go fishing…or clear the snow so we can go sliding on knife blades strapped to our shoes (how else do you describe skates?) At the end of our conversation, one of the elders appropriately asks: “Why would anyone stay in a place that get’s to be -32C?” Cam and i look at each other and don’t really have a great answer.
Before our evening ends, we give a few gifts of our own to Pastor Peter and his family.
9:55 pm Arrive back at Asante and begin working on our photo, video and blog work.
11:45 pm Begin uploading blog…and hope Carolyn is back from her trip to her mom’s for Thanksgiving in time to Skype before i crash for the night.
– Todd & Cam
PS…no blog update tomorrow as we won’t have internet access. Next update Wednesday afternoon.