Wow….it is crazy to think we have only been on the ground for 2 days here. We feel so full of experiences already! We had a really meaningful time debriefing and sharing tonight and many of the team members have had their hearts moved! Some great stories today you’ll hear about.
I was really excited about the work projects we are doing at Enaleni this year. We had the vision to head out into the surrounding community to help some really needy homes. It really has been a vision for us and the Enaleni church to grow in their reach and impact in their community. We love how our Riverwood vision and Pastor Peter line up on this.
So….we had two homes chosen to do work on this year as a team. Let me briefly tell you the story of both.
This is Dudu….she is one of the go go’s at Enaleni and gives her time and energy tirelessly to cook for the children at our carepoints. Her home was chosen because her roof has been leaking very badly and has grown moldy. She doesn’t have the resources to fix it….and yet she invests herself every day into the carepoint. She is a lovely woman. So we ordered the materials to put a new metal roof on. Today was the beginning of the project and the goal was to remove the old roof….this was a success. We will be rebuilding the roof on Friday and Tuesday and soon her house will be dry and have a roof that will last. We had a great crew that got pretty dirty pulling the old roof down….but they were troopers and they loved giving themselves to helping Dudu. Precious (Pastor Peter’s wife) got in and was helping with them too 🙂
This home currently houses 10 people. There is two older boys on the homestead caring for 7 girls and 1 boy. We are not sure if there are any other caregivers involved. What we do know is this home has gaping holes through the walls and is crumbling apart. From this home there are 7 girls and 1 boy that attend the Enaleni carepoint daily.
In 2010 they began the construction of a new home beside it. As they get money they buy blocks and have been working to build it. They have done well but still had some work left to do. So….we decided they would be a great candidate for the church to come alongside and help them finish. This morning a truck showed up loaded with blocks, the cement was delivered earlier and the tin and lumber for the roof are now onsite. Our team began mixing cement and building the walls alongside the family letting them direct us. What an amazing picture to me of how this can work! Pastor Peter was onsite and was connecting with them. The local church helping those in need….inspiring to be a part of it!
Our day was filled with amazing experiences of reconnecting with Enaleni. We just love the way we immediately feel at home and the kids welcome us. Our day was filled with so much laughter, smiles and hugs they are too many to count. I personally was so proud of our team today….they invested so much….they loved so intently….and they truly opened their lives up to these children. Way to go team. My personal favourite moment of the day was when I came onto site after being at the construction area and I saw Ben, our 14 year old team member, connecting with Scel’mphilo who is around his age. As I walked in I was drawn into how they were laughing, joking and just relating…having conversations and it struck me how significant this moment was…..if you have been around for the entire journey we have taken at Swaziland, you will know that the very first time we stepped onto the ground at Enaleni, Scel’mphilo was the picture of sadness for us. He has such a difficult story to his life….filled with grief and difficulties….but he has now become the most amazing story of hope. Through the care provided at the carepoint….he is in school and being successful, he has been taken into the home of the pre-school teacher, he has been given leadership roles at the carepoint….and we just found out now he is taking skill training at Enaleni to learn how to make some income. He is truly thriving! He has been given opportunity…..and in the moment of seeing him just be himself with someone he could relate to on our team….I was overwhelmed with joy at the difference we are seeing!
It was a great first day at Enaleni….thanks for joining us. Of course here are the stories from our team members and the photos to follow.
Follow along live at Bhobokazi tomorrow: http://www.facebook.com/bhobokazi
Today I met my special friend, Ntando, or at least I believe that’s how you spell it, he was VERY shy and VERY quiet, but it was still very fun and over all an amazing experience, I wish it upon everyone to have the opportunity to meet their special friend. It was one of the best experiences of my life; to Karen, that first joke was hilarious, the riddle… not so much, but thanks anyways. On the way here, in Frankfurt, Germany I got so used to everything being in German….there was a poster I saw which read “LetItBe” and I went full idiot and asked what it meant, well now everyone who was there (Katrina[smelly feet], Alison[has no nickname], and Cassie[Cathy]) are making fun of me for it. And for Kelly, I made Jon brush his teeth… YOU’RE WELCOME! And sorry about Tuesday morning, I too forgot to brush my teeth so I wasn’t able to make him and we went that day with smelly breath and dirty teeth. – Benjamin
Hey there, I can’t believe it’s only day two and I already have so many incredible memories to share.
Today, my morning began by boarding a bus at 8am with seven other team members to head to one of our worksites. The first site we went to had too many people so Erik, Jos, a few locals and myself headed to a gogos’ house to fix her leaky straw roof. As we were trying to figure out how to take the roof apart, it struck me that these Swazis have quite a system to building their houses- as simple as their roofs are, it’s really quite remarkable how some straw, logs, fence wiring and some string hold together a roof that protects them from the elements. Although the roofs don’t last as long as our North American ones do, Swazis have a great ability to use their resources. Anyway, I was on the ground hauling the straw that the men were tossing from the roof- we had a great system going. Precious (the pastor’s wife) stepped in and helped me make piles and keep up with the fast pace that 4 guys were working at. The highlight of this was simply sending time with Precious and talking with her as we worked. It was great getting to know her a little bit and see that her heart is 100% for the community. She spoke so highly of everything and although her preschool numbers aren’t where they were last year she was still so happy and kept saying how great God was. She has such a great heart and I really valued the time I spent with her.
Then I also had a chance to go a home visit to John and Janice’s special friend- Banele. This was really neat for me because I am really good friends with the Schmidt family and I know all about the special connection they have with him. When I told Banele that I knew Jon his eyes lit up and with a bit of hesitation he started asking me questions about them. The coolest part of all this was when I was at Banele’s house the first thing he did was run into his home and grabbed all the pictures that Schmidts had been sending him. He has kept really good care of the pictures and is so so proud of them. It was amazing to see that even with his simple life he holds on so closely to the connection that he has with his special friends.
I’m sure that this isn’t the only case and I just want all the other special friends at Riverwood to be reminded that they are making a great impact on these kids.
On that note, I thoroughly enjoy all the family and friends comments on the blog at the end of the day. It is so encouraging that there is an army of people supporting this team. Thank you for all your love and prayers. – Katrina
What an incredible time getting here and being here! Swaziland is so beautiful, forget B.C., I’ve found my dream place. Right here in the heart of Swaziland! Just a side note… I will never complain about Winnipeg roads again! The roads here are very bad!
Randy, I met our Special Friend yesterday and the first thing Menzie asked me was “Where is Randy?” Wow! I now realized how much these children cherish the letters and pictures!
I have spent the last couple of days, hugging, cuddling & playing with the children. I’ve also been just a little creative paining nails. The Children LOVE getting their nails painted! So does the Team! LOL! And I am enjoying blessing them!
Judith, thanks for the update on Michelle. Please give the QQQer’s a hug for me and especially big hug to Michelle. Please let her know that I am praying for her.
It is now midnight and must go to bed. Love you lots! – Mary
Today was our first day at Enaleni. There were three kids that I was really hoping to see again, and they were all there today! My special friend, Mthandazo, showed up in the afternoon and the look on his face when he recognized me was priceless! We had a fun time playing a ball game with some of the other boys, and I was able to interact more with him on this one day than during the entirety of last year’s trip.
I was also looking for two girls that I spent time praying and singing with on the last day last year: Fakazile Nkambule and Qinisile Dlamini. I love these girls so much!!! We were all a little shy at first, but by the end of the day we were best friends again. Qinisile has one of those tricky names with a click sound, so we spent some time practicing so I can say it right.
Sean and Leslie – I haven’t met you, but Qinisile really wants to say hello! I hope you are following along, or maybe one of your friends can pass this message along.
To top off this fantastic day, I got to go on a visit to my special friend’s homestead. His mom was there this time and she remembered my name. She even brought out Mthandazo’s report card to show me how well he is doing in school!
Jordan – I told her that we are both so proud of him. I can’t wait to show you pictures and tell you more about our visit.
There were so many other great times with different kids, but I can’t hog this laptop all night! Jon still needs to upload all the pictures, and we all need to go to bed.
Thanks again to everyone who is following along, leaving comments on the blog and praying for our team. Your encouragement and support keeps us going.
Signing off for now! – Allison
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