Today we tried something new. It was an experiment to see if we could gather families together at the care point to give the local Hope Chest staff a chance to meet the caregivers and talk to them about the work they are doing at the care point. We had NO idea how this day would actually work out…..but let me just say that we feel like it really did work!
We didn’t know how many to expect and planned for a lot. Most of the Bhobokazi kids were there today and I counted about 43 parents that showed up. For a first round I think this is pretty great! But beyond the numbers today was an opportunity to take a step forward for our care point to bring more community involvement and ownership. I was so proud of the Swazi local team that addressed the crowd and that really showcased their love for the children that come and were able to speak out clearly their vision for the Bhobokazi care point to the community. We had a representative of the local chief come and had a chance to honour him in the meeting giving him a chance to address the crowd. He gave such strong support of the work happening at Bhobokazi and gave a pretty meaningful thank you to us Canadians for the way we are helping. They honoured the Make’s (the cooks that volunteer daily) and it was very special.
The feel of the event was not so much a carnival feel but rather that of a family picnic….and this is exactly what we wanted. We had two large bouncy castles for the kids, the BBQ was firing all day cooking up sausage, and had a ton of fun with all the kids running some competitions like tug of war and potato sack races. The parents looked on and laughed and smiled all day seeing their kids having fun. We even ran potato sack races for the older ladies (please understand they really really wanted to….) and had quite an epic battle for the victory as you can see in this photo that really captured their competition. Don’t worry….she was okay
We also had the chance to take family photos and offer them a print on the spot that was framed in acard. This was really a remarkable thing to see as families were able to receive a simple 4×6 photo and feel so special about it! For many this may have been the first family photo they have…..imagin that. We had purchased a Selphy printer and created an on site Wifi network to be able to snap a photo….hit print and in about 2 minutes we had a printed photo that got framed as a card and given to the family. I must say how fun when technology can be used for something this meaningful. Really fun!!
So tomorrow we do the same at Enaleni. It could be a different ballgame there with the church on site, but after the service is done we are going to do the same there and hopefully make some more meaningful connections for the care point.
Today was a significant day on many levels and I believe some things happen that will begin to shape the future for Bhobokazi. We love to take risks and it is great when they work out for the good. Thanks be to God for being with us today!
I must say I am so proud of our team. They have been pushing really really hard….leaving it all on the field and they are a pretty tired bunch….and we will push hard until tomorrow afternoon. After the big day tomorrow we will get our first downtime since arriving here with an evening off and we are all looking forward to it. Thanks to all who are following with us and praying for us. We will enjoy worshipping with you halfway across the world as God is lifted up both in Riverwood and at Enaleni tomorrow.
I leave you with the reflections of a couple of our team and with the photos of the day. We weren’t able to capture too many photos today as we kept our cameras away as a sign of respect to the culture here with the elders and parents visiting with us. We did manage to sneak a few though. I’m also including a few more of the princess party at Enaleni for your enjoyment. Remember you can click on the circles to see full pictures. Good night from Swaziland! – Jon
Hi, to all who read this blog. Sara, Jean, James, Arlene miss you tons and think about you and hope they are having a good time in their jobs. Have a blessed time and love the people you meet and bless them.
I came to see my little sponsor girl, who was once my daughter Anne’s special friend. She passed away 1 year and 8 months ago, from cancer and now I have taken Anele under my wing. It was a year ago when I starting thinking about going to Swazi but I wasn’t yet talking about it. I wanted to talk to my kids altogether at Christmas time about my decision to go. I asked in January my kids if it was okay to go with the Swazi team to see Anele and they said yes! And God made a way! And it all worked out and I am happy to be here.
On Tuesday when we visited Bobo for the first time I had the opportunity to meet my special friend. And that was a special moment to see her and her big smile. Then I found out that her caretaker was a Gogo at the kitchen in Bobo. And I had a short conversation with her to get acquainted. And I am blessed by all of this that I experience here. – Agnes
Today was our first family day at Bhobokazi and it was fantastic. There were games being played, bouncy houses set up, and just a chance to be able to mill and visit with some of the families that came. I don’t think I have I ever been laughed at so much when trying to visit with someone because of the language barrier.
When lunch time came we made a sausage for the families and the Gogo’s and Makes made pop (corn meal mush) with a tomato sauce to go overtop. They needed some extra help and I came and helped scoop food on the plates. The corn meal mush is spongy in texture and they use a plate to scoop it out so it was very hard to work with. It was such an incredibly neat experience to help in that kind of environment where the facilities are simple, 2 cauldrons on a pile of wood, and they made this incredibly tasty meal with so little. Everyone was so grateful and there was no grumbling. The simplicity of it and the joy of giving, these Makes and Gogo’s come every day to serve the children of the community and all they get is just one plate of food and they are happy. – Christal