We are officially past the halfway point of our trip and on one hand it feels like it is flying by and on the other hand, we can barely remember our time in Paris because it feels like we have experienced a lifetime since then!
I’m sorry if it feels like we are becoming a broken record….but we have had yet another great and significant day at Bhobokazi! Today we carried on an idea that began last year of hosting a family day for the carepoint. It has been really meaningful for the development of the carepoint and for us as a team to have an opportunity to meet and connect with the caregivers of the homesteads.
I was struck in a moment early this morning as we were just getting things started and people were journeying in down the beaten paths all around the carepoint. There was a grandmother coming to take part in the day with some of the children she was caring for but she obviously had a very difficult time walking because of her health. She had a crutch for one arm and I watched as she made her way down a 50 foot path across the field to the entrance of the carepoint. Just before she got to the gate she had a fall and I thought oh no! A bunch of other ladies gathered around her but I quickly realized she was okay as they were all giggling. But I was then struck with the question….I wonder how long it took her to make her journey today….I know it took about 5 minutes to make the 50 foot walk a bit uphill….but what was the rest of her journey….how far away did she live.
In Winnipeg we have incredible facilities and opportunities for access when it comes to people struggling with their physical health….but this woman lives in a rural community where all you find is walking paths for miles connecting homestead to homestead. Her journey to join us made a substantial statement for us….this was an important day!
Our day included the kids jumping on the bouncy castle, many games, a performance by the kids for their parents and us, and of course a big ‘ol BBQ for lunch! What a privilege to share this time with some of the families we are supporting. Also, it brings to light how many children don’t have a caregiver that can join with them because their situations are so broken. The other reality is that for some a family day is no different than a normal day at the carepoint because the oldest on the homestead is also young enough to attend normally.
Another highlight was the family photos….seeing these families walk away with a printed family photo was priceless. They were so proud to have it, and very protective too J Such a simple thing as a 4×6 photo of a family and it can be so impacting and cause so much gratitude. That is a bit confronting to our own lives.
The kids performed a traditional swazi dance for us that blew us away. Very fun to watch the kids perform for their caregivers much like we would take in a Christmas concert at school. Only in this place there was a lot more dancing and screaming and whistling and hooting and hollering! A highlight for us!
Also, Leigh had a chance to hand out the Days for Girls kits to all of the Bhobokazi girls and they all snuck away under a tree outside the carepoint to have instructions given and to be told how incredibly special they are! Leigh, you rocked it today!
The whole day just continued to give us a heightened sense of connection and community to Bhobokazi. It was seen in our team sharing the work in the kitchen around the fire cooking pop (corn mash) with the gogo’s….it was heard in the laughter….it was felt in the conversations….and it is something we are so grateful for!
The team is tired….but doing really well. We have forged a strong bond already….and sure love having fun and laughing together. They continue to put all they have into every day and I’m so proud of what they have done. Tomorrow we get to sleep in for a few extra minutes and then head to church at Enaleni. Looking forward to worshipping with many of you from thousands of miles away….and though it will look and sound very different we will gather before the same God together 🙂
Good night! – Jon
Days continue to get better and better, more packed, more involved, and still the key moments are found in the simple one on one interactions. Being able to connect during a game of hand slap, teaching a kid my favorite magic card trick (he better practice and not give my secret away) , a piggy back ride around the carepoint, the thanks of a grandmother for a home visit with a simple gift of beans and rice, or answering questions from a teenager about what kind of people love God more. I’ve been able to connect with kids, adults, caregivers, workers, gogo’s (the carepoint pioneers) and our team better than I thought possible. My Saswati is a work in progress, honestly its downright terrible, but we are able to interact on a level that is inspiring and simply amazing. I look forward to each day and what it might hold. I’m glad we have three days more and I’m already worried that we only have three days left. So much yet to do, say, and experience together with the Swazi people. Thanks for all those supporting us. This team here is great. – ben
What another amazing day!!! We got to play Skip-bo with our special friend and four other boys today. He was so good at it. He caught on right away and won the game. What a great smile he had.
It was family day at Bhobozi today so ladies came dressed up and there was excitement in the air. Bryan and I manned the family photo booth. It was so cool to see their faces when Bryan took a picture on one side and the photo came out of the printer where I was sitting. They asked how did you do that. When I told them it was wireless they asked if it when through the air? I said yes and they were just amazed.
God is so good. To see those happy little faces line up to get their food and so happy for whatever they are given. Seeing the smiles on their faces and the unconditional love they give to us. It amazes me day after day. We truly do have a great team. We have bonded and gel so well. I feel very honored to be part of this team.
Darlene and Denise, thank you so much for praying for me. I have most of my voice back or at least the kids aren’t scared of me any more. Thank you gals for following along and responding. KeriAnn thank you for following again and sending your comments. Mom so glad you are following along and commenting. You rock!
Thanks for following along on this great journey, wish I could bring you all along. – cheryl