Today was one that our female team members have anticipated for some time! We had two goals: first of all to shower love and attention on the girls; giving them the message that they are highly valued and deeply loved! Our second goal was simple….keep the boys away from the party. Both goals were accomplished today!
After decorating to create a beautiful and inviting atmosphere, the party began! It is tradition for us on Party Days, to serve a meal called Chicken Dust to each child. They love this meal and it is hilarious to see them eating a piece of chicken bigger than their heads! With appetites satisfied it was time for some pampering and fun!
As the girls moved through the different activity stations, there was such joy and delight on each of their faces! Whether they were decorating cupcakes & enjoying the sprinkles; painting treasure boxes to take home, bouncing on the jumping castle, being pampered with manicures or dancing to our Canadian tunes … bright smiles were all around! A highlight for each girl was receiving the gift of a new dress from her special friend at Riverwood! As I watched the girl’s emerge in their pretty dresses from our makeshift dressing room, my heart swelled with gratitude to each of you who sponsor Bhobokazi Carepoint and are building a friendship with one of the precious girls here! The dresses fit beautifully and each girl looked amazing! They too are so thankful to you!
Once each of our princesses was outfitted, we escorted them outside for a planned “Grand Processional” in their dresses. Much to everyone’s surprise, all the boys (pre-schoolers to teenagers) who had been so great at keeping their distance earlier so that the girls could fully enjoy their day had secretly crafted a plan to line the sides of the pathway from the top of the hill all the way into the building, applauding and cheering for the girls as they walked by! What a moment! The whole carepoint was celebrating these girls!
We concluded the party with a testimony from KeriAnn who shared her journey with Jesus, and some powerful lessons she has learned along the way about His faithful love, care and attention!
It was an incredible day and we are going to bed tonight with full hearts knowing the Bhobokazi girls, who are so very dear to our hearts have full hearts as well! We hope you can catch but a glimpse of the magical moments we shared in the photos although they couldn’t possibly do it justice! We have a couple of team members who’s reflections during debrief tonight certainly did capture it. Please enjoy their powerful & moving words! – Carolyn
It’s not every day one gets to be treated like a princess, and that’s what made today so special. For our second visit to Bhobokazi, we had the privilege of hosting a princess party for all the girls at the carepoint. From toddlers to young adults, our special friends were made to feel like royalty.
Our day started off as any princess party day would: decorating the space with streamers and flowers, setting up tables and chairs for activities, and – very importantly – making sure we had enough cupcakes and icing for everyone.
I was fortunate enough to be with a group of preschoolers, and though I dealt with a few flight risks, some picky eaters, and a huge language barrier, we had a blast getting to know each other and living like princesses for a day. A manicure station, personalized jewelry boxes, and dresses from their special friends made the experience all the more special and completed the princess makeover.
I knew this day was going to be unique, but I was not prepared for the emotions that would surface. While my little ones were decorating their jewelry boxes, I stole a glance at the older kids who were dancing in front of the princess backdrop. This moment made me catch my breath and brought a tear to my eye as I watched these girls forget about the difficulties that lay ahead. Even if for just five minutes, they didn’t have to think about the long walk home; they didn’t have to think about when they would eat their next meal; they didn’t have to think about the immense responsibility placed on their young shoulders. They could just be girls, dancing, giggling, smiling, and loving each and every moment of the present.
Of course, we only had one day to treat the girls like princesses here on Earth, but every single day they are princesses in the eyes of the King. As each station made the girls feel more beautiful, we reminded them that their beauty and value to God was everlasting. I pray that special feeling they had at the end of the day stays with them for years to come, and that they remember how much they are truly loved – both by God and by our Riverwood family. I wiped away a few tears as I danced and sang with my own little ones, forgetting about what lay ahead for just a minute. This memory will stay with me as I return to Canada, and hopefully for many years to come. – Akosua
A couple of months ago I was sitting at home studying my Siswati to prepare for this trip and I couldn’t reconcile the idea that the appropriate response to hello (sawubona) was yes (yebo). So I did a quick google search, and discovered that Sawubona actually means “Do you see me?” (according to Mr. Google, so take that for what it’s worth). Therefore responding with yebo, or yes is to say “Yes, I see you”.
The idea struck me as a really beautiful way to greet people, and it has been rolling around in the back of my mind since we arrived here a few days ago. However, it really pushed it’s way to the forefront today as we were preparing for the princess party. The ladies on our team had spent an hour or so decorating Bhobokazi and setting up all of the stations, and we were gathering to pray for the girls coming in. Our goal for the day was to make each girl feel special and loved, just like a princess. We prayed that God would make them understand how beautiful and unique and loved they were by Him, and by our team as well. But the whole time we were praying all I could think about was the idea of “yes, I see you.” If we accomplished nothing else today, my prayer was that each girl would feel like she had really been seen. I wanted to take each sweet little face and tell them “Yes, I see you. Yes, you are special. Yes, you are beautiful. Yes, I see you.” – Kelly