Friday, October 14, 2011

Swaziland part 6

We hung the banner that my Sunday school kids decorated for Bheveni. It says "Jesus Loves You" in SiSwati.

Our second day at Bheveni was the day we handed out all of the supplies that we had collected and brought over. It took us only a short while to turn the inside of the carepoint into a wonderland of gifts! We had Bheveni t-shirts for everyone (in either red or bright green), shorts for the boys, dresses or skirts for the girls, headbands, undies and socks, school and hygiene packs, and someone also donated lunch bags and water bottles for each of the kids.

Meredith helping one little guy through the line.

We were also able to raise enough money to purchase new school uniforms for all of the kids! Education is so important for them. In Swaziland, children have to pay tuition to go to school. The amount gets more expensive the higher the grade and they are required to wear uniforms. For many of the kids it's a struggle to meet these financial obligations. Danielle had a fantastic donor who matched donations for the uniforms as our trip was getting close... what a huge blessing that was for Bheveni! Danielle has the B.E.S.T. fund set up to help kids who need assistance with tuition costs and uniforms - you can hop on over to her blog and read a little more about it.

Just received her new dress, headband, underwear and socks!

All of the girls loved the headbands! "Take our picture, please!!"

Handing out the gifts took up most of the day. It was so awesome to see the look on the face of each child as they came through the building. Even the shyest of the kids whispered a "thank you" with a huge smile.

We wanted to do something nice for the bomaki too - something that might make work around the carepoint a little easier. We had enough funds to purchase bowls for the carepoint... enough bowls for all of the children and ones that were plastic so they didn't have to worry about them getting too hot to touch. The women were so excited, so grateful. We also got them a new pot for cooking and a giant wooden spoon that they use to stir. Unfortunately, we didn't have those on hand this day and we would have to bring them a couple of days later.

After we finished with the gifts we had just a little time to spare before it was time to leave. We set up the Noah's Ark backdrop and Britt and Kim did their story, just as they had at Mangwaneni. The reaction from the kids was the same here as it had been there - it was a big hit! They loved pretending to be animals boarding the ark and when the "rain" started falling there were bursts of laughter.

The kids were eager to be picked to represent an animal.

As everyone was getting ready to make the walk home the D-Team gathered the kids up and they sang. It was one of the most beautiful things that I've ever heard. They were singing "I just want to say ngiyabonga Jesu!" (Thank you, Jesus.) You can see the video here.

This was also the day when I was able to do a home visit to Khaya's house. I was excited to go and get a better idea of what life was like for him on a daily basis. I walked there with Khaya and one of the D-Team members.

This is the first glimpse of Khaya's homestead that I had. I'm not kidding - there wasn't one place in Swaziland that didn't have some kind of animal roaming free.

Their homestead was like the other I had been to in that they had a few separate buildings on the property. I didn't get a chance to photograph all of it because it's considered rude to take your camera out and just start taking pictures - but believe me, I wanted to because it's just so different from how we live. They had a smaller house-style building where they slept, a small building where they cook (over an open fire - so it needs to be separate from sleeping quarters) and a couple other buildings. One looked like it was used for storage - there were pieces of broken furniture in there that I thought maybe they were going to fix up and maybe try to sell for income. There was also a structure (which is where my photo was taken with Khaya, his cousin and her newborn.) I'm not sure what that building was for.

I was disappointed when we reached Khaya's house and neither of his grandparents were there. I had been hoping to be able to talk with them a little. The cousin that has been living there with her newborn said that the grandfather was out of the country and that the grandmother was down fishing and wouldn't be back for quite awhile. The only thing that I really knew about Khaya was that his parents weren't in his life (I don't know if they're alive or not) and that there were 8 children living with him and his grandparents. The cousin was very polite but didn't answer many questions so I gave Khaya the gift that we had prepared for him, gave the food gifts to the cousin to leave for the grandparents and we headed back to the carepoint. The visit may have been a little disappointing, but at least I knew he had a place to call home and people there to feed him.

One of my favorite parts of the day was when I was able to deliver a gift to the mother of one of the girls who used to attend the carepoint. My good friend, Barb, has been sponsoring a girl named Jabulile for awhile now and had sent a gift for me to give to her. When we got to Bheveni, we found out that she had recently stopped coming. When I asked why, they told me that she was too ashamed to come - she was pregnant. While she had broken no rule; she was still allowed to come, she felt she couldn't. It isn't known whether it was a consensual relationship or not but either way there will be one more "baby" having a baby. I found out that Jabulile's mother worked at the carepoint so when things slowed down a bit, I grabbed one of the translators and had her come with me to Jabulile's mom. I explained to her about Barb being Jabulile's "special friend" (that's how the kids know their sponsors) and that Barb had sent a gift for her. I also told her that Barb and I still love her and will pray for her no matter what her circumstances are. I also told her mom to have her consider coming back to the carepoint - but I could tell by the look in her mother's eyes that that probably wouldn't happen. We grabbed one of the Bheveni t-shirts and a skirt and sent it with the gift. I hope that Jabulile understands that there are people out there that care about her - no matter what her circumstances are and no matter how much shame she feels right now.

for Jabulile

At the very end of the day, Steve ran past me and said, "MARGO! You HAVE to come inside and see the biggest spider ever!" I reluctantly went in and saw this ugly thing on the door....

Ummmmmm..... GROSS! I have to say that it most definitely looked bigger when I was standing merely inches from it. Steve was brave (or stupid) enough to get close enough to do this:
...but at least I knew it wouldn't be hunting me down when we came back the next day! Our guide, Dennis, chimed in with "Oh, that's nothing. I've seen them as large as my whole hand!" He's such a buzz kill. :)

I'm going to end this post with one of my favorite pictures. Not sure which one of my fellow B-Teamers took it, but it's a good one.

This is DeNise, my roomie for the trip, sitting with the little girl that stole her heart.

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