Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Fallen House

We went to Lutfotja Methodist Primary School today to check on the OVC’s (Orphaned & Vulnerable Children) that are being helped by a program we’re calling “Lutsandvo LwaKrestu” (for the love of Jesus in Siswati.) We started this program in August, 2008 with 4 children at this school and are now up to 16 children. Three or four of them are in visibly better health because of the medication and Doctor’s visits that are being funded through this program. Through this program we met a family of four children which I have written about a couple of times. This is the family whose mother’s whereabouts are unknown and the father works on the other side of Swaziland and rarely comes home. He doesn’t support his children in anyway. So the children live on their own and are often without food or other necessities. Mthokoisiwe is the oldest child, a boy aged 14. He wasn’t going to school because the father didn’t pay the required school fees. Through a grant from the Manyano (the Methodist Church of Southern Africa’s women’s organization), he started High School (8th grade) a few weeks ago. After Lutfotja, we went to Mthokoisiwe’s High School to check on the status and speak briefly with the child. While at the High School, Mthokoisiwe told us that their house had fallen down in the rains that have been hitting Swaziland so hard in January and February. Of course we took him home to see the house. Rain, dirt roads, hills, valleys and streams don’t mix well but we made it. I really don’t know how to explain to you what we saw and how we felt. These children are staying by themselves, it is cold and damp, the house they were sleeping in, which is really their father’s house has fallen down around them because of the rain and the poor construction. The smaller house which is their kitchen (just a bare floor where they build a fire and a window for the smoke to go out of) is about to fall down but that is where they are sleeping now. I watched the little girl who is in 2nd grade try to start a fire out of sticks of gathered wood under part of the roof of the fallen-down house wondering how their wet school dresses were going to dry and how they were going to cook a pot of mealie meal (thick ground corn) with such a small fire. I wondered how at such a young age the child knew how to do such things. I wondered where and how they could do their school work and how they washed their clothes. I wondered how they would stay warm, and how they wake up and get to school on time. I forced myself not to be angry with the father and stay focused on the children. I had to leave and start walking back to the car so I could shed a few tears in private and ask God why and for him to take care of these children, because no one else can do it but Him. Then we left. It took me 4 hours to get home because of the rain and muddy roads and because I took Thoko and Thini home because they had missed the last transportation to their homesteads. The short cut to Thoko’s house, through the country and across a small river is impassable now because the river is too high so we had to go the formal, but long way which took at least an hour after we got to Manzini. It’s still raining outside.

Please pray for these children and for God to reveal the right answer because I know what I might think is a good thing to do may not be the right thing in the long run and for the resources to help their situation.

1 comment:

Dianne (aussies) said...

Wow, what a story.

The inner strength of these children is unbelievable and we can all learn so much from it.