Saturday, March 28, 2009

Week in Review

It’s been a rather slow week because the first part was focused on helping Thoko get ready for the Annual Manyano (Methodist women) convention in South Africa and ensuring Mthokozisi had all he needed to attend the convention with her. And then the later part of week was quiet. But it was still a week of ups and downs.

Monday morning I drove up to Lomngeletjane to take some three student desks we finally found hidden at St. Paul’s. While there I was very pleased to see that John had marked the places the grader is supposed to grade the ground in preparation to build the pit latrines and the teacher’s house. That was exciting, especially the fact that he had followed through to organize the grader as he said he would.

Monday afternoon, I went into my bathroom to use the toilet and found a half a dozen or so worm/guppy type organisms in my toilet bowl. GROSS. I still don’t know what they are and could not find a source of them so I concluded they must have come up from the sewer which had been clogged and leaking into the dirt outside my door for about three weeks and just recently finally fixed. (We think.) These would mysteriously show up in the toilet bowl for a couple of days. Finally on Thursday the plumber showed up. They weren’t there at the time, but agreed they must have come up from the sewer and was going to bring back something to stop the sewer leak. I have no idea what he is talking about and he hasn’t been back (This IS Africa) but they don’t seem to be there anymore.

Wednesday I went to pick up Mthokozisi from school to bring him to Manzini to spend the night so he would be at St. Paul’s by 6:00 am on Thursday to leave with all the ladies for the Manyano Convention. He is such a nice boy. I just love him to death. He didn’t get the message that I was going to pick him up at school and that he was to bring his things with him to school that day so we had to drive back to his homestead to pick up his things. When we got there, he said we would have to walk around the homestead we usually walk through because there was a gate up which we couldn’t go through anymore. He suggested I wait in the car. He ran and came back quickly with one of his younger sisters in tow to say hello. After we left, he told me how the neighbors were probably jealous that we were helping him and were taking it out on his father and his father’s belongings. He told us a few weeks ago that the neighbors were stealing food and things from the children. He didn’t share a whole lot of details and I couldn’t wrap my head around what he was saying. But he said the neighbors threw makeshift firebombs on their donkey’s head and the police had been called out Tuesday night. As we were driving away we passed the police on their way back to his homestead. One neighbor by the first fence we now have to go through came out as we drove by. Mthokozisi said she is the only neighbor left that is being trustworthy. The lady asked me to pay for one of her son’s to go to school. I of course didn’t answer, but am wondering if we don’t do it if she will join the other neighbors in what is going on. I called Thoko and told her the situation so she can get more information and hopefully come up with a plan while they are at the convention. Thoko couldn’t believe the neighbors behavior either. That left me very upset Wednesday evening and all day Thursday.

Thanks to Skype, I could share my worry and frustration with Richard Bosart in South Africa Thursday morning, which helped. He encouraged me to take it easy and finish reading the book I had started reading in earnest on Tuesday: "Same Kind Of Different As Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. It was just what I needed to be reading on that day. I highly recommend the book to all.

Friday, I decided I needed to just get out in the beautiful country and see some smiling children’s faces. So I drove up to Lomngeletjane. Those children are so beautiful. I consciously reminded myself while there not to focus on the great need and how much these children need help, but just to focus on their beautiful smiles and on the fact that they now know me and are always so excited just to see me. In the little “pre school” I talked to each child and gave each child a little hug of encouragement. They didn’t understand what I was saying, but loved the attention. And it was clear they weren’t going to let me miss one child. After visiting the preschool children, I went to the primary school. I was so impressed that the two volunteer teachers had their classrooms working very hard. The one teacher wasn’t there again. (another source of my irritation and frustration. I don’t understand how she can be a paid teacher and not be at school so much.) However, John, the builder of the school, was there discussing what basic items they need for the school with one of the volunteer teachers. Some parents have finally paid some of their child’s school fees and John was preparing for a parent’s meeting today to get their permission to buy the needed items. This is no small miracle! Then John asked me if I had some time before I had to leave. I told him yes. He said there wasn’t any mealie meal for the children on Monday and wanted me to drive him and the bags of maize to be ground into mealie meal. I thought he was talking about his own children but said ok. I soon discovered he wanted to grind it for the school children. It was fascinating to see the huge electrical machine grind the corn and separate out the chaff and other waste. The owner explained the machine to me, but we both couldn’t figure out how it actually works! John and I also talked about our plans to start on the toilets and how we would use the teams coming this summer. I knew by the time I left that God had prompted me to go to Lomngeletjane this morning because I needed to be there not to see the children, but to have that interaction with John because John gave me hope and restored my faith in Swazi’s, particularly Swazi fathers. I was reminded once again to turn it over to God. He will take care of everything.

The icing on the cake was that I picked up my new passport from the Embassy and then went to lunch with a friend from Bible Study while I was in Mbabane. All in all, I'm glad the week is over. But the Lord was good to me and for that, I am so very thankful.

1 comment:

Laura Naiser said...

Just a note of encouragement. You are allowing God to use you to make a difference in the lives of so many children! I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be to be surrounded by so much need. But you have been so faithful to God's vision for you and I am sure he will continue to bless your work and you will continue to bear much fruit for His kingdom. I will pray that God will continue to lead you to bright spots that encourage and renew your spirit. I'll also pray for Mthokozisi's neighbors that their hearts will be softened and their behavior change.