Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A bad start, but good finish

Today was another one of those days. Thoko, Thini, Gladys and I had planned to visit some homesteads that are a part of Lutsandvo Lwa Krestu which I was very happy to do. However, I haven't been feeling well the last few days and I was still not feeling great this morning. I had a slight headache and was GROUCHY. Then a series of events happened (This is Africa) that prevented us from leaving downtown Manzini as early as we should have which just kept making me grumpier and quieter. We finally arrived at the first homestead, and the people weren't home. (I must say, for people that have no money, they sure are gone a lot! I can't figure out where they go or how they get there.) As I'm backing out of the homestead down a very narrow path with grass chest high on either side, grumbling to myself that the ladies make me drive right up to the homesteads and won't walk any further than they absolutely have to, I notice my car is overheating. Great. So we get to the little town not far away and I pull over into some shade next to a tiny petrol station to let the car cool down. Then I realize I didn't have a rag, a screw driver, pliers, water or anything in my car. So Thoko and Gladys went to ask some guys by the Petrol Station if they would come help. So about six guys come and lean over the car talking in SiSwati, of course and pretty much ignoring us. They did discover that the fans weren't running. They came up with all kinds of ideas of what they should do which made me very nervous and even more irritated. It was taking every ounce of my being to keep my mouth shut and not snap at them. I wanted to just get in my car and drive it home and then to the radiator shop in a near by town that did good work for me last year. I felt certain if I kept the car moving at a decent speed the wind would cool the engine. They weren't about to let me leave. I had visions of my car in pieces and then them not knowing what to do or not having the part. Finally someone called the mechanic from around the corner to come help. He wanted to test to see if the fans would run by putting a wire from the connector on the fan to the battery. It didn't work the first few times he tried it and then one of the guys saw that the wire was broken most of the way through at one spot. So the mechanic cut the wire and tried again. (By cut I really mean used his teeth to pull the wire apart!) This time it worked so he wrapped the wire around some parts so it wouldn't come loose when the car was moving so the fan would run whenever the car is on. And then he left. I didn't even get a chance to ask if I could pay him. Talk about a good Samaritan! That was the turn of the day.

We visited several homesteads. These families have become so close to my heart. They're almost like family. And I know exactly where they live even though there are no street signs or house numbers or even pavement on the "streets". As always I just adore the grandparents who are caring for the children, which is most often the case. One gogo came running in from her garden to speak to us. She was embarrassed because she was dirty and in her work clothes. But she was just adorable. She gave the volunteers butternut squash that were unbelievably big. Another family has the nicest homestead with many different fruit trees and a lovely vegetable garden as well as crops such as sweet potatoes. They even have a grape arbor! This grandfather gave the volunteers so many sweet potatoes they could hardly carry them! But the best part of the visits are the children. It is so great to see the kids and be able to talk to them now. One child who was so sick when we first met him 8 months ago came right up to me and said in English as bold as can be "how are you?" Thoko couldn't help but laugh at him. And then at the last house we stopped at a little boy about 2 or maybe three, came towards the car with a big smile and put his hand out for me to shake in a greeting of hello! The first time I saw him he kept peeking behind his mother at me. Those little precious moments are so dear to me.

One of the reasons we were making the homestead visits was to introduce the families to the local Manyano woman who would be following up with them as we transition the program to the local congregation who will then communicate back to us if there are needs. This will enable us to move to additional schools. It is part of our project plan and the right thing to do. However, I found myself thinking, I can't not see these precious children and families again. We're going to have to come periodically and check up on them because I'm not ready to say good-bye to them. I know, it's not supposed to be about me, but I'm a wimp sometimes.

As I drove us back to Manzini I realized once again how blessed I am and how faithful our heavenly Father is. This morning I kept praying for the Holy Spirit to fill my heart with joy and take the grumpy attitude away and before I realized what happened he did. God is good. All the time. God is good.

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