Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Lord is my strength

I woke up this morning to the most beautiful blue sky and sunshine. After several days of cloudy, wet weather, the morning seemed even more beautiful. The sun was warm, but the air still had a touch of coolness in it. The hills have suddenly turned green. They are the type of green that almost hurts your eyes because it is so rich. The leaves on the trees and plants by the side of the road were still green after having the layers and layers of red dust washed off them by the rain. Our plan of the day was for Thoko and I to go to Lutfotja to get information on all of the kids that are part of Lutsandvo Lwa Krestu and check on the Nhlengethwa kids. We thought it wouldn't take long.

While at Lutfotja we were given information on 10 additional children that are all "sick and taking the tablets" (HIV+ taking medication). Most of them were in grade 1. We also learned more about a child-headed household of 8 children. In reality, they are two families sharing the same homestead. The mothers of the children were sisters. The fathers of the children are "late" (deceased). Before the mothers death they told the children to stay together to help each other out. The oldest child is 16, and the next oldest is 15. Then the ages go down as follows: 13, 11, 10, two are 8, and 7. None of these children appear to have health issues but are very vulnerable meaning they have no means by which to feed or support themselves. My mind started going into "understanding mode." At one point I kept asking questions such as why this, why that, I don't understand, didn't you say blah, blah, blah. Then I reminded myself that I had to stop trying to figure it out, trust God and take things one step at a time. Today has it's own troubles. I stopped asking the questions.

On our way out of the head teacher's office we saw several of the kids that we support under Lutsandvo Lwa Krestu. I counted 6 girls that are in serious need of a new uniform. I didn't bother counting the boys or those that need new shoes. I said to Thoko that I don't know how we are going to do it, but I would like these children to get new uniforms as part of the Christmas parcels we will be giving each family just before Christmas. (Unfortunately, I won't be around for the delivering of the parcels because I will be in the States.)

From Lutfotja we went to check on one our of kids (Ncamiso) who was not at school. He is a double orphan and lives with his gogo and an older sister. He is HIV+ and on medication but he has been very sick for over six months. He was getting his monthly ART medication at one of the rural clinics. They gave him the wrong dose several months ago. Evidently they gave him adult medication because they were out of the children's strength. I don't really know if that is true or not, but that is the story we've heard several times. We've been trying to get him healthy again ever since that event. The gogo had gotten a message to Thoko that one of the new medications that had been given to him required that it be taken with milk. So I bought some powdered milk to take to him. I couldn't buy regular milk because they don't have electricity so there would be no way to keep the milk cold. The gogo told us the Dr's suspect that he has TB again.

From Ncamiso's house we went to the High School where Mthokozisi Nhlengethwa goes to school. We wanted to see if they gave a spot in the high school to his sister, Nozipho who will be entering form 1 (8th grade) at the start of the new school year in January. They had given her a spot. A fee of 20 rand had to be paid by the end of November to hold her spot. The vice principal who is in charge of admissions, is a very caring woman. She went to check with the principal to see if I could pay the fee early. (They didn't have the formal receipts ready yet.) She came and said that since it was me, they would accept my payment early.
Thoko and I were so happy, but we also felt honored that the principal and vice principal are so willing to partner with us to take care of these children. (Thank you, Lord.)

From the High School we took the two youngest Nhlengethwa girls home because I had some groceries for them. Our local CCS person told me on Friday that they were out of food except for mealie meal. The grandparents were not home. They left last Friday to go to a funeral for a relative and hadn't returned yet. I so amazes me how children are left unattended I'm not sure I can ever get used to that part of this culture.

While we were at the Nhlengethwa's house I got a text message from Thini telling me that Nonjabulo was admitted to the hospital again today. Thoko and I went by the hospital to see how she is doing. Her weight has dropped back down to 4.6kgs. I noticed she was more congested than she has been. I don't know if it is the TB flaring up or if she has contracted a cold on top of everything else. She is back in a TB room with 4 other children with TB. All I could do was stand there and pray for the children as Thoko and Thini talked in Siswati about the baby.

I got home about 7:30 pm. It was a very long day. It started with God's amazing beauty, and then the needs became overwhelming, but we held to the fact that we are not alone in this. We have caring teachers and principals who care about these children and look out for them, we have the Lutsandvo Lwa Krestu committee and most of all, we know that God is always with us. He will guide us and He will carry us when we can't go on. He was certainly carrying me for awhile this afternoon when it all got too overwhelming and the burden too heavy. And for that, I will be eternally grateful.

Please pray for our little Nonjabulo and all of the other sick children who are struggling so to survive.

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