Construction Day & Meeting the Sponsored Children

Manzini Travel Blog

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Construction started today on a new center. Just like the other day we spent the entire morning digging a foundation… in addition we spent time building benches for children’ study in classrooms.

I t was long and tiring work but very rewarding. While we were working we could see women walking across a nearby field carrying their laundry. It appeared as though it was laundry day for the entire village who took time out to all go o the same place.

We all had lunch there before heading out to the picnic for the sponsored children.

I met Mnotfo at a local park in Mbabane. All of the children where brought there for us. They had KFC meals all ready for the children.  While they ate we shared time together and just loved on them. As I was sharing time with my new little friend, Ben our local missionary and the team translator came over to me to give me some background on him.  When the profile was written about his being sponsored he was living with his mother and sister, Well, unfortunately since that time his mother has died and his sister was taking care of him. Just recently his 12 year old sister Pepile was raped by local man which left her unable to take care of Mnotfo emotionally.  I inquired about Pepile’s status now and she has been taken in and sponsored by her teacher… essentially leaving Mnotfo as an orphan. This was not great news for me to hear right at the beginning of our meeting and getting acquainted but it set the framework for the rest of my day with him and how I would be interacting with him.   We shared a 1-way conversation.. I talked, he nodded his head.  We went and had our picture taken together and then made a picture frame for him to take home. After that we shared about 30 minutes in the park playing on the swings, teeter totter, slide, etc.  This is when he finally started opening up to me.  Ever new place he wanted to go he reached out his hand looking for mine and lead me to the next ride or area of the park for him to explore.   He also started talking to me…. I have no idea what he was saying, but did not matter.   He trusted me enough to allow his guard down and started warming up to me.  It was painful to look around and see him and all these other children starving for attention.  Some of them were orphans, some where living with a grandparent, who barely able to take care of themselves had to also take care of the child because both of his/her parents were dead.  Others were in single parent homes, mostly with just a mother because the father either abandoned them or has died of AIDS.  Our next adventure was to the mall for shopping. The basic school uniforms were covered in the cash we provided, but we got to help them pick out new school shoes and any other items. Each person was given 100 RAND to make the purchased of the other items.  Mnotfo wanted a new pair of sandals and a new shirt. He was so excited being in a store because he had never seen one before. In fact he had never been out of his community before this day.  He had never ridden in a bus, never seen a city, never seen stores, or even had KFC (which he really liked). He day finalized with all the sponsored children being taken to get ice cream…. Again it was a first for many of them. Then unfortunately, it was time to say goodbye…. Each of the children was loaded onto a specific bus to be taken home. Mnotfo was told to stay on the bus with me.  The drive was long and it was not long before Mnotfo was sound asleep in my arms. Talk about trust and being completely comfortable …..  I was in heaven, yet I was close to tears.

We reached his drop off point and I did not want to leave him there.  It was dirty and in a very bad area. I had no idea where he lived, where he was going, who would be taking him home or even if he knew his way home.  Out translator guide said to me that he would personally make sure Mnotfo would make it home safely. I hugged Mnotfo goodbye and I boarded the bus. That is when the tears started.. I heart ached for him and his situation… and yet there was nothing more that I could do for him, except pray.  The ride back to the hotel was not a nice one and was just filled with overwhelming emotions.

We all take everything we have for granted, the ability to shop were we want, eat at home or eat out, drive everywhere we go, have homes, two cars, vacation homes, etc, etc, etc…… they mostly have the clothing on their backs. No running water, no indoor pluming, no laundry machines or dryers, no cars, mostly live in 1 room straw and mud homes. We have no rights to complain when compared to the lives that these children live.

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photo by: Stormcrow