Magonsa, Manzini Center
Manzini Travel Blog› entry 12 of 16 › view all entries
Well, I did not get assigned to the center there Mnotfo is located, but I was blessed with the center where I was assigned. As soon as we arrived I met Clesti (Celeste), she grabbed a hold of my hand and would not let go. Everyplace I went she wanted to go. We played together (horse, tag, swing)… then many other children joined Mnelli was another little girl who want to play with me also. We laughed, sang, danced together. Megan (the youngster of the team – she’s 18) was also a big hit with the children. At one point we started playing the Swazi version of Duck, Duck, Goose. The first time out I was picked to run around and try to get back to my original space…. I took off running like a mad man, the children clapping and singing… then, ROCK!! I caught my right boot tread and did a full gainer face first into the ground! The children were roaring with laughter… I got up, dusted off the jacket, dusted off the pants…. Shoot the dirt out of my hat… and finished the race (very late I must add).
After playing a while, including dancing solo inside a circle of children it was time to eat. As the children queued up for their meal… each was required to wash their hands and wash their bowl. That is when I noticed this little girl… she has a birth defect which has caused her right leg to no grow correctly. She is 2 ½. She is normal from the waist to knee but deformed from the knee down. At the ankle, her foot is growing at a 90 degree angle turned inward towards her other leg. It can not be walked on. Yet, to my amazement she just kept getting herself around.. no cares, no worries, no issue with being different. I picked her up and just started loving on her. Swinging her around, playing horse, bouncing her on my knee. With her legs wrapped around me as best she could, I would dip her upside down and bring her back up… every time I did, she would laugh and smile and talk something in Siswati (I have not idea what she was saying.
To me I see a child caught in a horrible situation with a horrible challenge she will face the rest of her life, to her she is just a normal kid with something different that is not going to slow her down. How quickly we choose to place this child into our “vision” of normalcy, yet to herself she is a happy, incredible child.
It was in that moment I knew this was where I need to be this week. It is not about what we think, it is not about what we see or expect for these children… its about showing them that someone loves them regardless of how they look, the color of their skin, their circumstances….
This nation is being torn apart by their own culture and beliefs. Though Christianity has been here for man, many years, the country is so routed in their culture that though they know the truth, they don’t seem to want to change. Women and children are not safe even within their own families, they are beaten, abused even raped because of the philosophy and attitude towards women. Now, all we can do is the one best thing for these children… just love on them because it may be the only adult true love they are ever shown.
I can not help but cry knowing that I can only do so much…. But, I know I am doing what I can for the moment.
God loves you... and I love you also
We started our day today with a 7:00 AM game ride. We saw Impala (lots of them), Wildabeast, Giraffe, Hippos, White Rhino, Ostrich, Ibis, Vultures, Hawk, Crane, elephant. Breakfast consisted of eggs, sausage, toast, juice, yogurt, cereal, fruit.
On the way back from the park to Manzini we stopped at one of the Care Centers while school was in session. We were given a tour of the school and told about their lesions and how they are prepared for public school. To attend public school it costs about $100 US per year, but unfortunately most families can not afford it here, so many children will not receive any formal education outside what is provided at the Mission of Mercy Care Centers.
We are back at the hotel now getting settled and preparing for lunch. After lunch we have a brief meeting to discuss how the teams are being split up and we will spend the rest of the day (afternoon) at 5 separate centers working on crafts and doing bible teaching. On of the centers we are going to is the one where my sponsored child is, Mnotfo…. I hope I am assigned to his center!