This morning we woke up at 5am and traveled through dense fog to Malindza to meet our 30 school children pioneering our GHFP Primary School. The anticipation was killing me! We arrive to our school site and once again it was like a dream…I exclaimed to Pastor Maseko that I still could not believe that it was actually happening even though I was seeing it with my own eyes!! He agreed that it seems to him also as a wonderful dream that we will soon awake from. We once again toured the site with all of the Gogos who have volunteered their time to build for us. There is a toilet already standing, land cleared and bricks built for the 1st grade classroom, a field being cleared and tires donated for the sports/gaming complex, and many more acres awaiting our command… we’ve already discussed having a rainwater collection and filtration system to irrigate vegetable farms to feed the kids, a computer lab, a library… the dreams were forming so fast in my mind that I couldn’t even keep up with them! Then the children arrived!!!! One by one we saw them walking alone down a dirt path. We must have looked like creepy eager beavers as the kids – at first – were terrified. Our friend Nelly assured us that they have just never seen white people in the deep rural areas. After a few seconds of smiling and playing – they warmed up to us and I silently prayed for each of them to learn hard and change the world. Just as I was tearing up from excitement, anticipation, and love for these kiddos we heard some heart-wrenching news.
One of the women from the village ran toward us and was speaking quickly in siSwati. When Nelly interpreted for us, I immediately wished that she hadn’t. A baby girl was found screaming in a port-a-potty latrine nearby. They assume that she had spent the night there and was suffering tremendously. They rushed her to the closest hospital 20km away and we all took a moment of silence to pray for her recovery. Unfortunately this practice is common, especially in Malindza. And many of these babies – if they survive the long fall – suffer from permanent brain damage, respiratory failure from breathing in the fecal fumes, and burns. Kait and I looked at each other and immediately looked away as we knew if we saw the other person cry, we would lose it in front of the entire community. Our GHFP kids – luckily – didn’t know what was going on and I felt like it was our responsibility to keep it that way. The last thing they need is to watch the terrifying white ladies doing the Oprah-ugly-cry with snot running down their faces and screams protruding from their foreign mouths. So I just ran around doing what I do best…being the crazy lady who squeezes the crap out of the darling GHFP school kiddos hoping that they know that I will never ever ever ever forget them… But it was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done trying to keep it together when I felt like throwing a serious tantrum. Throughout the rest of the day full of meetings, I just kept picturing the frightened baby, alone, scared, hungry, hurt, and wondering what she did wrong to be so unwanted to be dropped in a toilet. Heartbreaking. Tonight I turned my music on and hid in the other room and lost it. I wish GHFP was bigger. I wish we could care for every kid in the country. I wish I was in a position in life to adopt these unwanted babies, and I wish more than anything that there were no kids that needed help in the entire country…or world. My mom said that she didn’t know if she could ever come to Swaziland with me as she couldn’t survive the heartbreak. On days like today I am not sure I am built for it either.