This morning we awoke at 5am to drive to Malindza to have a party for our orphans. I cannot imagine a more exciting way to start my day! We met our friend Nomfundo and went to the nearest garden (farm) to select and purchase vegetables for our feast. As we were hacking the cabbages with machetes, I just kept imagining adorable faces consuming these vegetables with glee. (PS, for Christmas this year someone needs to buy me a machete, please). When we reached the random trees with pots (referred to as cauldrons by Kait) in the middle of nowhere, we realized we have reached our destination. For the next 4 hours Kait, Mary, Katy, and I diced 13 cabbages, 10 pounds of potatoes, 10 lettuces, 10 tomatoes, 20 beet roots, 20kg of chicken, 10 onions, and 20 carrots. We mixed this with cooking oil, spices, and beef soup stock to create a masterpiece! This fed almost 100 orphaned children from Malindza village. Nomfundo said that the rice alone will remind the kids of Christmas (they only eat mealies/porridge everyday) but the chicken will excite them even more.
From all of the cooking, Katy and I realized that we better marry chefs like GHFP co-founder Kait as our domestic abilities are severely lacking. Our backs hurt from hours of crouching…we developed blisters on our hands from the chopping, and we were glowing (errrrr, sweating) from the fires all around us to cook the “cauldrons”. The Swazi women, on the other hand, were completely effortless! When we were dishing for the kids, I was astonished at how much food the women were giving them. Two and a half cups of rice, a chicken leg, cole slaw, potato salad, beet salad, spinach salad, cooked cabbage, and carrot beef stew. Kids as young as 3 were cleaning their plates!! How is this possible?! Their stomachs are smaller than my fists! Oh and they also downed 2 cups of orange juice.
During the church service they were dropping like flies. We saw one of the baby boys nodding off while sitting up. Every five seconds his eyes would close, his head would drop, and then he would startle himself awake. This happened for about 5 minutes before I couldn’t take it anymore. I wasn’t sure if the head dropping or a white girl grabbing him would startle him more, but I decided to take my chances. I picked him up and he immediately fell asleep in my arms. I couldn’t have been happier until I noticed that he was not wearing diapers and I immediately remembered Bheki’s warning, “Sister Annie, you need to stop holding the babies – they will ‘poof’ on you!” But once again I decided to take my chances when I heard him snoring with happiness. As I was sitting on a Swazi grassmat with Baby Snores-a-lot-sans-diaper in my arms listening to the ladies cooking and singing “Siyabona Jesu” (Thank you Jesus) I thought to myself – things absolutely do not get better than this. After the party, we drove our GHFP student Nomalungelo home to help her install her new solar panels. We had already delivered a cell phone for safety and showed her how the solar worked and how she can now charge her phone in the USB port. She might be our shyest student but that should not be mistaken for a lack of gratitude. When we were alone together today she explained how when her parents died 5 years ago from HIV, so did her hope for her future. And then we came along and her hope was renewed. I told her that the Swazi kids – like herself – renew my hope every single day and she should not be thanking me – rather all of YOU who donate your time, money, and prayers for our children. I get all of the hugs and you all get only stories and pictures… THANK YOU!
First little sweetie down at the church service.
GHFP Co-founder Kait dishing for the little sweeties.
Katy and Mary dishing out for the little sweeties.
Little Malindza Sweeties eating FOODOM sponsored nutritious meals!
You can't see his sweatshirt but it says "Tall Dude" with a picture of a giraffe. A-gosh-darn-dorable!