The kids at our eLangeni High School have placed in position 1 in almost every category during the national preliminary competition in everything from chorus to cheerleading and hip hop dance. They asked us to watch their dress rehearsal today for one of the elimination contests tomorrow. It was awesome seeing the children show off their amazing talents! And we have lots of amazing videos to upload when we get home to high speed internet. Afterward we delivered emergency food packs to all of our child-headed homes (Thanks Foodom!). Njabuliso and Lungelo rode along and helped us locate the homes as the directions we were given such as “go like this up the mountain” (as they kind of wiggle their hand like a worm) or “turn right past the big rock but try to avoid the dip near the tree” were lacking a bit. Off-roading in our 8-passenger kombi (bus) full of mealies, brown sugar, rice, cooking oil, candles, canned fish, and peanut butter is quite the spectacle alone but once the kids see that it is also full of white girls, they start chasing the van. Shoeless, some shirtless, but thankfully all wearing pants… At one point we had a tail 10 children long and the whole time Katy was yelling “STOP, how many do you think I can fit in my suitcase??”
Delivering food to the houses is extremely humbling. When we stopped at Siphesihle’s house we found his Gogo (grandmother) who takes care of all of her grandchildren as their parents have all passed. She is ancient from the Swazi perspective and has trouble seeing and walking but she got up and danced when she recognized our kombi once again pulling up to her homestead, which is FULL of little beautiful children. When we unloaded the food items she was praising God saying that they have not had enough food for the children for a long time. I just held her hand and tried to fight back tears of shame and admiration – shame that I was going to go home and enjoy a nice grilled cheese sandwich with my favorite Nando’s peri-peri sauce and a cold diet coke as she is going to ration out a bag of white rice to 10 innocent babies and admiration that she has never left these kids’ sides and is an advocate they so desperately need.
Two of our newer GHFP students added in December were overflowing with gratitude. The pictures below are of Sandzie, a freshman in high school and maybe one of the shyest people I have ever met. I can’t wait until she breaks out of her shell. And precious Sanele sat down and spilled out his life story to me today. He said that he loved learning and completed primary school just as his parents died. Afterward, at 13 years old, he turned into a nomadic cow herder. He spent nights under trees with the cows and no longer went to school. One day a couple in eLangeni Village took him in and asked us to sponsor his education (Thanks Sube!!). He’s in his 20s and is only a freshman in high school but when he completes his schooling, he will be the first of his entire family to have ever earned a high school diploma. He said that one day when he was out with the cows he prayed to God to show him the way to a better life and within a couple of months God sent him the village couple and Give Hope, Fight Poverty. He said “I could cry with tears of happiness” just as the tears started spilling from his eyes. I feel such an immense pride for our GHFP kids – they are my heart, my drive, and my teachers. I want to emulate their outlook on life and I want to give everything I have and then give a little more.