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"Nia gu ratha" - Days 8 & 9

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Today we went to the secondary school and Mirriam took us on a tour of our Give Hope, Fight Poverty agricultural department set up in December.  I was thrilled to find our fenced area filled with enormous cabbages, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, carrots, - AND all of our fruit trees that we planted in December already bearing LARGE fruits 6 months ahead of schedule!! (Thanks FOODOM and Power of One Foundations!)  We were given a Paw-paw fruit - picked from our tree.  I am so excited to taste something new!  And, as always, I am so proud of our orphaned students who are now using GHFP land to supplement the FOODOM food to feed the whole school.  The rest of the day we spent with Professor Njabu checking on the progress of our children’s library and with Sifiso running errands to prepare for our new GHFP team who arrives tomorrow (GHFP co-founder Kait Mariutto and GHFP intern Mary Duff).  I’ll write more tomorrow when the new team arrives.  But Katy and I are still safe and sound…
Today was a big day.  While waiting for the girls, we woke early to…wash our undergarments. Thanks for the tide Mama Jan Schueller!! We made a creative clothing line out of a long aluminum piece of edging that will be used for our library bookshelves – so basically we are trying to say that we are very classy girls. We also purchased hundreds of dollars’ worth of hygiene items for our child-headed homes.  The kids in the villages use used newspapers as toilet paper…if they can find some.  The girls during their time of the month struggle when the newspapers aren’t available.  They also lack basic things like soap, deodorant, and toothpaste.  The girls working at Clicks Pharmacy thought we were crazy when we bought 20 packs of sanitary pads, 80 bars of soap, 150 rolls of toilet paper, 20 500mL containers of cocoa butter lotion, and 20 deodorants thereby diminishing their entire stocks. (Thanks Karen & Mrs. Jensen for all of the vitamins, toothpaste and toothbrushes!)  We made care packs for the kids and it will break my heart to see how excited they will be to receive such basic necessities. 
Then Mary and Kait arrived and we took them to see the GHFP computer lab and library at the primary school.  We toured the secondary school, and we played games at the Msibi house with Miriam, Nomfundo, Sizo, Nosipho, Mazwi, and Philo.  We invited Sandzi as well as she is a close neighbor but she was scared to walk in the dark since it is election time.  Prior to the trip I was reading about children who had been abducted and their body parts removed for “good luck” purposes during elections.  I thought it was a myth, but the children confirmed it tonight saying 6 ladies from their community had already been kidnapped and dismembered this election year.  The man was caught when someone noticed a real human hand hanging in his house to supposedly make him more powerful.  It makes me scared to know that our kiddos live alone … easy prey for disturbed people.  During game night tonight we played “Father Abraham”, Mazwi sang “sleep sleep baby”, we played my own rendition of Spoons, and then there was the usual “Goola goola, anything, like what” where you pick a category and everyone has to say something from that category on beat.  Round 4 was “girl’s names” and when it was Mazwi’s turn, he said “Annie”.  I was so excited to hear my name coming from his sweet little voice that I couldn’t think of a single girl’s name and I lost the game.  I was glad to see today that his blistered cheek rash is clearing up! What a sweet boy. Last night Katy and I made Sifiso teach us how to say “I love you” so we could tell the children today…Nia gu ratha (I am sure that is not spelled correctly).  They’ve heard me say it in English 10 billion times but tonight I tried my hand at the siSwati version.  The kids replied “I know and I love you too” in English.  Music to my ears… 
Mazwi and Mary having an arm wrestling contest...Mazwi won.

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