Day 8: Rural and extremely impoverished Malindza days are always full of ups and downs
Today was Malindza community day. We woke up early to drive across the country to this remote extremely impoverished village where we (Give Hope, Fight Poverty: www.ifightpoverty.org) are building a free school for HIV orphans. I still have to pinch myself that this dream is becoming a reality. Our community liaison commented today, and I quote, “When I first learned that you agreed to build the orphans of my community their first school, I nearly ran through the night nude in joy.” – so apparently he shares the same astonishment. Sube Latchman Singh donated the first grant then my Aunt Barb donated for the next classroom and since then, the Efroymson Family Foundation, Power of One Foundation, and Christ Church Cathedral women have followed suit. I always wish it was these people/groups that were here to receive the accolades.
Then we had a meeting with the village. I announced to the community that this school would be entirely free for orphans, and they all cheered and screamed a million hallelujahs! Then Maseko asked Kailey to say something. She stood up and said that she was so happy to be welcomed to the community and that it was her first time in Swaziland but she was already in love with the country and the children. About 30 words, tops. Then Maseko translated and spoke for about 10 minutes ending with the community erupting in cheers again. I am sure we will never know what was said on Kailey’s behalf but now she is a huge hit in Malindza.
One of the grandmothers replied that she is raising her granddaughter and realizes that she is the future of her village (and country) but before our school, she was certain her granddaughter would remain uneducated like herself. Another gogo (grandmother) started crying and said she is raising 7 orphaned children (some not even her own grandchildren) and how she was afraid to die not knowing what would become of them, but now she knows they have a place (and free education) at Malindza New Hope Primary School. It’s amazing to see how when we Americans give a little, it is truly life (and future) changing for the orphaned children here.
Today we were gifted more land from the Chief to be used to grow food for our orphaned students at New Hope. We were able to purchase fencing, seed, and fertilizer for the vegetable garden and tanks, gutters, and drainage piping for our rain catchment system thanks to a generous FOODOM donation. Soon the orphans will be eating lavishly (as they did today) which will most likely be their only meal of the day.
As we are starting to pack for our LONG journey back to the US, I want to spread thanks to all of those who have given us your time, donations (both material and financial), and support over the years. When Lungelo and I were driving to town the other day, he looked at me and said, “I remember when I first saw you many years ago and realized that from that point on, my life would be different and I grew hope for my future.” Mine also changed on that same day. I now spend every waking moment of my life worrying about and loving these children. As the number of children in our cohort grows, so does my endless worrying and the insurmountable needs of our organization. We could not do any of this without you. The words “thank you” simply aren’t enough. You’ve saved lives, fought poverty/AIDS and given hope to orphaned children who are the change agents for a brighter future.
Give Hope, Fight Poverty is a 501c3 tax exempt nonprofit organization