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Day1.5 with the Todts!
My in laws came to Swaziland to work, so today Ty and I put them to the test with a Malindza Village work day!  We started out by building a book shelf for our New Hope Primary School (Thanks HC Gemmer Family Foundation!).  We can’t wait to line the shelves with gently used children’s books (aged pre-K to 4th grade is our priority now – you can mail them to GHFP 9 West Hazel Dell Lane, Springfield IL 62703). 

We then decided to take a stab at the school toilet.  We encountered a problem with the door falling off the hinges many months back and since then all of the community members…and the community members’ goats… and seemingly every single fly in all of Swaziland…have decided to make the toilet their own.  It was a filthy disaster area that I wouldn’t touch with a gas mask and hazmat suit.  I personally choose to shoo the goats away and go behind the kitchen myself. But Teresa wouldn’t have it.  She wanted a clean place for our students.  She grabbed an old cardboard box and a pair of gloves and gave that bathroom hell.  Meanwhile Garry and our local carpenter were making a custom door that would be indestructible so the bathroom would never stoop to such levels again (sorry goats, flies, and other mysterious insects!).  Soon the place was unrecognizable, in the best possible way!
We then went to the two sites where we are building homes for our orphans.  The first site is almost finished! We hung doors and measured for window panes today.   We only need to affix the window panes, build steps to the front door, and install the pit toilet seat tomorrow – we promised the Gogo that she and her four grandkids would be sleeping in their new home by tomorrow night!  The progress at the other Gogo’s home is remarkable.   The builder, Raymond, is already to the point where the entire foundation is built including the roof!  He keeps exclaiming that he wants to get finished before we leave Swaziland so that we can be proud of his work – he has 5 days left to complete his masterpiece! 

It’s great to have Teresa and Garry here.  They’ve heard every story and seen every photo – even know the kids by name – but they said that this trip has shown them a poverty they didn’t even know existed.  Being here has explained much more than my blog, our photos, and the endless stories they’ve heard.  Choked up by tears they talked in the car on the way home about the kids’ strength, resilience, and happiness despite their dire situations.  I wish I was a better writer and photographer because these kids deserve their story to be told in the most articulate and beautiful way… both their incredible challenges and amazing triumphs!  

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