Ty & Annie alone days 2 & 3 (there wasn’t internet yesterday to post):
We started out at Sibane Hotel to collect their used soaps. The head housekeeper Phumzile (pronounced: Poomzeelay) was more than hospitable when she gave us a huge box she collected expecting nothing in return. She said that if we come back monthly, she will have another box waiting for us and she is happy to participate in something that gives back to the orphans in her country.
“It’s okay, I’ll just sleep here in my tent”…Those are the words from our builder when we told him that we would not be able to transport him to and from his home in eLangeni every day. Today we drove our eLangeni builder to Malindza Village to see where we wanted him to build a home and toilet for one of our New Hope Primary student’s child-headed homes. On the long drive, he was talking top dollar to his white drivers (us!!) and thinking he needed transport to and from his home every day (1 hour at LEAST each way). Then he met our Go-go (grandmother) who is raising 6 orphaned grandchildren all under the age of 10 without a roof over her head. When it rains (practically every day this time of year), they sleep in our school classrooms because their home leaks water as the walls become more and more eroded (their home is made of stones and cow dung/clay soil). He chatted with her briefly and immediately felt that he needed to give back. He told us that he no longer required the transport or expensive building fees… he would complete the job reasonably and, if we bought him a tent, he’d on our grandmother’s homestead until the job was finished. I was overjoyed and so thankful! Our organization is so limited financially but continuously so blessed everyday by volunteers in Swaziland and donors in the US!
Then we went to the Royal Swazi Spa and met Pholile, the manager of housekeeping. What a treat!! She was one of the biggest hearted people I’ve ever met. She said that she wanted to take the soap donation one step further and also donate the used towels at the hotel when they became too tattered for their guests. I imagine too tattered isn’t tattered at all at this luxurious 5 star hotel complete with a spa, golf course, and cuddle puddle.
We took the builder to CashBuild and paid cash for our orphans’ new home making materials. They have a problem with counterfeit 200 Rand bills (equivalent to $20) and do not take international credit cards - so I had to pay for the house with 100R ($10) bills. All $1,700 of it. (Thank you Aunt Colleen, Uncle Jim, and Cait…. AND Dr. Lisa!!) It’s crazy to think that only $1,700 can build a very nice sturdy home that will prevent our children from rain, cold, and disease. Siyabonga…
Today I had to use the toilet at eLangeni Primary. We built these pit latrines for them last year and they are the cleanest unlocked toilets in the village. But they’re still pit latrines. And I forgot to pack toilet paper. As I rummaged through my purse for something to use (I settled on a Standard Bank cloth money bag), I looked down below and saw the children’s classroom exercises, leaves, newspaper, and more. In a country where toilet paper is an expensive luxury, the children use whatever they can find. And then, afterward, have no soap to wash their hands. Ty and I have been busy cleaning and re-packaging soaps for our orphaned students. We hope this will help reduce the spread of disease in our villages and then we can use that data as an argument to the Ministry of Health to promote the program nationwide. More and more local hotels are getting on board.
If you’d like to donate to the Extreme Makeover, Home Edition program (building the orphans child-headed homes) or the Sanitation across Swaziland program (providing soaps to schools and child-headed homes) you can do so here: www.ifightpoverty.org