Ty & Annie days 4 & 5:
Today was “Spoil Nomalungelo, Nothando, and baby Luyanda Day”! The day was filled with KFC (they LOVE that place!), shopping for school supplies and hygiene goodies – soaps, sanitary pads, deodorant, AND we took them to the very first movie they’ve ever seen: Tarzan in 3D! When the girls got in the car, they saw boxes in their places on the backseat. I could hear the excitement in their voices when they found out that the boxes contained their brand new school shoes (Thanks Dr. Lisa!). We also dropped off two bundles of emergency feeding packs (Thanks Mitali/Foodom). Their grandmother died after I left Swaziland in July and their older sister died shortly after leaving her 3 year old son in Nomalungelo and Nothando’s care. They are now the oldest on their homestead raising all of their siblings’ children – there are so many!! I counted 10 today… but there may be more. That’s a lot to deal with when you are unemployed sophomores in high-school just trying to earn an education to create a better future than the present challenging hand they’re dealt with. But these girls never complain. They never ask for anything. And they work very hard. I’m so very proud of them!
And then there’s the Regional Educational Officer/Ministry of Education. For years I have tried to work as much as possible without involving the government. But with our New Hope Primary School, we need them. So… days like today happen. We woke up early and drove across the country for our committee meeting with them and our school chair people. The chair people are all there with food they have brought from their personal gardens and two goats they have donated to be slaughtered for the Educational Officers (poor goats). These people have little to eat for themselves and their families, but they are committed to the development of our school and the orphans of their village. And then we wait…and wait…and wait. I am hoping that they are just running late – on Swazi time – rather than going to cancel and reschedule. Especially for the goat’s sake that is now hung by its feet on a nearby school tree. A few hours later the Educational Officers finally arrive. They said that although this process & these meetings have been going on for TWO YEARS and we (my amazing community elders, teachers and Mr Maseko) have done EVERYTHING they’ve asked… they need more time to make their decision – including another meeting in February. Which means: I will have to continue paying the teacher’s salaries, cook’s salary, all of the children’s uniforms, shoes, learning supplies, books, electricity, water, etc. We were told last year: if we build it, they will come. If we build the school, the government would take over and help pay for things (not enough to function as a high quality school, but at least provide something). Now I think it has become a game of “if we build it, they will come for the goat stew”. But Give Hope, Fight Poverty won’t give up on these kids that have no other option for schooling. We even have more kids wanting to come to our school meaning even more money will be needed. We could use your help! If you would like to donate to keep the school running, please mail a check to GHFP 2436 N Alabama Street Indianapolis IN 46205 with “New Hope Primary” written on the memo line. Siyabonga!!