As I am writing this, I am listening to the rain pour down on our tin roof and although I am thankful for the rain to water our children’s vegetable gardens, I am hopeful that the rain does not wash out the road to our school as we have computers, medical supplies, food, and books to deliver tomorrow morning.
But you’re wondering about today…so let me start from the beginning. We started our day by traveling to eLangeni Primary School to help cook our FOODOM food donation and serve the mostly orphaned children. Only, when we arrived, we found the cook is very ill today and called in too late for the head teacher to find a replacement, so there will be no lunch. No lunch. No food for the 634 children who likely haven’t eaten since school lunch on Friday. It broke my heart…
Then we trekked across the road to the PreSchool where Nelly was teaching about letters today. The children do not have access to paper and writing utensils, so we practiced forming our letters out of sugar beans on the cement floor. Many of our 55 preschoolers graduated at the end of 2014 and went on to primary school so we have 30 remaining – and a lot of them are new faces! It was so fun getting to know the new children and seeing the returning ones. A few of the old faithfuls were there including Sphiwe up to his usual shenanigans of doing cartwheels and wanting to show you how he can do a summersault…900 times. And you can’t forget Princess - who is simply cuter than ever. She is my husband’s favorite child due to her complete inability to do anything physical. Games are simply not Princess’s strength. Today she was challenged to a foot race and I am thrilled to report that she ran in the correct direction… although she undoubtedly lost the race.
We then hired a local electrician to cut off the American plugs on our donated laptops and connect Swazi plugs to enable them to be used without adapters. These will complete our computer lab in eLangeni community! We picked up and sterilized used hotel soaps from the Royal Swazi Spa as part of our Sanitation Across Swaziland program. Our program cleans and redistributes used hotel soaps to children in rural villages to prevent the spread of infectious disease and ultimately reduce (or hopefully eliminate!) preventable child mortality. Then we purchased the entire stock of anti-fungal cream, deworming pills, and Panadol (Tylenol) from the local pharmacy in anticipation of our free clinic day on Thursday.
We delivered food to our child-headed homes (Thanks Mitali/FOODOM) and then met up with Njabuliso at his university – VOCTIM college – to deliver his food. He is renting an apartment near school. In his 7 foot by 7 foot space he has a twin bed, a collapsible camping chair, and a small table. He was so proud to show us this space as he worked at the George Hotel restaurant for 6 months prior to college to save money for room & board so that we could focus on paying only his tuition. We found out that he earned the highest marks of his class in his first semester examinations. His teacher is already talking about sending him to Durban to apprentice in some major South African automotive shops (he studies automotive engineering). I was bursting with pride for this hardworking boy!
Tomorrow is another long day – Malindza Village/New Hope School day. For those of you who have been with me here, you know what that means! I am going to try to upload this blog even though the internet is shoddy during thunder storms. If you are reading this, I was of course successful and I am now likely to be sleeping soundly to the rain and pitter patter of lizard feet scurrying on our tin roof.