This morning we hosted a free clinic (thank you Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach for the medical supplies including the blood pressure cuff and stethoscope that was so handy today! and Rotary club of Indianapolis for sponsoring all the prescription medication!) in eLangeni village. We started at 7am and the line didn’t cease until 4:10pm. Nurse Kandas didn’t take a break at all throughout the day and the stream of children and their caretakers didn’t break either. Our volunteers counted out dosages, disseminated donations (soap, reusable sanitary pads (Thanks Kristen and team!!), and underwear, and played with the kids waiting in line (Jose was a pro soccer player!!).
The underwear was a surprising smash hit. Originally, we were distributing the underwear, pads, soaps etc as the patients exited the clinic. After many hours, Nurse Kandas pointed out that he suspected many people were only in line for the free underwear and we should attend to them so the line disappears and he stops seeing “fake patients”. Sure enough, as soon as the underwear was finished, many of the ladies waiting in line went home. (Thanks again Kristen and team!!)
Another smash hit in the distribution were the hand-made bracelets from the residents at Monarch Landing retirement community! (Thanks Sherry and Kelly!!). We had to stop people from taking more than one because they were such a commodity. Even the men wanted the bracelets!!
After the clinic, we went hiking with our friend Sthembiso (Baby T) and this time Lungelo (our sponsored university student) came too. Our trips here in Swaziland are relentless. There’s a relentless need, a relentless time constraint, and a relentless worry that what we’re doing isn’t enough. Many many years ago, my friend Sifiso introduced me to a mountain top in Mbabane where the whole world seemed to stop. The anxiety and worry wash away. There’s somehow a pause button that is pressed. You can lay on a rock listening to the sound of the birds chirping above you and the cars buzzing far below you and just BE. Sifiso is no longer alive to hike with us, but the gift of serenity he left behind is something I cherish.
After hiking, we met some of our sponsored kids for dinner at Nando’s. I love watching the US college students mingle with the Swazi college students. Of course the daily lives here are much more challenging, but the similarities end up being more common than the differences. Music, likes/dislikes, and hopes for the future…We were too many for our rental car, so I drove a few kids home alone. While I was driving Sizo and Bongani home, I was treated to a duet-serenade. Sizo started “covering” the Christian song that goes “There’s power in the name of Jesus… break every chain….” And between the verses Bongani rapped about the importance to place your trust and life in God’s hands. If I didn’t have both hands on the wheel avoiding pot holes the size of the Grand Canyon while off-roading in the rural area, I would have tried to record the beauty. Far too beautiful for only my enjoyment. But it filled me up so much… Sizo talked tonight about how he didn’t meet Bongani until last year when I introduced them at a previous Nandos meal (we try to do this every trip with some of the 55 sponsored GHFP students). He mentioned that they are now great friends and collaborating on music endeavors. When I think back to 11 years ago – the initial paths being created – until now when they all keep weaving such a beautiful story, it can bring me to tears. I am eternally grateful for these children (and young men – Lungelo reminded me that he is no longer a child), and I’m as equally eternally grateful for their relationship with me as I am grateful for their relationship with each other. What an indestructible bond only a miracle can create…
Tomorrow is another construction day… just as my back was starting to heal haha. Finishing the toilets tomorrow! Goodnight from Swaziland!