Day 5: Happy Thanksgiving!
My husband and I just completed our licensing program to adopt children only 3 days before we left for Swaziland. We are doing so through the US system as international adoption is far too expensive for us… but when we’re here, Tyler always talks about how he wishes we could adopt Princess, Junior, and now Mpendulo. Mpendulo’s father, as I mentioned in the blog yesterday, is dying of AIDS and is now so sick that he has been bedridden for over a month (his mother died of the disease almost 6 years ago). I asked Mr. Maseko today what will happen to Mpendulo when his father dies since he has no older siblings or any relatives (they’ve all died of AIDS as well). Mr. Maseko replied that he simply will belong to the school. Our school. New Hope Primary School. No child should belong to a school – they should belong to a family! Today (and every day) I am thankful for my incredible family. And our amazing Give Hope, Fight Poverty family – without YOU, none of this would be possible!
This morning we delivered brand new school shoes (and socks!) to our 1st grade orphans living in child-headed homes. As we pulled up the children yelled “The WHITES…the WHITES”… not joking. Then the sound muffled to a hushed whisper as I opened our trunk. They never know what to expect about the contents. Then I hear them (still whispering) “shoes…shoes…school shoes!” We had them take off their ragged shoes – if they were wearing any at all – and try on their brand new pairs of school shoes. I was thrilled that we were given money to buy these. I understand that it is not a sustainable program. Of course the children will grow out of their shoes – but before then, they will fall apart because these children walk many miles a day in them through rough terrain to and from our school. Some of the children had taped their old shoes on while others went bare foot. The thorny bushes in this village are painful even when wearing shoes – I cannot imagine stepping on one without. The children will now be safe on their long journeys to school…to their future!!
After a long day (we’ve been averaging 11 hours of work), we arrived back at the guesthouse to our Thanksgiving dinner of cheese sandwiches and Simba potato chips (our daily diet – healthy, I know)…and I had a heavy heart. Kait and I do this entirely alone. As our program (thankfully) expands, so does our responsibility here in Swaziland. It is a never ending battle of fundraising … if we don’t raise the money; then children do not eat. If we don’t raise the money; then children will not go to school. Although many people think this “job” is glamorous, I guarantee you that the stress is enough to break even the strongest, and I am not… but then you get a message from one of your little ones and the motivation to keep pressing on is rejuvenated:
“Hi, with regards to your support ever since I started school to where I am today, I would like to extend my greatest thanks and gratitude to you and everyone who made it possible for me to be where I am today. My last but not least words are – please continue to do so, even for others. May God bless you in great abundance. I will never forget you my entire life, Njabuliso”.
Thank you mom for supporting his university tuition, thank you everyone in the past 7 years who have contributed to his previous schooling, and thank you to all of you today for your warm thoughts and prayers. We need a miracle to help the 120,000 orphans in Swaziland, and that miracle starts with you.