I was keeping this trip to eSwatini a secret because some of our Swazi kids have FB and I didn’t want them telling Mazwi I was coming for his surprise birthday party. But now that the party is over, I can tell you what I’ve been up to so far!
1. Mazwi’s birthday! His actual birthday isn’t until the 26th, but I wanted to throw it early to add more surprise. He had 40 family and friends there to celebrate. Bongani helped a couple of my friends cook the meat (TONS of it – pork, brats, and chicken) and there was a big cake and lots of music! My favorite part of the day was when Mphilo (his sister) would only give out candy to those who were dancing in order to liven the party up. Mazwi made me giggle because he conned a 5 year old into dancing and made him bring back the candy! Ha! Everyone left with full bellies and big smiles. Happy 16th to the beautiful young man who holds my heart.
2. Delivered aid! I drove all over Malindza Village with our partner Nomfundo to deliver school shoes, solar kits (solar lights with a Bluetooth enabled speaker and a USB port to charge a phone), and emergency food aid to all 19 of our sponsored high school children there.
3. Building chicken coops and rain catchment systems at child-headed homes! One major problem in Malindza is the lack of water. There aren’t streams or ponds like near eLangeni. Our solution is to harvest the rainwater by affixing gutters to their homes which drain into a very large tank. The children also have no one to take care of them and no money to buy things they need. So, we have been providing them with a chicken coop in order to raise hens and sell the eggs. All of the materials for these 5 projects (2 coops and 3 rain catchments) will be delivered tomorrow and building will start immediately after.
4. House building! One of our boys was out of school for many years after his mother died. When he started school again with your scholarship, his uneducated uncles became jealous and kicked him out of their home. Luckily, his grandfather gave him a piece of his land so we’re able to build him his very own house registered to his name that no one will be able to kick him out of! He’s in form 3 (Sophomore year), loves volleyball (he even volunteers teaching young kids how to play at the neighborhood carepoint) and is excited to have his own place equipped with a rain catchment system and a chicken coop! Can’t wait to watch him continue to thrive without the family challenges & homelessness he was facing previously… Go Mthokozisi, go!
Kait arrives in the country tomorrow! Can’t wait to pick her up from the shuttle station. Until then, I have a couple of requests.
WE NEED WATCHES: our high school children like to have watches to time themselves during their national exams. Any kind and any colors, they just need to keep time. Lots of the kids are requesting analog, but I am sure digital would be fine too.
WE NEED COMPUTER MICE: We have 10 laptops to start a computer lab at Phonjwane Primary school. But they have a “pointing stick” to use as a mouse and those are very challenging for small children to operate. We’d love to offer them external computer mice instead. Any kind will be great!
The things above can be mailed to 9 West Hazel Dell Lane Springfield IL 62703. Or if you’d like to send money to buy these items locally in eSwatini, you can donate online (www.ifightpoverty.org/donate.html) or mail a check made out to GHFP to the address above. We will send you an IRS receipt for your taxes.
Siyabonga kakhulu THANK YOU SO MUCH for helping us help the kids!