We drove to the southern part of Swaziland late on Tuesday. We stayed on a property that had 6 beautiful guest houses. We had the best meals of the trip here. I’m glad we were there the longest. I keep thinking “oh this was the best part of the trip” or “that was definitely my favorite moment.” But, I have to say that our time at the school in Ndubazi was the best! We spent some time painting the school. It’s amazing how different it looked after only 3 days.
The best part about it though was the time spent with the kids. We held VBS for three days and Sarah and I were responsible for the recreation aspect. We took frisbees and soccer balls, but the kids just wanted to spend time with us. We took pictures of them and they all wanted to see their faces on the screen. With grades 1-4, we played chase for a while and they laughed and laughed and shrieked and screamed. It was joyous chaos. We thought that the older kids would want to be left alone to play with the equipment we brought. Wrong. We were thinking of American kids. These kids wanted our attention as well. A group of boys were playing the drums on a tin water pump and we danced in the yard with the kids. After they taught us some African moves, we taught them the Macarena. It was great!
The transformation I saw in one little boy in the three days we were there was astonishing. When we first arrived, he would walk by the kids playing and glance over at them. I walked over to him on the first day, with a frisbee in hand, and asked if he wanted to play. He walked away on his crutches and wouldn’t look at me. Anytime I would see him after that I would smile and wave, but he still didn’t reciprocate. On the final day, we held an assembly and sang the songs we taught. I looked far to the right, beyond the crowd of kids, and saw this little boy. He had a big smile on his face and was doing all of the motions with us. I almost started crying. I spent the rest of the song looking directly at him as if he was the only one there. To me, he was. I went over to him after we were done singing and asked if I could take his picture. As I said, these kids love to have their pictures taken so these other boys rushed over. But when I look at this picture, he is the only one I see. Look at that smile.
Before we returned home, we went to Kruger National Park and saw some amazing animals. We had giraffes, elephants, a hyena, and a lion walk right next to our vehicle. It was amazing. (animal pictures were taken by my fabulous roomie: Sarah Privott)
Coming back home has been so incredibly difficult. My heart is still in Swaziland. I feel that God is calling me to go back to Swaziland. I’m hoping it will work out for next March. Thank you for being so willing to support me on this trip. God did some amazing things in my life and continues to do so. It would not have been possible without you. It feels so good to be God’s hands and feet to the people of Swaziland.
I heard a new song on the radio a couple days ago and it completely encompasses how I feel about my time in Swaziland: "surely children weren't made for the streets. And fathers were not made to leave. Surely this isn't how it should be. I will live, to carry your compassion. To love a world that's broken. To be your hands and feet. I will give, with the life that I've been given. And go beyond religion, to see the world be changed by the power of your name."
I cannot say “thank you” enough for your prayers, but I will continue to try!
I need Africa more than Africa needs me, E