Last week I spent the a few nights staying with an orphan headed household. I can’t give their names, but let’s call them S and A. S has a 4 year old daughter, L, who is stocked full of vibrant giggles! L is 20, raising her 4 year old daughter, going to school, and raising her younger brother. Things I have not much of a grasp on. Admittedly I wasn’t sure what to expect. So I decided a good start would be to have a heart willing to learn from the differences and embrace the moment. Strangely enough, I was blinded sided by the similarities, not of our social status but by our hearts. Granted I have no idea what it means to grow up without parents, nor to raise a younger sibling and a daughter, provide for them, or get them to school on time. I was rather struck by the common bond of relationship. More than anything, my new friends just wanted to be understood and have a sense of belonging…not so different from myself or perhaps even you. More than wanting to be “helped”, S and A wanted to be understood, to know someone was in their corner. I guess I’m that person now.
As I walked thru the community, I could feel the stares. Particularly because I was one of the few “whites” who had ever really stayed in the community. There wasn’t an American for miles around…literally. Word travelled fast thru the neighbourhood. Plenty of people stopped in to say hi. Which is great, until you try to remember everyone names…slightly embarrassing. My “fish-out-of-water” syndrome was most evident when I went to fetch water at the bottom of the hill. We loaded up the wheelbarrow and headed down the hill. When we got to the well, I could feel the eyes of all the people around bearing down on me. In South Africa, it’s completely strange to see “whites” carry water, much less a foreigner such as myself. Next came the trip to the house, complete with a wheelbarrow full of water jugs - slightly more difficult, to say it politely. But this is a near daily routine for S and A.
To be quite frank with you, S and A are my hero’s. They are examples for this community and the hope that is coming here. At the same time the reflection of the crisis at hand. It is devastating and full of hope all at the same time. I find myself scratching my head at the things I see and the stories I hear.
On Another Note:
In one of my previous blog’s about a grant proposal to USAID and the twenty-four hours we had to turn it in. Well, my nerdy-ness paid off and with a “little” help from the Lord. We got the grant! This was so crucial and now starting in October the funds will be released to us: so that we can continue to feed and resource the 9000 orphans in Masoyi! This is a big deal! It’s somewhere in the neighbourhood of a million USD! This is huge! Thank you for praying. It really means more than you know.