Thursday, November 7, 2013

Swaziland Day 7 - Where It All Began

7 years ago, Rick stepped foot on the grounds of Bhalekane Carepoint.  At the time it was called Bhekilanga because the women would cook and the children would gather just up the hill at the Bhekilanga Community Center. The land that I am about to show you only had one house and a frame for a building on it.  
7 years later, it looks like this:
 Over the years, buildings have been added.  Some that we have had the opportunity to build(kitchen, preschool, former playground, etc.)  There are now over 12 buildings including a primary school on the grounds.  It is a beehive of activity on a daily basis!!
They are even piloting a greenhouse project to see about growing some of their own foods at the carepoint will work out.
It is so exciting to see all that God has done!
We had the wonderful privilege of spending our last full day at the carepoint with the children and gogos we have been getting to know over the last 7 years.  It was beautiful to see how much they have grown and to even be able to speak to children who once did not know English.  It has been over 2 years since we have been able to visit with these children.

This is the preschool building that we built in memory of David Hames on our last trip.  There are currently 60 children that are about to graduate.  Girly, their fearless leader, has taught them well.  
Our day started hearing them share all that they have learned.  They shared their academic knowledge(months, days, ABCs, numbers, etc.)
and their spiritual knowledge(The LORD's Prayer, Ten Commandments, songs, etc.)
I love how fervently the little on in the red hoodie on the front row is praying!
I fell in love with this little guy.  He reminds me a lot of my Isaiah!
Precious little lives!
We also got to see them perform their traditional Swazi dances.
The cultural center doesn't have anything on these kids!
The girls went first
They performed well for us!!
The carepoint even has a new playground!!
The outside of the preschool building we built on our last trip.
We were excited to give the kids a special day.  We were able to distribute a cabbage to each kid from the gardens that we saw earlier in the week.
Unloading them from the truck was quite the process

Then, the preschool boys performed.  The drums kept them on track
I am sharing these next series of photos to show you their dance routine step by step
You have to look at the expressions on their faces

Rick watched from outside
I cannot get over the beauty in the faces of these children.  No blog post from the carepoint would be complete without some great kid photos

When the big kids got out of school, the big boys did their traditional dances

I love seeing the faces of these older kids
So many of them were so little when we started coming
We got to see Bongiwe, a young lady we have prayed for since the beginning!! 
She and Abby are the same age and in the same grade.
For the first time she could speak English really well and communicate directly with us
Sdumo, another friend from previous trips
We had the privilege of fitting each child (200 of them) with new shoes.  I just love getting to do that.  We also fed each of them a meal of chicken dust which is a real treat.  It is chicken that is grilled on the side of the road.  The meal includes chicken, pap, and a salad.  
The kids are waiting to come in and get their new shoes
Jan Jones, I knew you would be thrilled to see this picture of the twins.  They are young women now. They smiled the minute they saw us.  
How do I express what it is like to be around these children after 7 years of knowing them?  It was truly a full circle moment in this journey of Swaziland.  God has done so many amazing things.  We are grateful that He would allow us to be a part of it!!

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