Today was quite a busy day. I just want to give a little summary of what we did. Partly to let you all know and keep you updated, and partly for Tyler and I’s memories.
Last night the power went out after we were had gotten in bed. We had left the Christmas lights on in the living room because, “they are LED so they don’t take any power” one of us said. Plus, we want all our neighbors to know we are ready for Christmas. The first setting of the Christmas lights on the tree has them flashing and blinking fast. After you click the button a few times, the lights are on the setting where they just stay on like a normal. So, when the power went out last night, it was really dark. Then, just as we were falling asleep, the power came back on and the lights had reset. Tyler was hilarious! We could see the strobe blinking from the other room. He made his way to the living room and said he was going to have a seizure because of the lights flashing so much! I was in bed cracking up at him!
This is Africa, power goes off, power goes on. No reason or explanation.
Thankfully, this time it gave us something to laugh about.
So we woke up early to greet MeMaTabiso at out house at 8:00. She is from a nearby village and helps us clean our house and the guest house Reclaimed uses. Side note, I was weary of this at first. I felt bad asking someone to clean my house, mop my floor, and wash my dishes. It wasn’t until her son walked to our house and told us they had no food and was asking for his mother if she could work for us that I gave in. Today was the second time she came, and let me tell you, it is quite the blessing for both of us. We are able to go about our day and not think about the dishes, the dirty floor, or the pile of stinky clothes. And, she is able to have a job making money so she can feed her three children. She told us today that her youngest daughter graduated from kindergarten yesterday! She was so happy to share with us that she was able to buy everything she needed for school and even was able to take pictures of her daughter at the graduation. It is really neat to be able to see how we are helping each other in this relationship.
After we got MeMaTabiso started at our house, we headed to see the BoMme (means women) working with Love Poppy (jewelry company Reclaimed has partnered with). Because they are not making jewelry right now, Reclaimed has ordered 200 star ornaments to be made for the Christmas season. We went by to check on them and see how they were doing. As always, they were doing hantle (“Han-Cle”, means good).
By this time, it is 9:45 and we are heading to take chicken feed to Khokhoba Care Center. We dropped it off and talked with Ntate Molapo (pastor) for a few minutes before heading to the food delivery.
Around 10:00, Teresa, MeThato, Anna, Bekah, our little friend who we will tell about soon, and us used our muscles to carry 120 12.5kg (about 25lbs each) bags of mealie, 45 bottles of oil, 45 bags of beans, and 45 bags of peanuts for todays village. We have a nice little system now with an assembly line and everything. “Many hands make light work” I like to tell myself. By 11:00 we are driving to the village to drop off the food.
After this, around 12:15 we visited Katse High School. Tyler and I had never been there and needed to meet the principal before we enroll 4 new students in January (if they all pass). We received lots of good information about how to best get these kids into their school. We are a little overwhelmed with the task, but are confident we can get it done. They were very supportive of what we do and want to help the children get an education as much as we do. That was really encouraging for Tyler and I to see.
Next we went to the lodge. We got word this week we will be hosting a team of 40-50 people from Mississippi over Spring Break. Therefore, we are already starting to plan this week for them. We met the woman at the lodge who is in charge of reservations and told her the dates and how many rooms we need to reserve. She seemed confident they could help us house them.
Thankfully, it was lunch time. My favorite time of day! We grabbed something to eat and took a few minutes to sit down and process all that had happened already in the day.
It was about 2:00 now and time to head to Khokhoba Care Center. Woohoo, my real favorite part of the day! We drove up and a few kids were sitting in chairs outside. I was worried they were in trouble or something. As soon as I got out of the car, I heard, “1, 2, 3”, and so on. A few weeks back we taught them four corners (except we played outside using chairs, so we call it four chairs). They were playing it again and having too much fun. Tyler took the BoAbouti (Bo-A-Booty, means boys) to put all the chicken outside and then joined in the game.
When MeMookho (one of the BoMme who works at the Care Center and also knows English very well) arrived from her Love Poppy work (she manages the Love Poppy BoMme too), we asked her to come with us to a new store. For the Weekend Food Packs, we usually go to Lucky 7. We had heard some news that this little shop (they call it a tuck shop) may have everything we need at a much better price. We took a list of what we need and how many. 31 bags of mealie, beans, rice, milk, soyamince, and 36 packs of cookies. The prices here were better than at Lucky 7! We will be using this tuck shop from now on and will save M500 every week! This will allow us to keep the Weekend Food Packs going for longer! We still thank Hamlin Baptist Church for their donation for this project.
And instead of a very bumpy drive up the mountain to Lucky 7, this tuck shop is only a short walk from the church. We headed back to the Center to play more four chairs. When it was time for centers, I was so proud of the BoMme. They each knew right what to do and got to work getting the kids settled immediately. I was so happy! Many times, it takes a few minutes for it to get started. Not today, they jumped right to it. Tyler sat in with the math center and quizzed the kids in mental math (multiplication facts), and I sat on the floor next to our three kids who are working on writing their letters and numbers. They are trying so hard to get that darn pencil to make that silly shape. They are showing tons of improvement though. So proud of all the banna (means children) for how hard they worked today.
Just when we thought it was over, the BoMme are talking in Sesotho to the banna and they all get up and stand in line. MeMookho finally informs us they are working on a “sketch” (a skit) for the Christmas party! Shhh, she says it is a secret and wants to surprise the banna from Khohlo-Ntso Care Center. How cute! The boy that is Jesus wasn’t there so Tyler was his stand in. It was so funny because another boy, Poloko is the donkey Jesus rides in on. So Tyler had to “ride” on Poloko’s back! We were all cracking up! Thankfully for Poloko’s sake, in walks Tswanello, the boy who is playing Jesus. It was almost as if Twanello was just waiting for Tyler to get on top of Poloko before he showed up. It was perfect timing.
The story they are sharing is from Matthew 21. It is the story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. The kids loved acting out their parts, and “the crowd” was especially excited to throw down their trash bags and cardboard, which they used in place of the cloaks and palm branches.
After their rehearsal, Tyler shared with the kids about the story they are acting out and what it means. The kids were very receptive and listened great. They loved that Jesus rode a donkey, and they ride donkeys all the time. Tyler taught that everyone was expecting Jesus come as a rich, important king, but instead he came as a humble servant. Jesus’ humility by riding a donkey instead of in an elaborate coach with beautiful horses shows us that he was not concerned by earthly treasures or kingdoms, but instead he cares for the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s great to see the kids faces when they begin to understand these big concepts about their Savior.
After a long day, it is finally time to go home. We rush to get clothes off the line before the rain comes. And what do you know, there is quite the smell in our back yard. Oh my goodness. I look around to see if I can figure out what it’s coming from, and come to find out our neighbors have a large carcass drying out in their back yard. That smell is one I would love to forget. But don’t worry, when in Africa, your newly washed and dried clothes now reek of the same smell. No more nice detergent. Guess I know what I am doing first thing tomorrow morning: re-washing the clothes.
What a day. It was great, and busy, and unforgettable.
And now the powers out again…
Tyler and Rachel