This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to stay with a family in a community called Houtbos out in Oshoek. There I was able to spend time and get to know them better as well as learning what there day to day lives look like. I stayed in this home with another member from my intake as well. We stayed in 'Naomi's home she was one of the care workers of that community, she has five children only four of which were living with her, also living there were her three young grandchildren. The oldest daughter is away at school so meanwhile Naomi is caring for her two young grandchildren, 'angel' and Siena'. Second oldest is her son 'Peter'. 'Peter' was such an amazing big brother to everyone who lived there, he is a great example of men breaking the stereotypes and being a part of the family. Next there was 'Tali' who also had a one month old baby boy 'Sylas'. Fourth oldest was 'Safiya' and lastly was 'Alice'.
The first day we arrived there we all sat in the kitchen area and got know each other better. For supper we had pap (is a traditional porridge/polenta made from mielie-meal (coarsely ground maize)), potatoes and rations. After we all finished dinner together we helped wash dishes and bath the babies. We sang some songs in Siswati and prayed together to finish off the night. All the girls slept in the same room as well as baby 'Sylas'. 'Tali' and 'Sylas' slept on a bed together and 'Naomi', 'angel','Siena', and 'Safiya' all slept on a bed together as well and Brooke and I slept on the concrete floor between the beds.
Saturday is the day where the kids help and get everything they need for the week, getting things like firewood, water, etc. When we woke up we had slices of bread for breakfast and then got down to work. 'Naomi','Safiya','Peter' and I went and walked out to the bush to go and collect wood. I got to carry the wood back to the house on my head, they were able to do it with no hands but I had to hold it 😊. After we got back from the bush we helped prepare lunch which we had rice, beans and cabbage. When we finished eating lunch we went down to the river and met up with some other kids and others from my intake who were also staying in the community in different houses. It was really good being able to see these kids forget all there problems back home and have fun and be kids for an hour.
When we got back to the house we started cooking dinner for the night, we had pap, eggs and cabbage. Then we went to the jojo where all the water is kept and filled up out buckets and jugs to bring back to the house. We sang songs together again and prayed for our day and went to bed.
We woke up and had breakfast at 8:00 am and left for church around 10:30. The church service lasted for 2 1/2 hours and afterwards we found out they cut it short for us. When we got back from church we started preparing lunch, we had rice, chicken and cabbage. When we were finished with lunch we went to visit a gogo's house in the community where some of the other intake members were staying at. There we were able to play some games with the children and have a good time. It then came up where we were talking about the crabs in the river and we told the kids that they could eat the crabs and they didn't believe us. So some of the kids went down to the river and collected some crabs and brought them back up to the house and we showed them how to cook them and that it was safe to do so. They didn't believe us so they made us eat them first to make sure we didn't die 😂. I think it's safe to say that for some of these kids it might have been there highlight of day/week or even year so far.
After we had the crab bake we went back home and we took some pictures with the family. One of my favourite moments about taking pictures with the kids is that when I asked if we could have a picture with just the family without me and brooke in it, 'Tali' replied by saying "but you are part of the family". This moment really touched my heart in that realizing that even though I felt like I hadn't made a big impact that the little things like cooking, cleaning and playing with the children really did change their lives and made a difference.
This weekend was truly an amazing weekend and have made another family all the way across the world.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be confronted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:3-6