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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Accident update and a week through the eyes of Ian’s parents (Jim & Diane Maxwell)

Thank you all for your prayers and words or encouragement sent to Jimmy and his family. We are thankful for the large Heart for Africa family around the world. John was able to fly home on Tuesday and learned just before his departure that the radiologist does not see a break in his wrist. He is home in Tennessee how and we are waiting for an update from him. Jimmy was discharged on Thursday and is now resting at the Klee’s house.  He has a cracked pelvis, two broken ribs, two sprained ankles, water on the knee and elbow and is pretty bruised.  We continue to give thanks that the injuries were not worse and will wish him well as he travels home on Tuesday to fully recover with his family.  Please pray for a safe and pain-free journey.

It has been so great to have Ian’s parents with us this week.  It is their first visit to see what we are doing here in Swaziland, and while they read this blog each week, it is different living the week than reading about it.  As we were sitting together enjoying the Winter Olympics I asked them what I should write this week’s blog about.  In their honor (honour as we spell it in Canada) I am sharing some of their observations from the past six days.

Two new babies in one week – we got baby Abraham on Monday and baby Gabriella (Gaby) on Friday. Both days when I got the call to pick up a baby, Diane was with me, so she got to participate in the conversations, paperwork and joy of bringing a little one home.  Abraham came to us as a malnourished baby whose mother died of Tuberculosis and he was left with little care from a drunkard Grandmother.  Gabriella was put in a plastic trash bag right after birth and left under a tree, only to be found by some children playing soccer.  She seems to be healthy and a full-term baby. She is being treated for HIV exposure.  We have now 52 babies at Project Canaan.


Gabriella (Gaby)
Sick baby in hospital – we stopped in to visit Futhi who has been in the hospital for the past two weeks with her sick baby.  I think Jim and Diane were most surprised by the fact that Futhi herself must stay at the hospital with the baby 24/7, sleep on the hard floor beside the baby’s crib and care for the baby herself. When I asked Futhi what I could bring her she said “soap” so she could wash her clothes and her baby’s clothes in the small sink in the ward.  The baby still has pneumonia and seems to be in decline.  We continue to pray for His perfect will to be done.

Prince Guduza and the police drop in to visit – we are thankful for our neighbors and for the Sidvokodvo police who we work with hand in hand against crime (and criminals) in the community.  Prince Guduza dropped in with his wife and girls to see us and the babies.  It is always nice to see them and great that Jim and Diane got a chance to meet this important man.

Prince Guduza stopped by to visit.
Gaining Swazi identity after 23 years – one of the challenges we face is not having birth certificates for most of our babies.  We are supposed to get them from the Social Welfare Department, but so far that has not been the case. I believe all of the Alternative Care Facilities in the country have the same trouble.  In two cases we have the mother of two of the babies at the El Roi Baby Home living and working on Project Canaan.  It should be easier to get birth certificates, because they are the biological parent and can go and apply for the birth certificates.  Through this process we learned that many of the Swazi’s that work at Project Canaan don’t have birth certificates either or even a Swazi ID number.  They don’t exist, as far as the government is concerned, and it is not a simple process to get a Swazi ID.  So this week one of the young women who lives at the Kibbutz was taken to Manzini twice and Mbabane once and after three trips, missing three days of work and having me sign a document as her “Foster parent” (to acknowledge that she exists) she finally got the ID application processed. Next Tuesday she will pick up her first official Swazi ID card and be counted in the national statistics.  On Tuesday, she will officially exist, but if not for the hard work and determination of one of our team members at Project Canaan, it would not have happened.  Next week she can start the process of getting birth certificates for the two children who are living with her, and the one who is living with us.

Phase 2 of Sicalo Lesisha Kibbutz
The massive scale of Project Canaan – it is always fun to give people a tour of Project Canaan.  Inevitably during each tour, eyes start to glaze over and people lose focus as they begin to get a glimpse of the enormity of the project.  Fortunately the Maxwell’s tour took place over several days since we didn’t have to rush to get them around the farm.  In the end they marveled at the number and magnitude of the activities being undertaken all designed to provide for the children’s long-term development.  They were particularly encouraged by the employment (217 in January) that has been created here and the impact that it has on the surrounding community.

We have had big rain storms, daily power outages, extreme humidity and baby chicks born so they have had an authentic taste of our life in Swaziland.

February 13th was the anniversary of my own father’s death. It’s a day that I never forget and while I miss my dad every day, I miss him most on that day.  I found myself teary that my mom and dad will never be able to see all that God has done here in Swaziland, but I give thanks that Ian’s parents (at the age of 77+) have come all the way from Canada to be a part of our lives for this week.

Live from Swaziland … Go team Canada!


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