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Saturday, May 31, 2014

6 new babies have arrived in 18 days? What the heck?

Roy arrived May 30th, 2014
  Ian loves spreadsheets, and he uses them like a Surgeon uses an instrument – precisely, efficiently and effectively.  As we were working on writing a plan to present to our Board of Directors on how we can become self-sustainable (meaning no donor funding required to run Project Canaan, the children’s home etc) we had to calculate how many children we would have by the year 2020.

Up until this month we would tell you that we receive a new baby on an average of every 14.3 days so by 2020 we predicted that we will have 216  children living at Project Canaan. 

In the past 18 days we have received six new babies.  I don’t know why this wave has happened, but I can tell you that there were three more who we were contacted about, who never ended up coming to us (one was taken by the family, one disappeared and one is still being held hostage in an abusive situation with neighbors).  With these new babies we now average a baby every 13.9 days and predict that we will have 232 children at Project Canaan by 2020 if something doesn’t change.

Noah arrived May 28th, 2014
Yesterday I spent an hour, with a Social Welfare officer, two police officers and a court order to remove the child (this is corporately our seventh trip to help this child), but alas, the old lady caring for him scared everyone with threats of witchcraft and curses and we left empty handed.  Minutes later I was called to drive to the other side of the country to get a baby boy and off I went with my dear friend Janice Johnson in the car.

When we arrived at the Social Welfare office we were told that the new baby was born on March 10th and that 23 days later (!!!) the mother dropped him in a pit latrine (outdoor toilet) and left him there overnight, until a neighbor heard his cry and pulled him out.  She is in prison.  There is MASS confusion over paternity so it took six weeks to get a court order to remove the child from the hospital and place him with us while the investigation continues around the terrible situation.

While all of our babies maintain their Swazi names (if they have them), we typically give them a Christian name or name them after someone who was involved with the child at the time of his/her arrival (i.e. Baby Jerry being named after Jerry Coffee).  So this little one is named Roy, after Janice Johnson’s husband (and father to Jessica).  I have no words to properly thank Janice for all she had done in support of Heart for Africa, the Maxwell family and me personally over the years.  Her love, her 8 trips with us and and her wise council has been oxygen to my soul.  It’s hard to properly thank people like Janice, so this is a small way to honor her and her family.

Can't disclose name yet, arrived May 26th, 2014
Back to the babies.

Of the six, here is what happened:

-       one left at a bus stop in Matsapha
-       two found in pit latrines
-       one living on the street
-       two rape cases

Eunice arrived May 21st, 2014
I cannot explain how bittersweet those “do you have room for another baby?” phone calls are.  The “pick ups” are even more bittersweet because I have great joy to be welcoming a little life in to our growing family, but bitter because of the tragic situations that they have come from.

The cost of raising these children is significant as you can imagine. It is estimated that to raise a baby in the US it costs $650 per month, not including childcare or a house to live in, just diapers, formula, clothes, medical expenses etc.  Up until recently we would tell you that it costs us $285 per child per month to raise these precious ones.  This includes Aunties/caregivers, cooks, cleaners/laundry, diapers, formula, clothes, medical expenses, transportation and all other special care needed for many of these children.
Phoebe arrived May 15th, 2014
But today I have some GREAT NEWS!  Our monthly cost has been reduced to $225 per child per month!  Why? Because our awesome team is working on reducing the costs by producing all the milk, yoghurt and cheese that the children eat through the dairy cows on the farm.  They are also actively seeking more cost effective purchasing solutions for large quantity items such as diapers, formula and baby wipes and they are buying fresh fruit and vegetables more frequently and cooking “fresh”, rather than relying on packaged product and/or heavy carb loading.  We are so thankful for our volunteers who have worked diligently to help us reduce our monthly costs on this side, but what we cannot reduce the number of Caregivers that we have as our children are our greatest treasure.

We need help with monthly funding for these six new children, and we need a total of $1,350 per month.  Some people give $100/ month, some give $25/month, some people chose a child they are connected to and provide the total monthly funding for that child. 

Naomi arrived May 12th, 2014.
I am asking today for you to seriously consider sponsoring the children at Project Canaan.   An average of 400 people read this blog every week.  If each of you gave something it would be a long long time until I have to ask you for money again. I would love that (and I am sure you would too).

Live from Swaziland … we have 59 children!  Thanks for your help.

Janine

PS  - as a point of interest, we have 33 boys and 26 girls. 

US Monthly support: http://www.heartforafrica.org/trips/DT15Jan10Jan20.aspx

Canada Monthly support: http://www.heartforafrica.ca/Project%20Canaan%20Children.aspx

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