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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Would you give this swing to your child?

 
Home made swing - complete with chain, wire and old notebook.  Photo credit: Chris Cheek


In the next few weeks we have a container being shipped from the US to Swaziland, thanks to our friends and partners at UPS.  It’s always great to be able to send equipment and items that are either unavailable or very expensive here, not to mention a few treats that we all miss from home.

On the “wish list” we asked for more swings so that we can have swings for the kids up at the Emseni Campus.  We have had a donation of $1,000 to buy swings so we were debating whether we should spend the whole amount on getting two really sturdy swings that will last forever, or get some small, cheaper ones that might not last as long, but we could have more of them. 

Then there is the question of wood, vs. plastic, vs metal?  Our team in the US diligently researched the options and sent links to me so that I could go and look at them for our ongoing discussion of which swings to by our big kids.

And then this happened.

On Tuesday, I had the privilege of going out to visit one of our neighbors with our volunteer team from North Point Community church. When we arrived at the homestead the first thing we saw was the skin of a cow draped over a tree branch, drying to be made in to rope to harness their oxen.  Below the drying skin was a long chain with an old notebook hanging on it.  I was asked what that was all about, but I had no idea.

Cow hide hanging by the swing.  Photo credit:  Chris Cheek
We went on to meet with a family that was made up of an old Grandfather and Grandmother living with 14 Grandchildren (age 2-18), all of them sleeping in one room (the family kitchen).  They had no food, no jobs and all were suffering from poverty.  We sat and talked with them, brought them clothing, shoes, a soccer ball and a box of Manna Pack (food).  We purchased all the mats that the Grandmother had made, we prayed with them and then we said our goodbyes.

Later that night Chris Cheek messaged me and said that she had shown the photo of the long chain and notebook to several of the Aunties and asked them what the strange object was for?  They all laughed and said, “Gogo, that’s a swing!”  All of them knew that if you didn’t have a fancy swing made of wood, plastic or metal, that you just take an old notebook and hang it over a chain, and voila!  A swing!

Old note book that serves as the seat on the swing.
I struggle with this.  I want to give our Swazi children the best of what we are able to give, but part of me knows that they are missing out on the small things in life, like making your own swing out of a notebook. Lots of people do it in North America with old tires for swings, and have had summers of fun swinging on them.

I am not convinced that a notebook on a chain would be “fun” (at least not for my backside!), but I know that the old Grandfather at that homestead was doing the best he could with what he has.  And the kids were thankful.

So I have an idea.  In 2016 I would like to have the Kufundza center start making good/sturdy wooden swings, complete with chain, that can be purchased by our volunteers/donors for us to take to our church communities and to our homestead visits.  It will be a small way we can bless each family (in addition to leaving clothing, shoes and food). 

In the meantime, if you would like to help us build our playground for the big kids at the Emseni Campus, please go to this link today and do a little shopping:


Everything purchased will be shipped in early June, arriving in Swaziland in July.

I feel like there were several lessons in this story for me personally.  I will be chewing on this in the days and weeks to come.  I hope you will be too.

Rose swinging at the Kindergarten. Photo credit: Ken VanWinkle
Caleb on the swings at Kindergarten.  Photo credit: Ken VanWinkle.
Live from Swaziland … giving thanks for everything He has given us.

Janine

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