Saturday, November 14, 2015
A rapist was caught this week and then terrible tragedy struck.
This week was hard. No, this week was the hardest week we have had since we moved here.
Monday was a big day. I was driving to town and randomly picked up a woman who was looking for a ride. She asked that I drop her off at a bus stop that was 10 miles from Project Canaan. As we pulled up to the stop she asked me to keep driving. As I continued on she quickly explained that the man who was standing in the bus stop had raped her that very morning. She was on her way to report it to the police.
I pulled the car over and stopped to call a Police Officer who works at our local station. I explained the situation to her and asked if they could quickly send a car to pick up the man. She explained that there were no police cars at the station at that moment, so I told her I was on my way to the station and would be there in less than five minutes.
When I pulled up to the police station the lady ran inside and two officers jumped in the back of my truck while loading their handguns and semi-automatic weapons. Before their doors were closed I was peeling out of the police station and flying down the two-mile long dirt road to where the rapist had been last seen. When we got to the bus stop, he was still there! The police jumped out, arrested him, put him in the backseat of my truck and we drove back to the police station.
We have since learned that he is a serial rapist and had violently raped women all over Swaziland and robbed them when he was finished. Only God knows why, but when he got to the police station he confessed to raping the woman whom I had picked up and then went on to tell them of many more whom he had raped and robbed. He will be in prison for a long time.
Then tragedy struck.
Wednesday Ian arrived home from the US and it was so great to have him back. Only a couple of hours after his return I got a frantic call from Helen saying, “Mom, there was an accident with our transport truck. One of our Aunties is dead. Go quickly to the front gate please!” Ian jumped in his truck and quickly picked up Kenny (our EMT), and I jumped on an ATV and flew down the mountain to the front gate. Once we got there we were told that the accident was a few miles down the road and so we headed to Gebeni.
We arrived at the scene to find that the truck was not able to make it up a steep part of a hill and when the driver tried to put it in first gear the truck started to slide backwards. The people on the truck started to panic and one of our Aunties/Caregivers pushed her way from the front of the truck to the back and jumped off. People were telling her not to jump and even tried to grab her and keep her on the truck, but for some reason she broke through and jumped, landing on her face. The truck was already sliding backwards in the newly graded loose gravel and ran over her, killing her instantly.
The next four hours were awful as we transported three people to the hospital (two requiring CPR en route – SO thankful that Ken and Anthony were there). The police eventually arrived and paramedics came after we had taken three vehicles to the hospital. By 10:30PM the last of the people had left and Denis and his team started to repair the five (brand new) tires that had gone flat because the truck ran over a thorn bush when it slid in to the shoulder of the road. I headed home on my ATV and had heartbreaking responsibility of stopping at the Children’s Campus to tell all of our Aunties and Uncles about the terrible news. Ian and Ken arrived home shortly thereafter from the hospital. All three patients were discharged that night and Anthony took them home in the early morning hours.
The next two days were filled with conversations with witnesses, police, lawyers, government agencies and, of course, a visit to the family to share our deepest condolences. As we were leaving the homestead of the Auntie who had died, the woman who had been raped on Monday was standing in front of me. She was the Aunt to the deceased girl. We hugged, and one of the family members pulled me aside and told me that Monday was actually the second time the woman had been raped. The first time it happened it was in front of her four children.
The tears, the shock and the disbelief have not yet ended as we work through the realities of a senseless loss, but also as we see the miraculous mosaic of God’s timing and His handiwork.
On Friday the driver of the truck was released from jail and we picked him up and brought him back to Project Canaan. When we got to our house we discovered that a large fire had been deliberately started near our home and was burning out of control. The winds were picking up quickly and suddenly furniture was blowing off our patio and trees branches were breaking. The fire spread rapidly and was heading across the mountains and down to the farm.
Suddenly (I mean within minutes of the wind picking up) the clouds opened up and the rain started to pour – the first rain we have had in many months of extreme drought. Then the hail started to fall and an epic hailstorm ensued, and after a massive 20-minute storm, the fires were out and only the smoke on the mountain remained.
In addition to all of this, our baby Princess had to be rushed to the emergency room on Wednesday and Sipho was in respiratory distress and was rushed to the hospital on Thursday. On Friday Baby River had his final colostomy reversal and Isaiah had surgery on a hernia. Both surgeries were successful and we hope to have all four babies out of the hospital early next week.
I saw the hand of God over and over again this week. He is our strength and He is our shield. I give thanks for the rain, I give thanks for His mercy and I give thanks that Ian was home this week. Please pray for us all and for the family of our beloved sister and daughter. She leaves behind a husband and 5-year old son.
We hope to have a very quiet and peaceful weekend.
Live from Swaziland … I am tired.