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Saturday, April 30, 2016

When you find out it happened to one of your own


I didn’t expect it. 

I know that children of all ages are raped in Swaziland (and many other countries) every day, and in fact fact, I would suggest that it is an epidemic here.  I also know that there is a myth in many sub-Saharan African countries that if you have sex with a virgin, you will be cured of HIV/AIDS.  It is well documented that dozens (if not more) babies are raped every day in South Africa with the hopes of the man being cured of HIV/AIDS. 

But, because so many of our children come to us as newborns (50%) and because our general policy is to only accept children under the age of 12-months, I didn’t expect to have a child who had been sexually assaulted.  I guess one never “expects” such things.

On Wednesday morning I was handed a Doctors report about one of our little girls.  This child was one of our “exception to the rules” and she came to us just after her 2nd birthday.  She had multiple fractures in her arms and two serious breaks in her leg. But it wasn’t until we received the final Doctors report this week that we learned the rest of her truth. She has been sexually assaulted and the scaring is what told the story.  May I repeat that she is only 2-years-old.

Of course I will not be posting a name or a photo of this child.  She will remain faceless to you, but she will no longer remain voiceless.  I contacted the Social Welfare Officer to report the new information and have committed whatever resources are needed to find out who the evil perpetrator is and have them put in prison.  Quickly.

She is our daughter now, ALL of ours, and we will seek and find justice for her.

Meanwhile, we pray that her heart, her body and her mind will heal in this place of safety and that she will quickly come to know her heavenly Father who loves her unconditionally and who will never hurt her. 

Please pray for all the other voiceless children around the world who are suffering today. May El Roi, the God who sees, comfort them in their times of need.

Live from Swaziland … let us cry together on this one.

Janine

PS – We believe it is her biological Grandfather who is the abuser.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

What to say when there is nothing to say?


This week I don’t really have anything to tell you.  Ian and I went away last weekend for much needed rest by the Indian Ocean and just ate and slept for a few days.  It was just what the Doctor ordered and we are back refreshed and ready for what comes next.

When we got back we celebrated Naomi’s 2nd birthday. I just LOVE how each child gets their own birthday cake and each cake is cuter than the one before.  The Aunties take very special care to make sure that everyone knows whose birthday it is that day, all day, and you can hear “Happy birthday to you” sung on and off throughout the day if you are close by.  They also put so much love in to dressing up each birthday child complete with a special hair-do, special clothes and of course the perfect shoes.  It’s all done with such love, it can bring you to tears.


As I sit and overlook the farm, with nothing growing right now because of the drought, I still give thanks for the land that He has provided and all the people He has sent to make Project Canaan a place of hope.

We have 117 children who now call Project Canaan home.  When I sit quietly to think about that, and pray for them, I am simply overwhelmed by the craziness of what we are doing.  Ian and I often look at each other and just shake our heads and say, “This is nuts!”  But that feeling of inadequacy and the size of the responsibility always serve to remind us that this assignment is not possible with out our heavenly Father.  We could not do what we do without His hand of protection, guidance and provision each and every day.

Last night Ian said to me, “I feel such joy these days. I don’t know what it is, I just feel joy, like I have never felt before.” 

Friends, total surrender and all that it entails, is worth it to hear your husband say those words.

Live from Swaziland … I am thankful

Janine

Don't forget we are still collecting diapers for our children!

In the US our baby registry is at Amazon.com

In Canada our baby registry is at Amazon.ca

Saturday, April 16, 2016

What is going on??


This past week we received five new children.  FIVE! 

#1 Surprise -  8-month-old baby girl whose mother dropped her at a court and ran away. She is a tiny little girl who only weighs 12 pounds, but has the smile that lights up a room.

#2 and #3 Mona Lisa and Phayo – two sisters whose mother has Multiple Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis and must go to the National TB hospital for a minimum of 8-months for treatment. We pray that she lives. Both girls weigh the same, even though they are one year apart in age. The older girl is severely malnourished, and arrived with a broken ankle.

#4 Jabez – a 4.5 month old child who weighs only 5.5 pounds (!) and hasn’t had any milk or formula since birth – only thin porridge fed to her by spoon by an old Granny whom he was dumped with after birth.

#5 Regina (Gina) – a ?? month-old baby (maybe 2 or 3 months, but we don’t know) who was abandoned at a hair salon after the mother got her hair braided. (!)

What is going on?

We now have 117 babies who live at Project Canaan and will be there until they finish High School.  We have funding for 95 of these children and pray that the Lord will provide monthly donors to help us give the physical, emotional and spiritual care that each of these children require.

Our Amazon diaper drive is one way that you can help us provide for these new babies, without signing up to give on a monthly basis. One box of diapers and wipes (or 10!) will help us immeasurably.

To date we have received 61,373 diapers through our Baby Registry at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca alone.  That will last us approximately 123 days as we change 500 diapers every day (before these 5 arrived).  Thank you to the 162 people who have shopped already.

Would you consider forwarding this email to everyone you know? Would you consider challenging your friends, family, work colleagues and neighbors to help us fill the 40ft container that UPS has donated?  It will leave Georgia in June and we want to fill every last spot available with diapers and wipes. 

Thank you for your support.



Live from South Africa … we are tired and are taking a few days off to rest.

Janine

Saturday, April 9, 2016

500 diapers every day and a “Surprise”!

If you want to do a diaper drive in your school, church or community, please contact us at info@heartforafrica.org
 
Each and every day we change an average of 500 diapers.  To answer a popular question - yes we use disposables.  Why? For several reasons: water is very precious here (even when we are not in the worst drought in recorded history) and clothes are not washed with hot water, so with the various skin conditions and illnesses we deal with means that disposable diapers are our best option.

But, disposable diapers (and wipes) are very expensive.  Think about it.  We use 182,500 diapers a year. That’s a lot of … diapers. 

Thanks to our friends at UPS we have a 40 ft shipping container coming to Swaziland from Georgia in June.  We will be shipping lots of things needed for various departments on Project Canaan, but we want to stuff every nook and cranny available with diapers and wipes. 

We have two baby registry’s set up on Amazon – one for US purchases and one for Canadian purchases and today I am asking if you would go shopping on Amazon to buy diapers, wipes or other items that we need for our babies.  It’s an easy way to get involved and if every person who reads my blog every week would shop today, we would fill that container!



Now for the “Surprise”.  We received a new baby yesterday and her name is Surprise!  Her mother left the baby at the Magistrate’s court and ran away.  Hopelessness causes people to do crazy things, and we see “crazy” a lot here.  She is a very happy 7-month-old child, who sadly is HIV positive. 


We have 113 children living at Project Canaan now and we are getting two more little girls (sisters) on Monday.  By Monday we will have received 9 new babies so far this year and we need monthly funding for all of them, but by having people from all over the world purchase diapers, we can help offset the monthly funds that we are lacking.  Every little bit helps, and literally every diapers helps us a lot.

Would you help us today? It will only take a few minutes and it would mean a lot to me personally. 

Live from Swaziland … praying for diapers and wipes (never thought I would be praying for that!).

Janine

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Farm closed, let the beading begin.


Writing a blog every week has its challenges.  Sometimes I just want to write and tell you all the sad things that happened that week, mostly because misery loves company. But then I know that I would lose some of my readership because the blog was just too darn sad all the time.  Another reason to not do that is because there are so many good news stories to share as well.

Two weeks ago we had to close our vegetable farming due to lack of water.  It was a heartbreaking and discouraging week and we had to retrench a lot of people.  But some had the opportunity to go and interview or “try out” at the Khutsala Artisan building.  Today I have good news to report.

Khutsala is a siSwati word for “hard working” and it is a very inspirational word.   We started this jewelry making business at the end in 2013 and it grew rapidly, largely due to an amazing team of young Swazi’s and people like you who bought our goods.

As of last week, Khutsala employs 127 people who are mainly focused on our Beadcraft.  We are making, and plan to sell 40,000 Christmas tree ornaments this year (up from 13,000 in 2015!) and we recently designed and produced three different garden/plant decorations that are in the US available on our website as of Friday.  A perfect Mother’s Day gift, and 100% of all the profit goes directly back to buying diapers and formula for our 112 babies!  https://squareup.com/store/heart-for-africa.


Everyone who buys our Beadcraft says that it is the best that they have seen. We pay very close attention to the beads themselves, the wire wrapping must be tight and the frame has to be exact. 



For every artisan that we hire, they are providing for an average of 13 people back at home. 

Here is a brief story, written by a young man who works on new designs and trains others to make 3D animals.  I am sure you will be inspired by his story. 

“My name is Sibongaliphi Manana. I am a guy aged 26-years.  I was born 22 September 1989.


I live at Gebeni Community, which is an hour drive from Project Canaan.  I attended my primary school at a nearby school, Gebeni Primary School.  This is where my parents decided that I stop schooling in Grade 5 due to lack of support for my school fees.

I come from a family of 7 children (5 boys and 2 girls) and I am the fourth born.  Both my parents were unemployed, they were only making traditional sandals, which didn’t have a good market.

As I was staying home I started helping my father and when designing the sandals and that is where I got skilled.  Without realizing I was talented, life was hard at home and so I decided to look for a job on the farm at Project Canaan.  Luckily I was employed in July 2013.

I started working on the farm, then later with God’s help, I heard they wanted to start a handcraft center called Khutsala Artisans.  Knowing I was talented, I decided to apply for a job and move from the fields to join the Artisans.

From there I was able to help my family with food and paying for my little brothers school fees.  This is where I realized I belong to Khutsala Artisans because I was able to come up with new designs. 

This helped me a lot and I was able to build a house for my parents and get electricity.  Before this, we had no electricity at the house. I did not just stop there, I also took some of my salary and attended driving school, and now I have my driver’s license.

In conclusion, I give thanks to Project Canaan for the provision of a job, which helped my parents and myself achieve many things.”

I hope that you will support the Khutsala Artisans by shopping today at !  https://squareup.com/store/heart-for-africa.  And don't forget that 100% of the profit goes directly to buying diapers and formula for our 112 babies!
 
If you are interested in being a part of our Christmas ornament sales team, please contact Kim Evinsky at  kime@Heartforafrica.org.  

Live from Warsaw, Poland … enjoying the weekend before the International Egg Commission Conference.

Janine