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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Celebrating life and identity

Many of you have heard me say that our children live in a children’s home, not an orphanage and that we are a large family.  One of the things that we work very hard on is helping each child find their own identity and we encourage their individualism.  One of the ways we do that is to celebrate each child’s birthday with a cake, a gift starting on their third birthday.  Our Aunties and Uncles dress each child in a very special outfit that has never been worn before, complete with shoes, and all the children celebrate that child for the whole day, announcing to EVERYONE whose birthday it is.   

We don’t give cake to all the kids on each birthday, but rather celebrate the day in the home where that child lives. On a child’s first birthday, there will be cake at the baby home.  When a child turns two, they will likely be at the toddler home. And then when they are three, they will either be at the toddler home or up at the Emseni Campus, depending on their development.  Once a child has moved to Emseni, they get the additional experience of choosing a “growth stick” where we measure them each and every year on their birthday.  This was something that my parents did at our cottage each year when my cousins were there in the summer, and it was a tradition that I wanted to continue.

Our children love to show visitors the stick with their name on it and how much they have grown from year to year. It’s a lot of fun, and helps create memories, and identity.

Today we will celebrate a very special birthday for the Patron of our children’s home – the Inkhosikati LaMbikiza (Inkhosikati means “Royal Highness”), and she is a favored wife to King Mswati III.  It was her desire to come and spend her birthday with our kids, and so plans were made, a bouncy castle was ordered and a cake is being iced as I type this blog.

Typically we have Kids Club on Saturday mornings, but not today. Today the children will prepare for the Royal visit by sweeping the stairs, washing the chairs, decorating the Oasis and blowing up balloons.  I LOVE that our staff are guiding our children to understand the importance of special visitors, preparing our home for special celebrations and celebrating life.

If you are reading this blog early, come back later today and I will post photos of the grand celebration. 

Live from Swaziland … we are celebrating life.


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