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Saturday, November 24, 2018

My heart ached

 
This week has been another action-packed week dealing with burned children (not ours), visitors, birthdays (including my own) and preparation for Christmas.

I have spent much of my week working on the details of the 8-year-old burned girl who I wrote about in an earlier blog https://janinemaxwell.blogspot.com/2018/09/5-day-old-baby-girl-burned-in-house-fire.html .  She was 5-days-old when the grass roof of her house was lit on fire and collapsed in on her tiny body, burning her face beyond recognition. And she lived.  I met her at the hospital this week so that I could meet with the doctor as he assessed her situation and prepared a report for the US hospital who will be offering her life-giving care. 

I knew her burns were severe, but I didn’t expect to see a chunk of her skull missing where I could see her brain throbbing each time her heart beat.  Her left eyelid has melted to her eyeball underneath, so when she moves her eye, her whole eye socket moves.  When asked, we learned that she has been in extreme pain every day of her life with a headache and face-ache that never went away, my heart ached.  WHY didn’t this child get care sooner? Why was she left in the rural bush to suffer with a Grandmother who had no way to soothe her pain? 

Soon she will get help. Soon she will get pain relief. Soon she will be loved and cared for as she begins the long road to healing her body, heart and mind. But until then, she suffers, and continues her fight for life.

We see the fight for life every day, and in doing so we are often reminded not to take life for granted.

This week one of our staff suddenly lost her brother-in-law. His arm swelled up, he started vomiting blood and a day later he was dead. Another staff had boiled water to bathe her two small children and was just about to add cold water to the wash bucket on the floor when her excited 2.5-year-old did a playful summersault in to the scalding water, burning her leg/thigh/buttock and side.  Accidents happen.  Pain and suffering are real, and until Christ’s return, we will live in a world of suffering.

I’ll never forget the day that we welcomed a little girl (nameless for this blog) who was 18-months-old, weighing 14 pounds.  Her femur had been broken when she was only 6-months-old, by her mentally disabled mother, and she also had a broken nose and fractured skull.  She fought to live, and this week we celebrated her 4th birthday.  She is full of joy, full of love and full of hope. 


As I watched our older children perform in the Project Canaan Academy 2018 Christmas Pageant, I couldn’t help but look back at each of their lives and where they came from to where they are now.  Each and every one of them are miracles, with the scars to prove it. We couldn’t be more proud of the young people that they are becoming and seeing them up on stage singing, dancing and reciting their lines brought tears to my eyes and joy to my soul.

Many people will spend this weekend with family and friends, celebrating Thanksgiving in the US.  I encourage you all to look at your lives (the good, the bad and the ugly) and give thanks for what you have been given – access to clean water, a roof that is not made of grass, walls that are not made of mud and sticks, access to healthcare when you need it.

Live from eSwatini … I am thankful for the gift of life.

Janine

PS - Don't forget to go to www.khutsala.com for Christmas shopping with a purpose!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Abortion. Suicide. Starvation. Disease.


Left: Wesley (17-months-old) and Right: Julian (5-months-old).  Wesley is ONE YEAR and 2 days OLDER than Julian.  Wesley doesn't sit up well yet. 
As a former marketer I am always looking for trends, intentionally and unintentionally.  I often see patterns, changes and trends, causing me to wonder if it’s the beginning of a shift in something as complicated as society, or as simple as a grocery store.

I have been sensing a shift in the past six weeks as we have received 15 babies (!). May I take a moment to say that we only got one baby from December 23rd 2017 to February 28th 2018, and in an average year we receive a baby every TWO weeks.  But in the past six week we have received a baby every 2.8 DAYS. 

I was recently been accused of taking in babies from young mothers who got pregnant by accident and don’t want their babies, like I’m a drop-off service or adoption service. That is not true, in any way, shape or form.  ALL children come to us through the Social Welfare office after they have thoroughly sought any family who is willing and able to take the child.  We have received children whose mother tried to abort and/or commit suicide, some have been abandoned in the forest or pit ditch, some born in a pit latrine (outhouse).

Aside from the sheer number of children who have been placed with us, we have been shocked by the severity of their health condition (including 27% of who are HIV+ and two with Tuberculosis).  On top of that 50%+ of the new children have been severely malnourished and one was admitted directly to the hospital with several deathly serious conditions including streptococcal meningitis. With malnutrition, comes stunting, which has a long term effect on a child's life (see

I have included several photos of our children to show you real, live examples of stunting.  While we expect to get these children strong and healthy, the long term effects are unknown for each child. 

Left to right: Cristal, Wesley, Julian.  Cristal and Wesley are 17-months-old.  Julian is 5-months-old. Cristal came to us as a newborn.  The two boys arrived this past week.

Peace (left) and Comfort (right) were born on the exact same day, the same year. Peace came as a 1.4 kg newborn baby. Comfort arrived last month.
I hope, and pray, that the past six weeks have been an anomaly and that the wave of children will reside, but I may be hoping against hope.  It seems that hopelessness itself is on the rise.  It seems that life has become more disposable, babies are being abandoned at an alarming rate and children are dying of starvation and disease, in front of our very eyes.

We can't save them all, but we sure will do our very best to save the ones who are put in front of us.

Will you help us to help more children?  Will you sponsor one of these little ones today?

In the US: bit.ly/ProjectCanaanChildrenAngel
In Canada:  bit.ly/ProjectCanaanChildrenAngelCA 

Live from eSwatini … praying for our children.

Janine

P.S.  For those of you who are not aware, there is no adoption here in eSwatini for a variety of reasons, so the children placed with us are with us until they are adults.  We are committed to caring for them and guiding them until they are 22-years-old and are ready to step out in to the world.  Every time a new baby arrives, it’s another 22-year commitment.  Every time. 


Saturday, November 10, 2018

65 children must move today


Big boys moving to Emseni #4
Watch a drone video of the move here!

Today is a big day on Project Canaan!  We moved 65 children up to their next home and there is excitement all around our children’s campuses.

·      23 big boys moved from Emseni #2 to Emseni #4, which has just been built. 

Each boy has their own clothes wardrobe, made at the Kufundza Center on PC.

·      23 small boys moved from Emseni #1 to Emseni #2.


River is a BIG BOY now!
·      10 toddler boys and 2 toddler girls moved from the Labakhetsiwe toddler home up to Emseni #1.


·      5 babies moved from the El Roi Baby home to the toddler home.

Shalom, Amanda, Peace, Manday, Tandeka
 
·      2 small babies moved from Kuthula Place to the El Roi baby home

Frank and Jordan

It’s all very exciting as we have been preparing for this for months.  Each group started to visit their new home weeks prior to their actual move.  They begin to experience a new schedule, some new foods, new toys and lots of new brothers and sisters. We typically have staff move with them for continuity and each home has their own type of welcome party for the new arrivals.

After the big move, there was a special snack at each home, and everyone gets to enjoy a new movie with their family tonight.  A great day, all around.

We receive 35 new children each year (on average), but we have already welcomed 35 children this year.  With 11 new babies coming to us during the month of October alone, we are on track to welcome 42 new children this year. That’s a lot of children saved and a lot of hope restored.

Thank you to everyone who helped fund the Emseni #4 boy’s home. THEY LOVE IT!  Thank you to our amazing staff who orchestrated the move and are enjoying the children in their excitement.

Would you like to sponsor one of our children? Here is how:


Just had to add a photo of Jonathan on the move.

Live from eSwatini … I love moving day!

Janine

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Life without electricity


When we first moved to Swaziland the landscape around us looked very different than it does now. At night when the sun went down, and we looked across the valley to the neighboring community called Sigcineni, it was very dark, with only a few open cooking fires dotting the hills. Now when we sit at the end of the day and overlook the distant hills we see hundreds of lights illuminating small houses that are home to many of our workers.

What is the difference you ask? Employment is the difference.  Many of our workers come from Sigcineni and their monthly salary has enabled them to first, feed their families, second, pay school fees, and third get electricity brought to their house.  For most, this is the first time in their family’s history that they have had electricity – lights to do homework by, lights for night time security, power to even have a refrigerator.  Electricity is life changing. Employment is life changing.


In order to keep these workers employed, we need your help. I am not asking for a donation, I am asking you to do some Christmas shopping at our Khutsala Artisans website at https://heartforafrica.myshopify.com/.  After paying our worker’s salaries, 100% of the profit goes directly back to help provide for our 211 children who live at Project Canaan.


Khutsala Artisans employees 100+ from our local community and they have had skills training in the area of bead work.  This year we made 100,000+ beaded items and shipped them to our warehouse in Illinois.  This includes a spectacular handmade wooden Nativity Set that includes 14 pieces that incorporate SwaziMUD beads and a sisal manger (the sisal harvested from Project Canaan).  We only made 200 of them and at the time of this blog post there are 134 Nativity sets left https://heartforafrica.myshopify.com/ so you should order yours today.


This year’s Christmas ornament is a very sweet Gingerbread man, complete with handmade SwaziMUD ceramic buttons.  You can even get the whole collection of six ornaments for $60 at https://heartforafrica.myshopify.com/collections/christmas-ornaments
 

Our Khutsala Artisans are very proud of the work they do.  Whether it’s the animal key chains or SwaziMUD jewelry, they are surrounded by beauty and hope every day that they come to work. In fact, our Khutsala motto is “Creating HOPE through beauty, design and excellence”.   Will you shop today and give the gift of HOPE (and maybe even electricity)?

Start your shopping today at  https://heartforafrica.myshopify.com/

Live from eSwatini … it’s time to Christmas shop!

Janine