On May 31st, 2012 the Maxwell family boarded a plane and moved to eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland) to live at Project Canaan. I hope to update my blog on Saturday mornings and share, as honestly as I can, the highs and lows of our life in Africa. We are living on a farm in a remote part of this tiny Kingdom and are serving the community as well as the orphans and vulnerable children of the nation. Thanks for joining us.
Seven years ago today
I was called by the police about a newborn baby girl who was found in a black
plastic bag and left under some bushes not far from Project Canaan.She had been there for 2-3 days, as evidenced
by her umbilical cord.Her body was
covered in burns from the hot plastic burning her skin and she was bruised,
bleeding and her eyes were swollen shut.She had maggots and other insects crawling out of all openings and open
wounds on her body and she didn’t weigh more than 3 pounds.She came to live with Ian and me for the next
18 days while we got her injuries healed, and loved her back to life.
I am tempted to show
you a photo of the baby back then and a photo of her today, but we all have to
be SO careful to protect her right to privacy, and although many of you know
who she is, I won’t mention her name in this blog, but I have included a couple
of photos of her in the early days below, including one of my favorites, which
is of her hand beside Ian’s in the doll crib that dad made for me when I was a
Last week this little
girl turned 7-years-old and she enjoyed birthday cake with two other children
who share the same date (different years).It’s hard to believe that seven years have gone by and that this sweet girl
is now in Primary School. Where did the time go?She is happy, healthy, silly, a bit shy from
time to time, and a complete joy to be around.We have not seen any side effects from her rough start.She was loved back to life.
And then there is
little Buck who came to us and the end of last year.He was severely malnourished and has been in
and out of the hospital with a bulging fontanelle and fever, but all tests,
including Lumbar Puncture’s and bloodwork have come back clear so we assume
these are side effects of the malnutrition. This little guy is now 18-months
old, and while he doesn’t walk (or crawl), he might just be the world’s fastest
I know many of you
will be celebrating Valentine’s Day this weekend and so I will make this blog
short and sweet and leave you with some photos that might just bring you
joy!This sweet baby is Treasure, and
when she turns her (significant) frown upside down, her smile lights up the
whole room. On Monday I sat with her and took some selfies.As you can see below, she got the hang of it
very quickly, mimicking each face I made to the phone.
February is Child
Sponsorship month at Heart for Africa and we have had FIVE new people sponsor a
child and ONE existing sponsor increase their monthly gift. Would you consider sponsoring a child today or
increasing your monthly gift?We would
very much appreciate your love and support.
Tuesday I was notified by one of my female staff members that she and her
elderly mother, her Aunt and her teenage son had been brutally attacked by a
drunk/high man from their community. The attack involved threats of murder and
rape and while he threw hard punches and big rocks, whereas my Supervisor responded
with a bush knife (machete) and verbal assaults.Once
they got the attacker to run off, they called the police who told them that
they must make their way to the police station (10 miles?) to make a report because
the police did not have a vehicle to go and investigate. They went, made the
report and then took the Aunt to the hospital for her head injury from the rocks.
The next day the man went back to the homestead when everyone
was at work or school and attacked the elderly mother again.The police were called again, and this time
it resulted in an arrest.On Thursday
morning Ian, Shelly and I made our way to the police station to show our
support (and disdain) at the hearing for the attacker. We waited 2+ hours
before we witnessed the man confess to his crime.Later that day he was sentenced to 6 months
in jail, or an E600 fine ($40 US). He paid the fine and left.He was then immediately arrested again for
assaulting his own sister and goes back to court today. Who knows, maybe
another $40 out the window.While I
appreciated the speed to trial and sentencing, I am always appalled by the
ability to pay their way out of violent crime.
did we have a lot of birthdays this week?!Just yesterday we celebrated Jacob (6), Deborah (7) and David (8) and we
are all struggling with the question “How in the world did they get to be that
age??”.I told my staff that the first
eight years of Spencer and Chloe’s lives seemed to go so slowly (well, not
slowly, but just the right pace), but these kids are growing up faster!Gabriel and Rose will be 10 this year!!!As you likely know, this month is Child
Sponsorship month and Jacob does not have a sponsor, so we have to use operational
funds to pay for his care, school and birthday cake.Once he is sponsored that takes extra
pressure off of the organization. It
takes a village to raise 261 children, and we really need to expand our village
this month. Will you sponsor a child today for $30?$50?$100 or even $225 per month?
in other news … it appears that we have crocodiles in our dams again.It has been reported by several people that
there is a large one in the Living Water Dam and a small one in Dam #2 (and I’m
guessing there are more??). We had a big
croc a few years ago and he was eating our small dogs. There is a saying in
Africa that if you are going to cross a river, you must let your dogs go first because
crocodiles prefer dog meat to human. Good to know 🙈.All crocodiles in Eswatini belong to His
Majesty the King so we can’t kill them, they must be captured and released. No
small task I assure you, but I am certainly on the watch for them on our
morning walks.Like the saying goes, I
don’t have to outrun the crocodile, I just have to outrun Ian!
Life in Eswatini is always an adventure, with highs and
lows, frustrations and celebrations, and I can’t imagine my life anywhere else.
February is the often thought of as the month of love with
millions of people celebrating Valentine’s Day.A quick Google search lead me to a statistic that said that is projected
billion will be spent in the United States alone this year.This is how that breaks down:
·$3.9 billion — Total spending on jewelry for
·$3.5 billion — Total spending on date night.
·$2.1 billion — Total spending on clothing.
·$1.9 billion — Total spending on flowers.
·$1.8 billion — Total spending on
·$933 million — Total spending on greeting
Am I the only person that thinks THAT IS CRAZY?
Here’s an idea – why not sponsor a child at Project Canaan and
give that sponsorship to your loved one for Valentine’s Day?It’s giving the gift of love, and the gift
of HOPE starts with you!You can always
add a piece of candy to sweeten it up, but a photo of one of our children is
pretty sweet! You could give primary medical care for a child for only $30/month, or give formula to a small baby for $50/month, or even pay for a night shift Auntie for $100/month.
Today was a big day at Project Canaan because we had TEN little
ones move to their next home.Five
babies moved from the El Roi baby home to the toddler home, and five toddlers
moved from the toddler home up to Emseni #1.There is a video below of their welcome to the Emseni campus.Of these ten children, six of them are
sponsored and four are not.Here is who
moved, and who needs sponsorship:
We now have 261 children living at Project Canaan and we are
committed to these children until they are 21-years-old.Most children who come to us arrive in bad physical
shape.Two weeks ago we welcomed little
Raphael, who was severely malnourished and immediately admitted to our
hospital.The social worker didn’t know
how many days it had been since he had eaten last.The photo below is of Josiah (a baby we
received at birth) and the new guy.These two boys are two days apart in age, and you can see the size
difference from malnutrition and stunting.
Josiah (left) is sponsored. Raphael is NOT SPONSORED.
Raphael may never catch up to Josiah, but he will grow in strength
and stature, now that there is hope for his future.Isaiah 40:31 says, “But
those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and
not grow weary, they will walk
and not be faint.”
Would you consider sponsoring Raphael or one of our other
children today?HOPE starts when YOU
sponsor a child.I can’t think of a
better Valentine’s day gift – the gift of HOPE and LOVE all wrapped up in a child's life❣️