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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Loving them back to life

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 little girl. 

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 “scootcher! 

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.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ US:  
πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ Canada:

Happy Valentine’s Day weekend!

Live from Dallas, Texas … it’s Saturday morning!


Saturday, February 8, 2020

ABC’s of living in Eswatini (Attacks, Birthdays and Crocodiles)

Attacks: On 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.

Birthdays: Wow, 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?

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ US:

πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ Canada:

Crocodiles: And 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 πŸ™ˆ.  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.

Live from Eswatini … happy Saturday.


Saturday, February 1, 2020

HOPE starts with YOU❣️

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 that $20.7 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 Valentine’s Day.
·      $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 candy!!!!!
·      $933 million — Total spending on greeting cards.

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:

Babies home to Toddler home:
Angeline - sponsored
Bruce - sponsored
Cornelius - sponsored
Miracle - sponsored

Toddlers to Emseni #1:
Amanda - sponsored
Lithle - sponsored

Lithle (sponsored), Peace (not sponsored), Mandy (not sponsored), Sbahle, Amanda (sponsored)

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❣️

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ US:

πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ Canada:

Live from Eswatini … praying for HOPE to be restored for many children this month.