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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Finding joy during lock down

Our borders have been closed since March, which means we can’t leave Eswatini.  We hear that they won’t open up again until South Africa reaches Level 1 of lock down.  South Africa is at level 4 now, and we also hear that South Africa won’t hit the peak of Coronavirus cases until September.  We can’t leave, we are stuck for a long, long time.

BUT, we are “stuck” with 263 really cute and funny children, and so I spend a lot more time with the kids than I usually do.  They just crack me up, and I am quickly able to find joy during lock down when I am with them.

Take Treasure for example.  She just turned 2-years-old and has more personality than perhaps any of our children.  Her face tells the whole story of what is happening in her mind, and she can go from a very grouchy scowl (usually when Ian is around as she doesn’t like him) to a face with total joy, in a split second.  She sheds crocodile tears to get her own way, and feels that she is the only baby who should be held.  I picked her up the other day and took her to the clinic as I had a few things to discuss with the nurse. She sat on my lap and started counting to five.  None of her words were right, but the tone, intonation and self-congratulations were perfect.  Rebekah caught it on video for you to see below.

Then there is a conversation I had with Ruth when I was painting the big girls finger nails, that went like this: 

Ruth:  “Make (mom) Janine, are you going to paint the fingers of the little girls from
Emseni 1?”
Me: “ No, I am only painting the big girls nails.”
Ruth (big sigh): “Well, they probably don’t know if they are a boy or a girl anyway.”

Then there was the conversation with Titus about Spencer and Jane being engaged.  I was telling him that they might come to Project Canaan for a wedding ceremony. Here is how that went:

Titus: “ Why would they come here for a wedding?”
Me:  “Because they would like to have their younger brothers and sisters to be a part of special wedding.”
Titus: “Make (mom), will they kiss?”
Me: “Well, yes, I think they will.”
Titus (closing his eyes): “Oh Make, I can’t watch that. I will have to close my eyes.”

This week at the Project Canaan Academy teacher Amber introduced the concept of sharing hope with people in need, to our primary age children.  When they got their morning snack, they had the opportunity to take that snack and put it in a basket that had a “Share Hope” sign on it.  They were told that the fruit would be given to children who really needed food. Most of our children quickly took their snack and put it in the basket.  Amber did this every day last week, and each day there were only one or two children who ate their snack – everyone else gave it for a hungry child.  Below is a short video of Joshua explaining what they are doing, photos of the basket, and photos of Anthony distributing the fruit to children in need.  

I also want to let you know that we have started delivering food again to our 30 church partners.  We were forced to stop delivery due to travel restrictions, but now the government is encouraging food delivery to help the hundreds of thousands of Swazi’s in need.  Schools have been closed for two months and there is no sign of them reopening in the months to come, so that means that school-going children are not getting the meal that they have come to depend on at school. We MUST feed the children, and we have started doing so again, while encouraging social distancing etc.  We will have more news to share on this in the next week or two. Stay tuned on how you can help feed starving children.   

With many of our workers not able to come to work, with children around the country starving, with the future of our ability to leave the country looking bleak, and with coronavirus news on every channel, it would be easy for me to be depressed and fearful. But I choose joy, and I choose to look at the things that bring me joy and bring me hope.  I hope that you will do the same.  Look for joy.  Look for hope. Watch Treasure’s video over and over again if you need to.

Live from Eswatini … sharing hope with the world.


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