By Isabel Maldonado
From Swaziland, Africa:
When I’m not buying groceries for the mission team to eat, hanging out and pouring into the people I live with, or fetching them from ministry projects, I usually find myself in the office or going to some of the “care points” (a feeding place for orphans) Adventures In Missions and Children’s Hopechest run in the Manzini area.
Each carepoint is different; sometimes, the kids come running up and want to be held, while other times the kids avoid me like the plague. I’m white, they don’t know me, and so therefore, they are are afraid of me. It’s interesting to watch them eventually warm up to me, usually right before I leave for the day. I may do this once or twice a week, depending on the week and the needs of the team.
The first time I went out to Bhobhokazi (bo-bo-gazi) I was surprised that they even called it a care point. The cooking structure could hardly be called a structure at all; they had no place even to store the food. Moreover, the kids had no place to play, but there were plenty of chickens to chase!
By the next time I went out there, a church had come from America with Children’s HopeChest, and they have adopted this care point as their own. Now there is a place to store the food, even though we are still waiting on the glass for the windows to be bought.
I got there with the Swazi discipleship team and there was a gogo (what they called grandmothers here) or two and one kid that wanted nothing to do with me. Soon enough, another little girl arrived. The only thing I had to do to make her laugh was make a fish face. Her laughter was precious. Sure enough, the first little boy was curious as to why he couldn’t laugh and have fun, too.
More and more kids began showing up to the care point; so, we each had our designated stations. There were so many kids and not enough space in the one room storage structure that I was kicked outside.
When I wasn’t entering new profiles for the numerous children that now go to Bhobhokazi, I was making fish faces and trying to escape the down pour of rain! The kids are precious and I want to see good come to them all.
It’s in moments like these I have to remind myself that I am only a small piece of the puzzle here in Swaziland. In my time here, I can’t expect to make a huge impact, but in the long run, the part that I have helped with brings the picture into focus.
Isabel, originally from a small town in Texas, has been on assorted mission trips in her life. She returned to Swaziland again in June 2008, where God has continued to wreck her world and turn everything upside down.