5.22.2012

Another Hospital Visit

Paint trimmers. Fire. 8 year old girl.

Those three things should never mix- yet on Saturday night that became a reality at the boarding house. My little precious eight year old was rushed to emergency to treat the burns. On Monday afternoon she was released from ICU and is currently resting in one of the best hospitals in the province. (this was one of the hospitals I stayed at when my lung collapsed) We have had so much fun picking out what to have on the menu for the next day and watching High school Musical on my laptop.

I came to see her Monday evening and never really left, giving me a total of 2 hours of restless sleep on a chair last night and haven't left her side since. Her granny is sleeping over tonight (Tuesday) and than I'll try to be at the hospital Wednesday afternoon and sleep over Wednesday night again.

Can I just say one thing right now: SHE IS SO BRAVE!!!! She gets big tears in her eyes and grabs my hand so tight when the pain comes but that is it. I see her in so much pain but she is trying to be strong. I keep telling her it's okay to cry but everyone deals with pain differently.

She was allowed to go to the toilet this afternoon and when she saw herself in the mirror she became being traumatized and said "Auntie Maddie, I am scared to look at me" She has a hard time talking  now and won't talk unless the curtain is completely closed. The burn is the worst on her face and left arm. Please pray for my precious baby girl.

I sat awake with her most of the night reading bible stories and praying over her and trying to distract her from the pain. She is becoming very withdrawn and the doctors are scheduling a counsellor to try and help her deal and talk through such a scary event. Please pray specifically that this goes well.

The doctors say +/- 2 weeks in the hospital so I'm sure I'm going to get use to eating hospital food these next few days. It is crazy to think that I have less than a month with these children and my heart breaks over and over again that this had to happen to her. I am going to muster up some energy (only from Christ) and try to love on the other children tonight when I get home around 7. The kids witnessed the event so it's been pretty emotional for them.

Keep us all in your prayers. xx


5.16.2012

It's the little things

This week I am focusing on the little things. Celebrating JOY in all the little moments.. there has been so many this week too (and it's only Wednesday) It's amazing to reflect and realize how much we miss when we are so busy with life. This is something SALT has taught me. Slow down, make personal connections with people and enjoy the little things.

The kids were preaching and it was their turn to lead bible study instead of Auntie Maddie. They thought it was the coolest thing ever.. and I had a podium just to add to the dramatic effects of their amazing preaching about Jesus's love.










5.15.2012

Olethu

I love to keep you updated with my life and I just want you to meet Olethu. She is 6 years old, attends Gateway and is super shy! She speaks okay English and loves to follow me around.
She moved in the boarding house (where I live) last week. She is such a JOY to be with and I can't wait to see our relationship develop over the next few weeks. So I am back to mothering 18 children again.

ps. When I arrived back at the boarding house on Monday morning there were tons of mother's days cards slipped under my door from the kids.. it was such a blessing! xo


5.13.2012

May is Hard

I'm not too sure if I'm going to look back on this post and laugh about my thought process in May or cry because I can't believe I got through this.

May has been hard. (and I'm only fourteen days into the month) Yes, my Cape town trip was absolutely stunning and so much fun but my thoughts have been elsewhere this whole month. My thoughts are consumed with "what happens in a few months when I am home" to "how the heck am I going to leave these children and my host family when my entire heart is here?" - will I ever recover?
I was chatting with Neliswa this past week and she asked me if she could make a goodbye video for me and just say her name, age, school and how much she will miss me. I was totally on board with the idea! However, her reasoning behind the video was to ensure that I wouldn't forget her. It's typical for people to walk in and out of these kids lives and I will be just another one of those people very soon. In replying to her I realized consciously for the first time that I will never forget my experience here. I will never forget each child's face... video or not. I told Neliswa we should make the video and that I would watch it for the rest of my life.. even past sixty! She giggled and thought I was joking, but I know in my heart that I wasn't.

I've let this year in South Africa completely ruin me. In a good way. I've learnt so much, given so much of myself and my heart to this incredibly amazing country but now I can't seem to focus on anything else. I don't know how to move forward and getting out of bed each morning seems to become harder and harder. I don't want to work any more, I don't want to be here because if I am already struggling this much with two months to go I'm not sure how I can physically cope when I actually have to say goodbye. How do I grasp the concept that I probably will never see these children again? How do I leave to go back to my North American "all about me" lifestyle knowing they will be eating putu for dinner yet again? I can't begin to fathom leaving, knowing that no one is coming to replace me to love and be a mother for the children..
but instead of making that drive me to do everything I possibly can before I leave.. it has had the total opposite effect. I have pushed it all away and become completely homesick because I don't know how to handle these thoughts and emotions.
People keep sending me such wonderful encouragement to "be present" and "finish strong" but do you honestly know how hard that is!?! Can you honestly tell me that if you knew what I was feeling.

A part of me is just so tired of this life and wants to able to run and be athletic again! I want to be able to walk down the street without thinking I could be rape or stolen from. I brought the kids with me to the grocery store last week because I just wanted a few vegetables, and I continually got harassed and stalked and made the children scared... so now I can't walk by myself and when I bring the children along I still get followed...I don't know what to do.. I'm tired of asking people for rides so that I can go get a bag of apples and I feel completely helpless because I am too afraid now to venture out on my own. And as I'm complaining to you and sharing my reality my heart is so upset at the fact that I am privileged. What I deal with for a year, these women grow up with it, they live with it every single day and most times they have it a lot worse. I am a white foreigner which declares to South Africans that I am rich and I have made friends who have vehicles and can go to Cape town with me or see the mountains. Although I do live very simply, I have the option to not to on weekends and for vacation. My children probably won't ever have those privileges. These thoughts are always running through my mind and recently I have felt so guilty spending time going to church or bible study because I should be with the kids.. I am not finding the right balance here and I don't even know where to start to change that.

So May is hard & that's okay........ right?

5.03.2012

A scary reality

The latest status I heard was every 17 seconds a girl gets rapped in South Africa. Statistics can sometimes be scary.

I was walking to work today from my house that I stay on the weekends. It made sense to not try to move back into the boarding house for one night this week because there was holidays this past weekend ( South Africa celebrated 18 years of democracy)

The walk is safe, cars are always passing by and it takes me about thirty minutes to walk to work if I walk fast. When I first came to South Africa I was told to not walk by myself... but imagine your freedom being stripped away instantly when I heard that statement. I have been very careful, however I am a women and in South Africa we just don't have the same rights and aren't treated the same way.

I didn't even notice that there was a man watching me, standing up against a tree 5 meters from me. When he called out "hey" my heart jumped because I honestly didn't see him there. He was checking me out which isn't unusual for people to do here (they check everyone out) but it always makes me feel uncomfortable so I held my bag tighter and walked just a little faster.

As I continued to walk He continued to speak to me. "I love you," "let's talk" & "I want to be with you" where some of the phrases that I heard. As I tried to walk faster, He and I both knew that I was uncomfortable. He was winning and was extremely pleased with this.

But than He started to follow me. This has never happened before, usually the comments continue but as I get farther and farther away I can no longer make out what the person is saying and my heart will eventually calm down. It didn't.

I must have franticly looked backed and when I realized He decided to follow me, because He saw the concern in my face and called out "don't worry babe, I'm coming"

What does I'm coming mean? I wanted to run into the street at that moment, surely this man wasn't going to hurt me? He just wanted to harass me and make me scared, but He kept following. I was walking as fast as I could without making me look too much like a victim.. his comments of love and wanting me only continued.

What's a girl to do in this situation? Pray.

So I started praying for a miracle, praying for God to get me out of this situation.  Praying for the man to stop following me. Praying for angels of protection.

He got closer and asked me to "come with him" to which I said "no." The first and only word I would speak to this man. I was sick of him taking advantage of me and not being able to stand up for myself and terrified of what He was going to do next.

I decided to cross the street and try walking on the other side, maybe He would give up already... or was He actually going to do something? Of course, I always think the worse.

My prayers turned into pleas as I asked God to get me out of this situation.

Then a car stopped by the side of the road.


It wasn't fimilar to me and I don't really know any one in South Africa too well so my first thought was it's one of his friends and they are going to put me into the car. No one was really around so it was possible. As I neared the car I was going to cross the road again however I noticed it was one of my computer students that I taught last term.

"I am going to Gateway (where I work) want a lift?"

I never jumped into a car faster.

This man could have just harassed me until I got to work, He could have been waiting for a chance to steal what was in my bag when no cars were around, or He could have actually wanted me to "come with him."

I'm not sure but what I am sure of is God protects his children.

God does miracles every single day and today He did a miracle in my life. He protected me and arranged for me to get out of that situation.

All the praise and glory goes to God and I am so thankful that He is constantly looking out for me while I'm here in South Africa.

.. lets just say I didn't walk home today!


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