The Project Canaan Team of Five:Part One Written By: Janet Scott

Our Team: The Project Canaan Five, Then Six, Then Back to Five
Jere and I left Medford, OR on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 and arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa where we met Mark Hackett, from Wurtsboro, NY, and Rose Smith, from Edmonton, Canada at the airport. Our team was short one person because Frank Tauau’u’s flight was cancelled out of JFK, NY due to a bad storm, so he didn’t leave Phoenix, AZ as planned. We worked with Mark last summer at Project Canaan and with Rose in 2006 on a double mission to Swaziland and Malawi. Frank managed El Shaddai’s Komati Campus with his wife, Jane, last year. Lisa Hackett arrived just before Litsemba and stayed on after Rose, who was the first to leave, returned home. From Johannesburg the four of us flew the final short hop to Matsapha, Swaziland. We picked up our rental Toyota HiLux at the airport and went straight to The Gables Mall in Ezulwini, to purchase our MTN Swazi SIM cards and airtime for our cell phones and bottled water at Pick ‘n Pay Supermarket and checked in to the Lugogo Sun Hotel.

Once Frank arrived, our team of five was split into two groups, with the men working at Kufundza Training Center and the women working where we were needed. Mark and Frank worked under Jere, until another team arrived and temporarily added Jimmy Wilferth, Mike Diamond and Bobby Ramjist as helpers, as well as Robert Smucker when he visited for a few days. (Robert and Jere worked together to design Kufundza.) Jere’s job was to finish Kufundza with a roof and a carpentry workshop equipped with machinery and tools.

Rose and I started with clearing construction debris at Kufundza and went on to reorganize the four 20-foot storage containers that Jere and Mark roofed in 2010. Rose and I were in the midst of cleaning up the Long Term Volunteer Lodge (the construction crew was still getting it ready for occupancy), scrubbing tile in the showers and the kitchen and bedroom floors, as well as cleaning Swazi windows when Ann Williams arrived with Jimmy’s team. Then while she and Rose worked on applying the finishing coats of lacquer to Jimmy’s wooden tables and benches for the Lodge, I continued cleaning. In fact, one day, I even had help cleaning windows from all the Maxwells.

Until our team moved into the Lodge on June 29, 2011, our days were divided between living at the Lugogo Sun Hotel in Ezulwini, having breakfast and dinner at the Ilanga Restaurant’s huge four-square buffet, and working at Project Canaan, a commute of about 35-40 miles, having sack lunches that were packed by the restaurant; lunches that seldom varied, with some kind of a lunchmeat and cheese sandwich, a boxed juice, a bag of chips, a fruit, a candy bar and Bulembu bottled water. We luxuriated in the hot showers, wifi connection, and incredible meals.

Once we moved into the Lodge, our weekly routine consisted of working from seven in the morning to six in the evening, Monday to Saturday, with Sundays free for church, and the rest of the day spent at The Gables Mall where we had lunch at Sheba’s Rock, visited the internet cafe, and shopped at Pick ‘N Pay Supermarket before heading back to Project Canaan to prepare dinner. Occasionally, we drove to Nelspruit, South Africa for a Saturday of shopping for things we couldn’t find in Swaziland.

Even though we occupied three rooms, the construction crew still continued working on the last two single rooms, the dormitory wing, the roof, the cement floors, the windows and security bars, and etc. In fact, when Jere and I left (we were the last of the team to leave) two months after we arrived in Swaziland, the crew was still working on the Lodge.

Moments To Remember: Summitting 3,717 feet Mt. Hope on June 25, 2011 There were 23 of us, 6 who rode to the summit, and 17 who climbed to the summit. Ian drove the Land Rover and Mark drove the Toyota HiLux, taking Jere, Rose, Shirley, and Mike to the summit. Our work team consisted of Frank, Jimmy, Ann, Bobby, Sherri and me along with 11 Kenyan and Swazi staff. We climbed for 5 hours and 15 minutes, leaving at 9:45 in the morning and arrived at the summit at 3:00 in the afternoon. Our climb was part of a larger cause called Summit for Hope 2011. Robert Smucker designed a way to raise funds for Project Canaan starting with the idea of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and it grew to include simultaneous climbing in Taiwan, the USA (Colorado, Hawai’i, California, and Georgia), Canada and Swaziland, with all teams summitting on June 25, 2011.

The goal of raising $150,000 is to support the building of phase two of El Roi Baby Home, Kufundza Learning Center, and the ISO (International Standards and Operations) Building. El Roi will be a home for babies who have been abandoned or “dumped” by desperate young mothers. The Kufundza Learning Center will provide training in carpentry and other skills to help increase knowledge and employment in the area. The ISO Building will allow standardized packaging and exporting of vegetables and sale to hotels and restaurants.

Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,340’) in Tanzania, the tallest mountain in Africa, was led by team leader Robert Smucker, our friend who served with us for the past five years. Team Taiwan summitted Mt. Jade (12,966’), the tallest mountain in Taiwan. Team Colorado summitted Mt. Elbert, (14,433’) the second tallest mountain in the lower 48. Team Hawai’i led by Howard Hodel, who served with us in 2007 in Kenya, planned to summit Mauna Kea (13,796’) the tallest mountain in Hawai’i; however, the expense was too great so Mt. Palehua, on the island of Oahu was summitted. Team California, led by Wolfgang Buehler, who funded the building of Kufundza Center, summitted Mt. San Antonio (10,068’), highest point in Los Angeles County. Team Georgia summitted Mr. Brasstown Bald (4,784’), the tallest mountain in Georgia. Team Canada summitted Heart Mountain (7,005’) in Canmore, Alberta.

The day was gorgeous, cool to start off and sunny with a few clouds. We were all wearing jackets, but soon shed them as we progressed up the mountain. Jere made sure that I used a cane and that acted like a third leg, supporting me throughout the hike. The trail was gradual for the first fourth of the hike but the remainder of the hike was brutal. The ground was littered with rocks, ruts, forest debris, sometimes water to be traversed, sometimes plants to avoid, and sometimes, great big sinkholes formed by previous summer rains. There was a lot of land that was covered with various sizes of beautiful white quartz. The last two miles was the hardest with tall grass and rocks littering the landscape and boulders to climb, while we were climbing steeper and steeper. We stopped for water breaks as needed but everybody ran out of water before we reached the summit. As we neared the summit, we could see the tiny figures of those who had gone up in the vehicles. I gave out a high-pitched African call and I could see Jere waving his arms and I knew that he had heard me. Most of us were tired when we reached the summit but very happy that we had finally made it to the top.

After the traditional picture taking, Jere said a few words on the topic of hope, as we Christians see hope. We had our sack lunches and traveled back down the mountain in the two vehicles. If we had walked back down, it would have taken us at least three hours and it would have been much too dark to see the trail by the end of the hike. After dinner, I thought I would have passed out from fatigue, but Jere and I watched a video that lasted past 1:00 in the morning. Wow, what a day!

Part Two is coming next week.

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