Go! By Long-Term Volunteer Chris Cheek

This week I must begin with a Toddler Home update. Moses has moved from the baby home over to the Toddler Home. I’m laughing as I write this because after his second day in the house with 38 two year olds he is probably thinking he should have never parted the Red Sea & left Egypt. Moses puts us with 39 little ones in our home. Trust me when I tell you it is a huge transition to leave the baby home to move into the toddler home. Imagine 39 two year olds at mealtime, taking showers, being potty trained, learning to share – all the normal things a two year old goes through just multiplied by 39.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve watched the older twos start to develop into such a fun stage. These growth/development spurts seem to happen in cycles and it is a blast to see their little personalities go from a toddler stage to a little kid. We will soon have our older ones move up to Emseni, the house for the older kids. It is kind of bittersweet, it’s fun to see them finally reach a stage where you can have a fun conversation with them, but with it comes the time for them to move.

Tuesday night I was in the sitting room on the huge “U” shaped couch. We were watching Jungle Book and Michael had come up & cuddled next to me under my arm. Michael is an identical twin to Matthew. Matthew is much more rambunctious & never cuddles, but I can always count on Michael to find me before bedtime to get that extra hug time. We had been watching the movie for about 15 minutes when up came Matthew he looked at me and gave me a huge smile – to my amazement he didn’t have a chipped front tooth (that is how we tell them apart; Matthew has a chipped tooth & Michael doesn’t.) I could not believe it had been Matthew cuddling with me not Michael.  Then it dawned on me, what will we do when they lose their baby teeth, will we ever know which one is which?  (Just as a side note; out of 98 children we have 7 sets of twins and 4 sets are identical. I can’t imagine what the teenage years will be like.)

This week has been nonstop – the word of the week is go!!!!!  Ok, so the word of every week could be go when living with 98 children. But let me see if I can give you a quick recap.

– two trips to the Mobile Medical Clinic for Hosea to have follow up visits after his circumcision

– one trip for Shirley’s physical therapy appointment (dodged three herds of cows on the highway, one herd of goats and   two donkeys – not bad for one trip to town)

– one trip to take clean clothes to the hospital where Grace had brain surgery (check out Janine’s blog for more details: janinemaxwell.blogspot.com)

– attempted to order 15 bean bag chairs for the baby home, but 10 emails later still have not completed the order

– attempted to have a plaque made for a memorial bench, 8 phone calls later & it still isn’t completed

– potluck dinner for Robert at Janine & Ian’s

– four transfer truck deliveries (two trucks with construction materials, one with container of Feed My Starving Children Manna Packs for our feeding partnership, and one with supplies for the dairy)

– gave one tour of Project Canaan

– two or three birthdays, not sure lost count

– meeting with a supply vendor to look at laundry equipment

– to the chicken farm to pick up eggs

– construction meeting

– back to the hospital to pick up Grace (discharged on Friday evening – who discharges in the evening?)

– worked on balancing a bucket on my head, not very successfully, still have work to do to master that skill

– aunties dressed me in traditional clothes & danced in the kitchen; I’m sure by now that wonderful video is being spread all over Swaziland

– community visit with Anthony

– chased monkeys

– send off party with the kids for Robert ( he is going to bike, alone, across South Africa to raise awareness & funds for us – Durban to Cape Town)

I think that captures most of the week – oh, almost forgot, played in the yard & hugged babies.  What a great week!!!!!

I must confess that I sold out this week. About three weeks ago we had strong winds to blow through our area causing damage to our water filtering system.  All of the filters had to be replaced. In all of the Kingdom of Swaziland there were no filters. So we have had to boil our drinking water. I was so committed to being a strong woman – boiling my water. What a great story that would be to tell people! Well it lasted only a couple of weeks. This week I went out and bought a 5 liter bottle of water.  So much for my great story of hardship – having to boil water on our gas stove. Can you imagine if I had to walk 30 minutes to the river to get water, then carry it back on my head, build a fire & boil it outside just to have a glass of water to drink.  Ish…so much for me being a strong woman.

Well another week has closed & a new one is beginning.  I’m so very grateful for the experiences & the joy of living with 98 children.

The journey continues……


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