I have good news and bad news about Lomngeletjane.
The good news is, we have walls up for all four classrooms up to the top of the door frames. That’s a huge YEABO!
1) The electricity still has not been restored to the school because they can’t get SEB (Swaziland Electricity Board) to come out and give them an estimate to move the breaker box down into one of the classrooms in the school. It was up on the outside of the original, “off-cuts” church building which is about 100 yards from the school. It was not in a secure place. Someone stole all of the breakers, ruining the entire panel, in May. To reinstall it about 15′ from where it was will cost approximately R2100 (about $300), which is much more expensive than it ought to be. This location still wouldn’t be secure so we are trying to find out how much it would cost to move it down to the school because the school will never be able to come up with that much money twice. In reality, they won’t be able to come up with that amount of money to do it at all, so I will have to help them out a bit. No electricity means no water for the school. The school has to buy a tanker truck of water to be able to cook for the children and for construction of the new classrooms. A tanker of water costs about $20 (R150) for 9,000 liters. This is enough water for approximately two weeks.
2) Our beloved head teacher, Busisiwe, got a promotion and has left Lomngeletjane. This all happened while I was gone. Two years ago she applied with the Regional Education Office for the Ministry of Education for a job as schools inspector. She was interviewed for the job over a year ago. They finally called her and wanted her to start now-now (African term for immediately – sort of.) It is real bad news for us, but good news for her and for the children of Swaziland. It gives me hope for the future of Swaziland.
3) The daughter of Sipho, our builder, is in the hospital. She is 11 years old. She has meningitis and TB. She’s a sweet, sweet girl. Her birthday is the same as my youngest son, Scott’s birthday – January 18. Sipho can’t work right now because he has to stay at the hospital to care for his daughter. It is very unusual in Swaziland for a man to care for a child, especially in the hospital. But, his father-in-law got very sick and passed away a few weeks ago and so his wife had taken all of her leave to care for her father and then prepare for the funeral. She can’t take any more leave. Most of the time Sipho is there around the clock, but on weekends his wife takes over and there is also an auntie that comes periodically to stay the evening with her. She stayed with her one week, but also had to return to work. Just imagine having to sleep in a hard chair or on the floor without a mattress or cushion, and being there to take care of all of your daughter’s needs. On top of that, he faces the frustration of dealing with the Doctors and nurses and he has to be careful of where he goes or what he does because he is surrounded by women who aren’t used to having a man in their midst. His daughter will be in the hospital for another 10 to 14 days IF all goes well. He calls his daughter by his nick name for her: no-no. I’m going to call her that as well because I can’t begin to pronounce her full name!
Please pray that No-no gets better quickly; that her father has patience, strength and faith that his daughter will get better quickly; that we can resolve all of the issues and problems surrounding Lomngeletjane; and that I can react to these situations with wisdom and patience while keeping the faith that God will use these situations for the good of his kingdom.