Sunday’s blessing: Nonjabulo

Most of today was a good quiet day.  It started with the Sunday School at St. Paul’s.  I’m helping a woman with a small Sunday School class of about 10 – 12 students ranging from age 4 to about 14.  She just started it this year and it’s been a bit of a challenge.  We never know when the kids will be excused from church so we never know if we will have 10 minutes with them or 40 minutes.  But today we had about 30 minutes with them which was awesome.   Afterwards I came home and worked on activities for next week’s lessons.  Amazing..I actually did it a week ahead of time!

Then I got a phone call to meet with someone and the meeting was a bit upsetting.  At one point during the meeting I actually thought “What am I doing in Swaziland?” and asked God if this was his answer to my prayers about how long He wants me here.  (He didn’t answer me….again.)

When we ended the meeting, I drove to Thini’s house to pick up some bead work I ordered from her.  When I drove up I saw this little girl peaking around the open door to the house.  It was Nonjabulo!  If you have been reading my blog you will remember that it was just about a year ago that Nonjabulo was very sick in the hospital and we weren’t sure if she was going to live.   She had TB and is HIV+ and the medications for both of the diseases was more than her little 6 month old body could endure.  Today she is a happy and healthy 18 month old little girl.  Yes, she is still HIV+, but with proper care, nutrition and medication she can live a normal, healthy long life.

Nonjabulo shyly walking over to us.

Nonjabulo wandering off to play with a stick. She kept looking back at us with the cutest smile.

This was Nonjabulo walking down the driveway so proud of herself for getting away. She is just so precious.

Seeing Nonjabulo was truly a gift from God at a time I needed it.  I couldn’t help but praise God that she is alive, doing so well and that He let me be a part of this miracle.  Thank you God for following up a difficult time when I was ready to give up with the most precious and sweet time with this little girl and her gogo Thini.

Thini sitting outside on a grass mat doing her bead work. She is dressed in more traditional attire. Thini sells her bead work to help her support her grandchildren and pay their school fees.

Epilogue:  On my way home, walking from the church where I park my car to my flat I have to walk on a rather rough dirt path between the school and some gardens that a couple of teachers have planted.  It was twilight – not quite pitch dark.  I’m walking rather quickly in my sandals (as always) but watching where I am stepping so I won’t trip or fall.  All of a sudden I saw a 3 to 4 foot long snake slither away from me into the garden area.  I did a little half scream and kind of jumped away from it.  While I was jumping I was recalling a conversation we had during Sunday School about standing still when we see a snake so that it will go away.  It might seem like a strange conversation to have at Sunday School but we were talking about the ten commandments; the one about though shall not kill/murder.  And kids being kids (especially boys) they wanted to know if killing a snake was considered a sin.  Lord, have mercy on me!

Update on Lomngeletjane

I didn’t realize it had been so long since I posted an update on Lomngeletjane.  Sipho is back on the job after the death of his daughter and things are moving along.  The walls have been finished up to the top of the door frames.  The next step is to build what is called the ring beam.  This part of the construction is a bit tedious and takes a long time.  I’ll show you the process via pictures.

Sipho called me late afternoon on August 31 saying he needed lumber for the following morning. So we went to the CashBuild in Manzini. I don't normally buy my materials at the Manzini CashBuild because there is another one in Matsapha that is closer to Lomngeletjane. I could tell that the guys at the Manzini CashBuild weren't sure how to tied the lumber on my bakkie. Sure enough, I went over a speed bump and almost lost the load. The following morning I called Sipho to come to St. Paul's and retie the lumber on my bakkie so we cold make it up to Lomngeletjane. It's great to have the bakkie because I can haul building materials instead of waiting for CashBuild to deliver them. I also save the delivery fee. However, there's been a few times when they didn't secure the load real good that the drive up to Lomngeletjane has been a bit slow and tense.

Sipho had to build these reinforcement frames out of re-bar. These frames are put on top of the block work that is completed up to the top of the door frame level.

This took a lot of time. It was all done by hand without any power tools. Sipho used a hack saw, some wire, and a pair of pliers.

If you look closely, you can see the re-bar frames along the back and side wall of the building.

These are the wooden molds that will go on the outside of the frames. Cement will be poured into these molds to form the ring beam. These molds are what we needed the extra lumber for.

This is the view of how the molds and frames are placed on top of the walls.

Once the molds and frames are in place, then concrete is poured into the mold.

These molds for the top of where the windows will be. While the concrete is still wet, flat pieces of metal are inserted into the concrete as certain intervals. These pieces of metal will eventually be used to secure the wooden tresses for the roof to the walls.

Today's progress: The ring beam has been finished on all four sides of the building. They will allow the concrete to dry in this last portion over the weekend and then begin taking down the molds on this section. Two more courses (rows) of blocks will be put on top of the ring beam and the gables at the end of the building and between the classrooms.