Tuesday, October 18, 2005


It is real easy to concentrate on the “what” of what we do versus the “why”. The why is infinitely more important. The why is why we are here in the first place. It’s easy to get lost in the details of the what. The why is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, to give a generation hope where there is none. The what is a vehicle to do this. How can we share the gospel without meeting the physical needs of the children we hope to reach? The CarePoints provide the opportunity for these kids to see the love of Jesus in action: meals, pre-school, literacy, health, …...

It has been an eye-opener trying to get a handle on Swazi construction. Very reactionary. Trying to do real scheduling is proving to be almost impossible. Work depends upon volunteers from each community to contribute labor, actually finding the material to build the structures, and coordinating the builders and deliveries. Supplies, tools, and building material are stored at each site where “secure” storage can be found. This can be in someone’s homestead, store, or in some cases out in the open. Each community is tasked with providing security. Thievery is a constant problem. A chain link fence was even stolen after it had been installed to encircle the CarePoint at Ngwane Park to provide some security at the area. Construction at two of the CarePoints in Manzini was halted after critical material was stolen.

Teresa has started working with a volunteer nurse who visits the Kakhoza CarePoint once a week. She is also starting to help with an orphanage here in Mbabane that takes in abandoned babies from the government hospital. Today she is helping take the babies to have them tested for HIV, later teaching a class on puberty to the female camp councilors for the girls from the CarePoints at the upcoming youth camp (ages 12-16).

We have come across several special projects that we would like to tackle, but that would require special funding.

  • Right now, all the CarePoints are cooking over open fires. A volunteer lady at the Zakhele CarePoint actually caught on fire and had to be taken to the RFM hospital in Manzini for burns to her leg and thigh last week. We have also seen times where the wind was blowing so strong and continuously that the heat was literally blown out from under the cooking pots. Smoke under the cooking area is also a major problem. While cooking with wood probably can’t be eliminated, we have seen proper wood “stoves” for cooking that are constructed out of brick and mortar. The cooking pots are actually embedded in the stove and a proper chimney moves most of the smoke above the roof of the cooking area. The stove contains the fire and also helps conserve fire wood by burning more efficiently. There are a total of nine CarePoints that Children’s Cup is either responsible for or have a part in as the chief implementer of the program. We would like to be able to construct a wood “stove” at each site.
  • While the CarePoint structures provide rooms for pre-school and storage, the children who come daily to be fed have no place to sit and eat when it is raining. We would also like to be able to facilitate building a covered area next to each CarePoint that will provide some shelter form the elements.

If anyone is interested in helping with these projects, please let us know and we can work out the logistics (these would also be excellent projects for short term mission projects!).

All the kids are in school, adjusting well. We have not found the soccer playing opportunities that great yet, but are still looking. Have our cars and have been promised a very nice house to rent that will be available mid-December. We are settling in.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Feet on the Ground (Running)

We are starting our third week here in Swaziland shortly. We are grateful for everyone’s prayers and financial support. Please continue to pray for us. We are finding the cost to live here very expensive. It is hard to imagine that the majority of the people here have to survive on less than $1USD a day. It is a beautiful country and everyone we have met has been most friendly.

We are still trying to get all the little details straightened out (like vehicles, house, schools, etc.). But (& thank you Jesus) it looks like everything is coming together. Daran made a trip to Durban in South Africa with several other Children’s Cup staff to pick out used Japanese imports. It looks like we should have those early this week as God speeds their passage through the red tape at Swazi Customs. Thanks to the kindness of our friends here, we are currently driving a borrowed car and living in a borrowed house. We have looked at several houses and found one that is to come available early-to-mid December. Gabby was accepted at Waterford Kamhlaba UWC and will (re-)finish out eighth grade (Form 2) before staring Form 3 in January. The other children will be testing at Sifundzani Primary School Monday. Hopefully they will be able to start the following week. The school year starts in January here, so everyone will have a chance to finish out this year and get used to the new schools before starting the new year fresh.

Daran has been given the responsibility of managing the construction of the CarePoints that are currently under construction in the peri-urban areas of Mbabane and Manzini. There are two sites in Manzini and two in Mbabane that have been started (the pictures here show the Mangwaneni and Fonteyn sites in Mbabane). There are five completed sites in Manzini that feed hundreds of children every day and provide a place where they can learn that there is a God that loves them and has a special purpose for them in this place of little hope.

Actual construction revolves around a community action committee that helps motivate local volunteers to help with the construction and one experienced construction supervisor. Daran’s job is to monitor progress and work with the supervisor, volunteers and community leaders to make sure construction progresses and is done properly.

Children’s Cup hopes to begin work in the rural areas that are really the most desperate with respect to health care and food. Much of the country has experienced a ten year drought, the land has been overgrazed, and AIDS has decimated the population. We visited a Catholic mission in an area called St. Phillips that is providing care to several hundred orphans in a boarding school (Swazi government does not like the term “orphanage”). According to the sisters who work at the mission, the actual HIV rate in the rural areas is closer to 70-80%, but because there is no proper health facilities close and there is little if any government presence, most are left to fend for themselves. Many of the homesteads have no adults at all, only the surviving children. We are praying for God’s leading to work with this established work to provide help in the form of CarePoints in the rural areas.