Saturday, August 10, 2013

Growing Exponentially

One of the pastors that we have gotten to know while living here always reminds his congregation that living in Swaziland never lacks for opportunities to serve others. So the question that we have faced is not if there is a need but rather, where do we start? One of the things that we talked about before coming to Swaziland was the desire to work with child-headed households, or those households that have not immediate relatives to care for or look after kids. These same kids are often attempting to run a household, taking care of younger siblings and trying to feed themselves all while going to school. What we have learned is that working with this population is very challenging for a variety of reasons and can often leave one quite discouraged. That being said, there are clear exceptions. Enter Alex.

Alex is in Form 5 (11th grade) and has a history on the farm. In fact for a while he is well known in the community not for his many positive attributes but rather one who has no family with the exception of a younger sister. He was a notorious chicken stealer and a trouble maker. Needless to say, it was a surprise to everyone when they saw Alex strolling across the farm nearly 5 years since his last incident seeking help from the resident math teacher. Enter me (Tommy). I began meeting with him weekly and sometimes bi-weekly to
discuss algebra, exponents, and geometry and we began to develop quite a trusting relationship. His marks in math were tops in his class and he even wrote me a poem to show his appreciation. As we continued to meet to talk about math, I began to wonder how and where he gets the food for both he and his sister. I suggested planting a garden and told him that I would supply the seedlings if he put up a fence and prepared the soil. I was ready to be let down as the prospects of preparing a garden from scratch and fetching water I am sure seemed daunting. I returned a week later and was totally blown away. It was AWESOME! 

I was so impressed by his efforts. Along with his onions, Swiss chard, cabbage, lettuce, and beet root, we have made a plan for him to plant 50 more lettuce plants that we will be able to grow and sell to generate some much needed income. I do not know how this is going to go for Alex in the future, but I thank God for putting him in my life and for being encouraged by Alex. Please continue to pray for this project and for Alex. Pray that he is able to continue to perform well in school and can secure a good future for himself.

A recent trip to the beach in South Africa!

On a side note, we are all about presenting factual material on this blog and we steer clear of embellishing. That being said, in the previous blog post entitled “We are expecting” we talked about how our adopted goat was pregnant. It turns out she was just getting a bit fat (a winter cover that seemed to go a bit too far). This week we are letting her run out in the community to meet a nice billy so that we can have a grand-“kid” soon. We are sorry for jumping the gun on that one.

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