Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I hear fairly hilarious, and sometimes outrageous comments on a daily basis. Such is a life working with kids, I guess.

Not all are funny, though, and some threaten to break my heart if not for the innocence in which a question may be asked, but then for the cruelty of this world.

So here is a few of the good, bad, and somewhat sad quotes I have jotted down during the last week.

Between Jake and myself-
Me: "Jake, you have to finish your dinner, just a few more bites and you'll be done"
Jake: "My tummy hurts, I'm full"
Me: "Jake, come one, I know you're not full, you have to eat at leat a little more of that food on your plate"
Jake: "I'm fasting"

Between Simon and Tazz-

Tazz: "Simon, you must finish your dinner, don't you know there are starving people right outside?"

Myself and Mary:
Mary: "Suzy, where were you born?"
Me: "In Winchester Hospital"
Mary: "Who found you?"
This is the one that breaks my heart, if you didn't already figure it out. Sweet little Mary.

Some random guy who pulled up next to us in a gas station when we were lost, apparently in a rough area (?)

Random guy: "You two ok?"
Michiel and I: "yup!"
Random guy: "Where are you going?"
Michiel and I answered
Random guy: "Where are you from?"
Another answer...
Random guy: "you sure you're ok?"
Michiel "yes, why?"
Random guy: "Usually whites don't come out this way unless they have guns"
Michiel: "oh, ok. Thanks!"

Same trip at the gas station and I was let in behind a locked gate where the register wass to use the bathroom (after getting slightly harrassed by the public toilets outside and deciding not to invite more by actually waiting outside of them) Just before this stop I had been directing us, unsucessfully, on our way to where we were going (no map, bad street names, and a list of other perfectly good excuses as to why we got lost. Certainly none of them had anything to do with me and my great navigation skills). Michiel naturally took the stance that his (lengthy) directions that took him a lot of time weren't to blame either. I'm sure no one reading can relate, right? This wasn't the first time we were lost together. Its Africa, afterall. A continent bent on proving Murphy's Law when one is trying to travel through.
As I came out of the bathroom and waited for the woman at the register to get the right key, Michiel waited for me on the other side with an old man who had limited teeth and seemingly even more limited understanding of Michiel's humor.
Michiel: "You want her? I'll give you a good price"(Don't forget I am standing next to the register)
*confused look*
Michiel: "Really, she is a good woman, and she can cook"
Michiel: "And she's great at reading directions!"

Grandpa Len: "They put up new pillars near the new building"
Mary: "No, they're bricks"
G. Len: "No, Pillars"
Mary: "No, bricks"
Jake: "Grandpa Len is right, they're pills"

Me: "Jake, you have to take a bath, you're first on the list tonight"
Jake: "But I don't want to go first, why di I have to go first?"
Me: "You were last yesterday so its only fair. Come on, bath time"
Jake: "You know, I'm just not a bathing man"

"What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul" -Yiddish Proverb

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Unexpected reconciliation

While thinking about writing this post I decided to do a quick google search for headlines related
to abandoned babies in South Africa. The first two stories made me feel worse then I would have thought. I'm no more immune to pain having seen and heard these stories up close than someone reading from home, so I can't share much, it hurts far too much. The first story was moderately good in that the baby had survived, that is, after being put in a 6 foot pit which served as a toilet for 12 hours, being bitten by ants everywhere, found nearly freezing to death.

The second didn't share the same fate, he was found already dead, suffocated by the plastic bag still over his head.
I'm afraid if I let the tears start I won't gain control. And already I'm too late for that.
My heart aches in such a way just writing these things down that I can't imagine what God thinks, what He feels for these babies. They're just babies...

I don't think this post will go the direction I had intended. I can't think past the pain of these stories. The statistic given was that 3 babies are abandoned every 48 hours in this region of South Africa alone.
Oh God, what are we supposed to think? How can humanity be so disgusting? What are you thinking?

Oh Suzanne, I love every baby that is born into this world. I know each hair on their head, I see their little fingers and toes and admire them more than you can imagine. I am a Father to the Fatherless, I love them all dearly.
This is a fallen world, but someday, someday, it will all be ok. Those babies are with me, fully restored and loved in my perfect way. They don't know pain, the world failed them, but I promise never to let them go.
There will be a day when there is no more suffering, a day in which the whole world will cease to contain such violence and pain.
For now, work for those I place in front of you. Love them with the heart I have given you. Hold them and let their stories of hope dwell deep in your soul. Trust that this time is for your healing, for the sadness you carry from the others whom I have called home.
You will never understand it all, my ways, or the ways of the world. You don't have to. You're not supposed to. Trust. Trust in Me, that I love you and will never forsake you. You also are my child, and my love for you is more than you can imagine.

So kiss S'bu and enjoy his smiles...

Hug Thembeka and show her how much you delight in her...

Do these things in My name.

"Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me, but the one who sent me"-Jesus, Mark 9:37

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Its my pleasure to introduce another member of this family here at Sinakekele. Simon was adopted by Ruth when he was just a baby, and is now 9 years old. She knew he was unlike other children right from the start. He didn't throw fits or cry over spilled milk (pun intended). He calmly watched the world around him and looked cute doing it (I've seen pictures, the kid was cute)
Although he has never officially been diagnosed, Simon is likely on the high functioning end of the autism scale. He isn't the first one in his class, learning and word recognition doesn't come easily to him, and reading is almost visibly painful.

But who cares about those things, really. I mean it, from the things I have seen, this doesn't seem relevant in this world. In a place where babies are left for dead or abused later, I see a light shining in Simon's story. The boy is loved, his strengths are nurtured, and everyone who meets him has a fierce and overwhelming urge to protect the innocence in him.
One night his brother was telling stories of robbers and thieves who follow you home and break into your house in the middle of the night. I noted each kids reaction. Mary was scared, asking Siya (who was telling the story) to stop. Jake teased a little more, but looked a little worried. Simon was off in his world, physically sitting next to me, but mentally light-years away. A few minutes passed and Simon finally looked up and asked;
"But aren't the robbers tired at night?"
We all looked at him, puzzled, but in agreement that yes, robbers may be tired at night. A few more moments passed and then he asked a second question;
"Siya, do you think the robbers sleep during the day and that's why they aren't tired at night?"
"Yeah, probably" was the answer he got, which seemed to satisfy him as he went off back to his world.
Side note: this was one of my first 'how did I get here moments' of my time here. It was just too funny to be sitting there right then.
That's my best example of Simon. He hates crowds of people and the business that surrounds certain events (like meal times). If he isn't in sight, you can bet he is off doing what I think looks like conducting an orchestra. In space (the sound effects make for this assessment).
He is sweet and funny and so polite. I love that little boy just a little extra because he is different and because he is special.
Simon is great at the drums, and I watched him as he closed his eyes, listening to the beat as his instructor played a new series for him to learn the other weekend. You can see the pride on his face when you give him even a small compliment, and his shy smile makes my heart swell when I see it everyday.
Simon is another example of a baby picked up out of a sad story and given a new lease on life. He is thriving in a world where he feels love and I pray his innocence will remain with him for as long as possible. I pray God will protect him and surround him with people who see how amazing he is. I hope I never forget that feeling in my chest when I see him smile, and that I am reminded of how blessed I am to be surrounded by these kids for this time.
And now for an update from the nursery downstairs, but first a couple of questions...
Who designs baby clothes? I mean, I can handle the basic onesies and tiny outfits, but some of those clothes are just plain crazy. Has anyone who has actually held a baby, never mind tried to dress one while it squirms/cries/poops everywhere, tried to also button 65 snaps in all different directions? With one hand? I didn't think so.
How many times do you think a toddler can poop while only being few a set amount of food per day? Can you imagine its seemingly 10x more then what goes in?
Its good in the nursery. I love my work and enjoy those little babes, even when they poop and it gets on me, or they stick their finger in it and wipe it on their face before I can intervene....Even then.