Forgive us for not posting for the past few days as we have not had internet since we left Durban for the village of Nlkonkobe. I have posted the past couple days below and pictures below that. Thanks!
Monday May 30th
In our devotional booklets our word for the day today was COMMUNITY, and it was a perfect day to build it.
After an exhausting 15hour day out on the course yesterday (and we didn’t even run) we enjoyed sleeping in a little this morning and not having anything on the schedule till we were supposed to leave for the airport at 10:30am. We got to the airport for our 1pm flight at 11am only to find out that our flight was delayed till 4pm! So we made the best of it by using our free meal vouchers and getting to know the other World Vision runners on the team through card games, dumb-human trick contest (nick won), telephone pictionary, and word search contests! The situation could not have been more perfect to get to know each other and establish community.
We finally got in to Port Village at 6ish and then took a three hour bus ride to our village! Make sure to ask Nick and Tony about both our foot race and the large African grasshopper when we made a stop at a gas station. Both are great stories and only one of them lead to needing the first aid kit.
Tomorrow we meet our sponsored children in the ADP and get to spend all day in the village and run a race alongside! Huge!
Tuesday May 31st
Today we got up early, ate breakfast and headed in our bus to meet our sponsored Children in the World Vision ADP. Words are pretty much useless here. They cannot describe the emotions, tears and thoughts that every one of our kids had today. I will instead attempt to just list out our day and save the amazing stories for our July 9th event when you can hear them in person from our kids.
We had seen some of the Shanty Towns in the cities earlier in the week but the poverty in these rural area was different from anything we had seen before. When we got to the village we walked to their local grammar school and walked into the school filled with community leaders and parents on one side of the room facing empty rows of chairs where we were to sit. Sorta awkward set up but it was cool to face each other. It was an awfully windy day (come to find out pretty normal for this region) and the gusts rattled the tin roof of the school as we began to listen to community introductions and introduce our group as well.
We then presented the school with a bunch of sports equipment and had some great play time with the kids! It was awesome to see our Breakthrough Students immediately show initiative and lead some activities with younger kids that they could not even communicate with. It was amazing.
We then gathered back into the room and got individually introduced to our sponsored kids and their families. This was awesome and the kids will have some great stories about this moment as it was very emotional. After everyone was introduced we all got some time to hang out individually with our Sponsored kids and their families. We had brought plenty of coloring books, sticker activities and games to aid in the initial awkwardness but it ended up being really relaxed.
Then came lunch. A traditional dish of lamb, maze and gravy was served! Ask Tony about his lunch experience. He had his head up and showed some great leadership here.
After lunch we gathered to hear people talk more about the village and what life is like for our sponsored kids both in school and in the home. It was amazing to hear the spirit of hope from these people as we learned more about the problems with HIV/Aids, education support, employment and food availability. Then the whole community walked out to the local road and we had our officially first ever Africa Race! It was shorter than expected (because of all the young kids) but awesome none the less!
The last couple hours of our day we hung at the school and interacted with the kids in structured activities and free play time! Again, I am almost tempted to not even write about this day because our kids experienced SO much, and it is impossible to summarize! It was amazing to see how the shock and the awkwardness of the morning gave way to relationships by the end of the day. As we said our ceremonial “goodbyes” we could not hold back the tears. They performed dances and prayers of hope and asked us for only one thing…to remember them.
Our challenge now is to use all that we learned today, we want it to be a real part of our lives that we will not forget!