One Glass of Cool Clean Water

There is a little story that we like to share with people sometimes that makes us feel grateful and humbled.

We were out on a home-based healthcare visit at the homestead of one of our hostel children’s grandmothers, who was very sick and about to die. We gave her a bit of medicine, and Sr. Diane happened to have a water bottle on her, so she gave some water from the bottle to the grandmother to wash it down.

All of the sudden, the grandmother had a huge smile on her face, and started to laugh and roll around in joy. She was exclaiming things in Siswati (the official language of Swaziland), and caused such a scene that we had to ask our staff to please translate what she was saying…!

They told us that she was exclaiming that that drink of water was the best thing she had ever tasted in her whole life- just the most wonderful thing. Because she had probably always had to drink river water, which was muddy, with sticks, sand and dirt, and always warm. So to have a clean glass of cold water was simply extraordinary.

She died shortly after that. We’ll miss her, and we’ll never forget her joy in experiencing one simple, good thing.

Sr. Barbara and Sr. Diane

Profile of a Child: Lomtsimba

Lomtsimba is the youngest in a family of eight children. She has four older sisters that are also in the hostel, and three eldest brothers who are on their own with their wives. Lomtsimba is 11 years old and in grade 4.

Both Lomtsimba’s mother and father died in 2002, when she was six. Her mother had been sick for some time when she was hospitalized, and the cause of death was due to a faulty IV drip that exploded while she was being treated in the hospital. Her father worked for a sugarcane tycoon weeding the fields, and also made traditional shoes. He was well known and well liked by the community, and rode all over the area selling his handmade sandals. The cause of his death is unknown, but he was suffering hallucinations toward the end of his life. (We often hear of the childrens’ parents suffering hallucinations and emotional disturbances before an unknown death. Perhaps it is actually the dementia that is a very unfortunate symptom of late HIV or early AIDS that they are suffering. Fortunately, antiretrovirals, the medications for HIV/AIDS, can prevent dementia in HIV+ people.)

After her parents died, the girls had no adult guardians to go to, and were on their own. The eldest girl, Nobuhle (also now at the hostel), had to do all the cooking and watched over the family, at 13 years old. A neighbor kept seeing how the girls were, and he reported their situation to Sr. Anna Maria (who was here at Cabrini Ministries at the time). They have been in the hostel since 2002.

Lomtsimba is active and cooperative with her chores and loves singing and dancing. She is a member of the hostel junior choir and lead dancer of the Ummiso dance, which is a traditional Swazi dance for young girls, that involves stamping feet with ankle rattles and singing together. Lomtsimba even made up her own new song for the Ummiso dance.

She is also a member of the Kwaito dance group. Kwaito is like dance music or hip-hop in the US. It originated in South Africa and is a style that is expressed through music, dance, talk, and dress. Some Kwaito music is known for ‘telling it like it is,’ telling real stories of urban life that are sometimes very upfront. There are many Kwaito dances and the Kwaito group tries to collect and learn different ones.

Cabrini Ministries sponsors Lomtsimba for school (there is no public free education in Swaziland). She is doing OK. She is very good at crocheting and likes to make sweaters and scarves with her sisters in the crochet group. She’s a beautiful child and we’re very glad to have her and her sisters here with us.

Sr. Barbara

Lomtsimba is the youngest, wearing the pink butterfly shirt

Our First Video: Feast of the Sacred Heart 2007

We’re pleased to be able to share with you some video of life and events at Cabrini Ministries Swaziland. Here is our first clip of the events in the church for the Feast of the Sacred Heart.

The Feast of the Sacred Heart is an important day for us as many of you know. The children enacted Bible stories, and everyone sang and prayed. Here you can hear some of the singing, as the girls are entering down the aisle in their traditional clothing. (Note the image of the King Mswati III of Swaziland on the cloth.)

A great part about this video is that you can see the girls are wearing the shoes that Jeff Scott and friends managed to get to us. (Click on this link to read the blog posting about the donated shoes:

The girls usually go barefoot in traditional clothes, but they truly love their sneakers so much that they really wanted to wear them to church. Thanks again to everyone that made that happen, and blessings to all our friends and supporters. We have more videos to post for you soon.

Sr. Barbara and Sr. Diane

Click once on the center of the picture below to view the video.