Last weekend we held our annual Christmas party celebration for the children at the hostel. The children are off visiting their homesteads now for their long break (6 weeks), and we check in with them often. (Read more about school breaks by clicking on this previous post: School Break Time.) Among some of the gifts we were able to give them at the Christmas party were bikes, soccer shoes, and watches.
Four of the older children in the hostel received bicycles that greatly help with transportation. These young people are getting older and beginning to transition to working full-time jobs and living on their own. (Read about one older boy’s transition in another previous post: Siyabonga! Giving Thanks for Friends & Family.) Bikes reduce the time spent traveling from work to homestead, etc, which can be hours when you’re on foot.
All of the boys received a brand new pair of soccer shoes. The grant that provided these gifts was from a private Italian donor who visited Cabrini Ministries, and the story is that he was talking to some of the children that play soccer, and one of them confided in him that the boys felt embarrassed that they didn’t have proper soccer shoes when they would play soccer games with other teams that did.
So both the staff and the boys were thrilled this year that OUR kids could have something beyond what’s just essential for basic living, and that is essential for fun and social life and making them feel non-distinct from kids on other soccer teams that we play. Every day, we try to keep life as normal as possible for these kids and for the 1000 patients we serve—and we are so grateful to our supporters who help us to keep doing that.
We were also able to purchase watches and skirts for all the girls. (Money for gifts goes pretty far in Swaziland, thankfully.) Our staff has really enjoyed being able to make the children happy, and at times like this, the children can feel like normal kids, and not just forgotten orphans. Such actions of love and generosity change these kids’ lives forever.
Many blessings to everyone during this joyous Advent and Christmas season.
Sr. Barbara & Sr. Diane