July seemed to fly by for us! Since returning from our holiday and getting settled back into Manzini things have been very busy. We have been working really hard to try to help with the transition of some things at Manzini Youth Care and with encouraging a Salesian culture within the high school. The schools have also been completing exams in preparation for the end pof the third term here so I have been extra busy trying to make sure I can see all my St. Anne's girls in between tests and before the school break. We continue to grow more and more homesick as we try to make plans to return home and at times more and more anxious as we still don't have much figured out. However we are also realizing the immense blessing it has been to come here despite the challenges. We have learned so much and as we reflect we hope we have grown in our spirituality, patience, compassion, and view of the world. We have been spending a little more time playing with the primary school kids and they are oh so fun and SWEET! Josiah plays guitar for them and is so famous among those of the elementary age at times we have been walking to town and when we pass youngsters they play the air guitar at the sight of him! They hang on my arms and love to give hugs. One day one of the boys declared me to be his mother, but when I told him I was only a friend and they all had their own mothers he looked up at me so sincere and stated "no, I don't have." It is a sad reality here for so many of these children as the life expectancy is very low and the HIV rate so high a lot of these children are single if not double orphans. I feel so blessed to get to show them some maternal kindness and give them hugs. I hope it fills their hearts half as much as they fill mine! In this bittersweet time in our journey I find it harder to find the words to give you an update of what life is like here. I am unsure we will ever be able to put the beautiful chaos we experience into a narrative or illustration, but with that said I will try my best in leaving you this month's one second per day video journal and captions of some of the other happenings of July. God bless!
Month Nine: a few seconds a day in the lives of two Salesian Lay Missioners in Eswatini
July was a hard time for some very dear friends of ours back home as they remembered the anniversary of the loss of a beloved family member. Ryan Carter was also a missionary, a much better one than either of us without a doubt. He was spreading his mission at all times and summed up his message with the phrase "Love God. Love people." We were able to honor Ryan by making it a "Pay it Forward Friday" in which we encouraged the school to do acts of kindness. It went really well and the students really embraced the day! Here are some photos from the now annual Ryan Carter Pay it Forward day at Salesian High School.