More musings from Graham plus two others
So, Swaya today. Early start; up at 7:00 for a departure from Karibuni at about 8:45. Swaya is a lengthy drive down interesting roads, many with the sort of rough surfaces and steep gradients that had me thankful I was in a Landcruiser, and just a little sorry for the other half of our team, following in a pickup.
The church is made from locally fired bricks and, this year, has a brand new corrugated iron roof. Inside is basic, but airy, the floor made from compacted soil and the walls very rough bricks and mortar. The windows are simply holes in the wall on one side of the building, with a lot more light coming in through the gaps between the tops of the walls and the roof.
The whole place was light and cheerful, somewhat contrasting with the dark interior of the church at Airport.
We arrived mid-morning to find a crowd waiting for us outside the church. Regardless of the amount of work that needed to be done, everything operated on something of an African schedule, which meant that before we could get started, we had to greet the crowd.
Inside the church
Sharon started by saying how pleased we were to be with them, and hoped that they were happy too. It quickly became apparent that, while they were happy to see us, they were not in the best of spirits, at which point Sharon deviated from her standard script, and wouldn’t let up asking questions until several people in the crowd explained what was the matter.
Some issues, like the poor maize harvest resulting in a predicted hardship until the end of January, were beyond Grassroots’ capacity to help. Others, like some issues with the feeding program, were solvable. Distribution is currently being done at the school, which is quite a distance from the village. With the new cookhouse being completed recently at the church, an assurance was made that the program would be shifted to the church by the end of November, and this was well received. Sharon’s refusal to let go of the problem until at least something of a solution could be found made quite an impression, and not just with the locals. It was somewhat humbling to see.
After that, the day started in earnest. We were one translator down, so interviews progressed at a slightly slower pace than planned, causing no little anxiety, but somehow we maintained a good enough speed, and by the end of the day, the Swaya team had completed 240 interviews.
We headed back to Airport via more interesting roads, including a quite startling bridge, and arrived with the Airport team still in mid interview. They also managed 240 interviews, so an impressive day’s work by all involved.
A meal of rice, papaya, potato, baked beans and carrots and mini bananas, then back to Karibuni for an evening of data input, with a snack or two to keep everyone going.
Chris and Jan have the following to say:
What an amazing time we’re having; it’s everything we expected and more. The whole team has been working together interviewing, photographing, recording heights and weights and interacting with the children in play.
The attention that the children crave can sometimes feel overwhelming, but what an honour and privilege it is to be sharing God’s love in this way with them. Although verbal communication can be a barrier just a touch or a smile says so much.
The need here is vast, but God is working through Grassroots and local Christians to show and share His love with them all.