We are all well and gradually adjusting to the demands of the day. There are parts that make me feel like I am on a vacation. The country is beautiful. Though we have not gone to any game parks, we see baboons, monkeys and birds and the sounds tell me this place different. We get up quite early, drive a lot in the van, and work together until it is time for bed.
Today we visited a nursing home that just received 8 more of our wheelchairs. They had 6 or so already, plus some from other organizations. They were used mainly for transporting residents within the complex. Useful for them, but we imagined others in much more need. We mentioned this to our hosts, and after a series of phone calls, they changed the direction of our trip. We drove out of Nelspruit about 30 miles to smaller city, not one with hotels and a new soccer stadium in construction, but one with very modest cinder brick and corrugated steel roof homes and dirt roads. Elliot was our local host from Nelspruit, and he grew up in this poor town.
There was no social infrastructure for the disabled. A local Rotary club built a meeting hall for the disabled. It provided a place for them to go in the daytime, to get some food, and some loving care from big-hearted volunteers in the neighborhood. Elliot assured us we would find our purpose there.
When we walked into this meeting hall, it was tough for many of us. They walls were gaily decorated, and it was clean. There were desks for those who could sit, and blankets on the cement floor for those who could not. It was well lit, but it still seemed and felt dark. Some of our team had to leave and gather strength before coming back inside. There were many tears in our team’s eyes. There were about 12 children with CP all lying in a row.
We didn’t take the time for a lot of proper introductions. Our team got right into gear. Some worked on adjusting wheelchairs, some on fitting recipients and some just loving the children. Within minutes the darkness left the room. Soon there was a parade of children pushing others, their friends from the floor, showing them things in the room they may never have seen before. It got a bit wild actually, in an intensely happy way, and this did not stop our tears.
That was what we are all about – a surprise visit to a meeting room full of disabled people. But now they have a chance for a better life.