So, I’m at the East Rand mall in Johannesburg, killing some time before I head to the airport for the journey home. The last week or so has been a blur. I had the boys down Easter weekend where we attended my colleague Busie’s wedding to another Hands at Worker, Stephen from Australia. The weekend with the lads was good and I’ll post more about it soon.
This past weekend was also busy. Friday morning was my “farewell” from Hands and it was a bit overwhelming. Saturday I went to my last PSL soccer match at Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit with a bunch of young people who’re connected to Hands. Again, I’ll tell you more about them another time.
Sunday was quite the day. One of the care worker organizations, Senzokuhle Home Based Care, had a farewell celebration for me. This was totally overwhelming. It was held at the site of the home that’s being built for Ernest, Sthembiso, Thobile, and Bawanile. The house is pretty closed to finished, just some touches on the roof, plastering the interior and installing glass and doors. Almost all the care workers were there, dressed in traditional Swazi costume and they performed traditional songs and dance. Some of the youth I’ve come to know made speeches and Colani and Mandla, two boys we did some renos with, did some “miners’ boots dancing” and singing. I was sat at a head table, feeling like the king of Kensington. The whole time, I couldn’t help but keep thanking God for bringing me here and allowing me to be part of this community and so many stories. When I heard 16 year old Colani talk about how he would “be in prison or dead” without his care worker, Christina, it was all becoming a bit much. These African women are the hands and feet of Jesus, period. I think I’ve finally come to grips with what James was going on about in the Bible about “true religion”. To get to know their stories and those of the children personally has been the greatest gift to me. I remember an American guy named Jed who was here with Hands told me this quote he liked, “Some people in life have titles. Others have testimonies”. These women are clearly part of the latter.
South Africa and Hands has given me so much. It’s a place where you really, really have to go beneath the surface. But it is so worth it. Anyway, I will try to share more during my stopover in London, provided I’m not too horizontal by that time. The last week has overtaxed me and I’m already feeling beat give five hours before my flight. But, I’ll have plenty of time to rest when I get home. I can’t wait to see YOU! I mean it.