The Adventure Begins Again
The two big suitcases, filled with gift bags donated by wonderful people, were packed, weighed (49.5 lbs. each) and loaded up for the trip.
After reaching Johannesburg, we met Fr. Masilo Selemela for our annual dinner and catching up. It was wonderful to visit with him and hear his stories and learn all the latest news. He wanted us to be sure to send his warm greetings to our family and our friends at Christ The Redeemer parish.
The next day, we met our former St. Brendan’s student, Mashudu, and had a great reunion with her. At that time, we also organized for her to come to St. Brendan’s and meet with all the former Bakhita Village girls for whom Bakhita Charities pays St. Brendan’s scholarships and expenses. She is a great inspiration and always encourages them.
The next stop was Holy Family Care Center in Ofcolaco. It is a home for orphaned and vulnerable children many of whom are HIV positive or who have AIDS. It is a beautiful home run by Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Sisters and has all the necessary staff and facilities to care for sick children.
We met a young boy who is in stage 4 AIDS and is struggling for every breath. From his bed, he smiled and waved and was happy to meet and greet some new people. We did not take any photos of this young man, but we did capture a couple photos of some of the precious young children at the center eating lunch. Bakhita Charities has often supported the center with donations.
Finally, on Tuesday, we reached our home for the next several weeks and were greeted by the girls who grew up at Bakhita Village and are now at St. Brendan’s. Their school year is just beginning, and every girl was promoted at the end of the last school year, so it is a happy beginning to the new year. There were several welcoming songs, some of which we have the pleasure to hear each year.
Paulinah, the group leader, read a letter to us in which they had all collaborated. A couple lines: “Thank you for being here for us in the absence of our parents. You have been very good to us. It is not easy to raise a person who isn’t your blood nor the same color of skin, nor the same culture but it is the shared heart that built us physically, spiritually and financially. We are here today because of your love and care. You make it look easy, but we know that you work all year to raise the money to care for us. You challenge us to become better people and you are an inspiration.”
So, there you go. All of you who have helped with donations, gift bags, prayers or words of encouragement, please feel inspired.