We completed the two day workshop with the pre-school teachers at St. Mary’s parish in Lobatse. We had a really wonderful time. The teachers were so excited about everything we did with them. They not only were on time but they were early!! We shared the Christmas story of the three queens entitled “And So It Came To Pass” written by Betty Blandford, SCN and the song written for it by Sharon Gray, SCN and the art…the crown,, developed by Luke Boiarski, SCN. They really loved it. We also did the story of the “Mule Who Had No Story” in which the teachers, along with us, were the different animals and sang the song “God Loves the Animals” and much much more. I think our greatest fun was with singing “What Can Make a Hippopotamus Smile” and drawing the Hippo! But a close runner up was the wonderful song “Inch by Inch.’ Then the teachers taught us one of their songs which we have recorded and intend to keep singing!
We closed the workshop with distributing jump ropes, balls and other school supplies donated by our friends in Belpre, Ohio and other areas around the U.S.
The next day we went to Ntlhantlhe, the pres-school where SCNA Tootsie Gish teaches, along with some of the teachers from our previous days’ workshop. Here we were greeted by 2- 5 year olds. How precious they are. We sang and danced and made crafts with them.. Even though they spoke no English we managed to communicate very well. A smile and a hug go a long way. Their favorite song was “Put Your Hands Up in the Air” in which we sang, put our hands up and down and on our nose…..then we all jumped up and down!!! They certainly have a lot of energy. We gave the little girls here the dresses made by our SCN friends in Ohio and the children were thrilled with them and they looked so darling. They loved modeling for us as we snapped their pictures. The little boys all got trucks and couldn’t believe they could really take them home with them. It was really hard to leave them, but they gave us great joy and we hope we too gave them joy and care.
We then journeyed on to Kanye where we were greeted by our sisters Pat, Olive and Nalini. We were put to work right away sorting bushels of clothes which had been donated to the parish. Our wonderful Associate, Jane lead in this major project and with S. Pat’s help we got all the clothes and household good sorted and ready to take to Tswaaneng on Sunday. That evening we had evening prayer, had a great meal at home in Kanye…we have been fed so well by our Sisters….and played cards with the local community. They are really good card players!
Friday we were treated to a visit to Jwaneng, one of our first missions, the orphanage which eventually had to be turned over to the government. It is truly a safe and caring place for over 50 children. The sense of joy and belonging permeates the place. We met the Administrator who showed us around. She recalled the early work of our Sisters in setting the vision and laying the foundation for this much needed safe haven for these dear children.
That evening we roughed it without electricity or water, but managed quite well with eh guidance of this local community. We enjoyed a sandwich dinner by candle light. The electricity came back on that evening in time for a round of “chicken foot,” but the water eluded us for another 36 hours. We now know how vital water truly is.
Saturday was our Day of Prayer. The sisters from all three missions, our candidate and our Associate Tootsie and the four volunteers gathered here at Kanye for a special time of reflection, prayer and sharing, led by S. Sharon. The day focused on the scriptures following the resurrection. We considered how this Good News was lived out in our lives today and what invitation to new life we might find in the midst of these reflections. We concluded our prayer with considerations for the General Assembly.
That evening we celebrated our time together with a meal at the Motose Lodge, near Kanye. Upon arriving home, we surprised our volunteer Kelly with a 50th Birthday Party. Chocolate was everywhere!! We also shared little gifts of gratitude with our most gracious hosts throughout the three missions in Botswana.
Sunday morning we joined Sister Pat for a Communion Service in the more distant village of Tswaanenge. Here in a very small but very sacred little church we gathered for the sharing of the Gospel and Eucharist. The church was packed with children and men and women from all ages. The Chief of the village joined us for part of the celebration. When this Service was concluded we had a little party for those newly baptized and those receiving First Communion. All stayed and enjoyed our time together. The people of the village were so kind and excited about meeting us, as we were excited about meeting them. This is truly an economically struggling village, a village more in the traditional style with round mud houses, no electricity and water which has to be carried from a distant bore hole. We were gifted with the opportunity of sharing the clothes we had sorted our first evening Kanye. We also brought some new dresses for the little girls from our friends in Ohio. The need is great here but their spirit is even greater. What a gift to share a few hours with them.
We are back home in Kanye now. This is our last evening with our Sisters here in Botswana. Tomorrow morning they take us into Gabaronne to catch a flight to Kasane where we will experience a safari and see the many beautiful wild animals which are native to this country
We can’t believe our time here in mission is about over. We know it will take many days, weeks, months to process this most gifted experience. The people of Botswana are imbedded in our hearts. The SCN’s/SCNA here in Botswana are now our friends, our sisters who have our deepest admiration and gratitude.