The Big Day Has Arrived!
So, the day has arrived! Chris, Elizabeth and myself (Angie) planned on starting our adventure at 4:00PM until 4:00PM the following day. Elizabeth and Carla got an early start to visit orphans the first half of the day while Chris and Angie picked up some last minute items. We also stopped by the police station to pick up our permits. We needed a special permit to stay someplace else other than The Rock Hotel. Along with those permits, we were joined by two security officers and their intimidating AK47s. Brian mentioned that he was going to come over and TP (toilet paper) our mud hut. After he saw their weapons, he nixed that idea! We were all a little anxious, because we had no idea what was in store for us.
4:40PM (4 o’clock African time) came and we were packed and ready to go. Janet, Okware and the rest of their 40+ member family greeted us with open arms singing and dancing. Janet started off by giving us a tour of their compound. There are several huts along with a latrine and a bathroom for bathing. After the tour, we all gathered around an open fire including four generations of Okware & Janet’s family along with Pastor Peter and Michael, our driver. As the women finished cooking, Okware started off the evening with introductions and testimonies by firelight. Before dinner, we were in for a special surprise! The Mammas, Okware’s Mother and Aunt (two wives of his father) danced an old tribal dance –topless! The Mamma’s used to cut themselves with razors because it was considered sexy back then. They would use this dance as a way to attract their husband. It was crazy! This was the first time, the fourth generation of children ever saw their grandmother’s dance. We celebrated with a delicious dinner and finished off the evening with roasting marshmallows! What a treat! Isaac, Janet’s son, whittled us great sticks for roasting. We assembled our smores with chocolates and bisquits and passed them around. The Africans loved them! Everyone was sticky and you could see traces of marshmellow on everyone’s faces. What a wonderful way to end the evening! Time flew by and we were all exhausted. It was 1:30AM and time to retire to our hut. We had a big day ahead of us!
Fri Nov 16
Janet & Okware living with HIV together
The rooster, our first African alarm clock went off at 4:30AM. The second, Janet, started singing at 5:00AM! She continued with fervent prayers, weeping and more singing. Just after 6:00AM, it was time to wake up the kids! Chris, Elizabeth and Angie sat under our mosquito nets and laughed and laughed! We began working in the fields immediately hoeing and heaping. By the time we arrived in the fields, the kids had already completed half a field. After we heaped, Elizabeth left our adventure to visit our orphans and Chris and Angie continued working in the fields. By noon, we had hoed and heaped in the fields, planted potatoes, foraged for firewood and picked greens in the garden. We were completely exhausted and we did not work nearly as hard as Janet. Janet showed us how the African woman multitasks. She tied a baby around her back, carried a bundle of firewood on her head, carried a hoe on her shoulder and also carried a large basket of greens! It was amazing! We sat down and processed the greens while Janet shared with us her testimony of her life with Okware, living with five other wives, living with HIV/AIDS and her faith in Jesus Christ.
Her story is an extraordinary one that is still being written. She was a Christian. He was a Muslim. She was the first wife of six. In the early nineties, Okware discovered he was HIV positive and failed to tell Janet until 2000. All of the wives contracted HIV/AIDS and five of them died. Most, if not all of the fifteen children produced by the six wives have HIV. Their symptoms so severe, that other villagers abandoned them and whispered that their family would vanish. Through the love of Jesus Christ, Okware became a Christian and surrendered his life to God. Their family today is living strong and healthy. They give all the glory to God. If it wasn’t for Him, their family would have perished.
Janet has taken four HIV tests that have all showed that she is negative. She says that she and Okware are living together with HIV even though she is negative. They are ONE body, one body in Christ, so a positive result does not matter to them.
Later on in the afternoon, we all walked to the well for drinking water. The well was located almost three miles from her house. Janet, along with the children carried a jerican of water of their heads. A jerican holds five gallons of water and each gallon weighs eight pounds! These Africans are truly amazing in every way! Our adventured came to a close as we watched the children playing soccer in their make-shift soccer field. Our 24-hour adventure was so much deeper and amazing than we could have ever imagined. We felt so blessed to have this wonderful experience!
Everyday our teams have gotten an opportunity to separate into various ministries. One of the wonderful things about going on a Mission trip with Hope 4 Kids is that you can do whatever your heart moves you to do. Everyday, we have medical, widow, orphan, dental & eyeglass outreaches everyday. Over the summer, Tom partnered with Mr. Grograni from the cement factory and this week, many team members have been visiting his plant testing people for HIV and giving vaccinations. We had a really good turn out. More than 75% of the employees (200) came for a HIV test and they could get their results within 15 minutes. The eyeglass ministry has been advertised on the radio and we’ve had many people stop us in town wanting to know where they can get their glasses. Elizabeth and Carla have been taking groups of team members out into the field almost everyday delivering goats, toothbrushes/toothpaste and shoes. Jane, Pastor Wilber’s wife has also been taking groups out everyday to visit various widows.