I wasn't really sure what I should blog about after our first village visit. So many things happened that I could write many pages, and still not related the whole experience. It was like going back in time. Seeing what daily challenges these people face was overwhelming.
They live in small one or two room homes made mostly of stones put together with mud. The roofs are made of grass. If it rains they have to go back the next day and add mud or the walls would eventually eat away.
They survive only on what they can grow or produce. They still plow their field with the few cattle pulling a plow, and milk is straight from the cows. A village may consist of 30-100 people, and may have a few cows and sheep. One of the biggest challenges is just getting any kind of water. Most villages consist of mainly women and children as the men will go out to South Africa to work in the mines, only coming back once a month if their fortunate.
Yet, when we entered the first village we were treated as honored guests. They were extremely excited to see us, and even some from surrounding villages came out to see who we were. They performed many of their cultural dances, and provided an amazing meal. World Vision supplemented what they normally could offer with chicken which the family we visited prepared. Of the dishes offered 3 were different ways to make corn, one was made of sugar beans, and two other of Sorgam including a soup. This was the same in the other villages we visited, and helped my children see that variety in food is something we take for granted. Here the village eats and saves what the ground produces during the growing season for the entire year.
While we were there they also allowed me to participate in a couple of their activities such as plowing and milking. They all got a laugh out of how poorly I could milk a cow. You would think coming from Texas I would have some sort of clue, but I failed miserably. The little bit of milk I got out was quite pathetic compared to the bowl full the young teenage boy produced right after me.
Then they set me to plowing with the oxen. With their expertise all their rows are nice and straight. I ruined all of that with a couple of "s" rows right in the middle. I hope I didn't add a few hours to their work. Through all of it we laughed together. In fact I smiled so much that day my face hurt.
The biggest thing I took away from the first day was that although their lives were far more difficult than mine, and yet even in the midst of this hardship they could sing hymns and praises to God. Most of the villagers are Christians. Most of the villagers own 2 or 3 sets of clothes, 1 of which is used for occasions like today, or for worship on Sunday.
I was convicted that I complain when my TV signal goes out, or my car has a problem. I don't think I have ever worried that if my plants don't grow I won't eat. Yet their faith in God is not nearly effected by their circumstances. Their life is far more difficult than mine, and yet they are thankful for God's provision all the same.