ABANDONED BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
Julie Anderson, an ADVENTURES IN MISSIONS staffer in Swaziland, posted this account to her blog this week:
Sunday after church we visited Jabulile's house. Jabulile has been part of Timbali Crafts since the beginning. She was abandoned 6 years ago when her husband decided to take a 2nd wife and she now lives by herself on a small piece of land in the rural area where AIM works. When Jabulile first started living on the land (technically owned by her husband but culturally he has to allow the 1st wife to live on his land) it was still overgrown with trees, brush, etc. Jabulile cleared the land herself, and was able to piece together a small house made from sticks, mud, cardboard and some scraps of corrugated metal. It is literally falling down. Jabulile can't even sleep in her house at night for fear of what might happen if a strong wind came up or if someone broke in. Every night she sleeps at her friend Juliet's house (another Timbali woman) down the road.
We went to Jabulile's house to see her home in hopes that we can start making plans to build her a new house. She's told me before that she has purchased some supplies for the house, but I was so surprised to see the piles of concrete blocks stacked around her house. For three years Jabulile has been saving money from what she receives from her sewing for Timbali Crafts and she has been able to purchase 600 blocks-half of what is needed to build a small two room home (w/out water or electric). What a picture of patience and perseverance. We're hoping that now we can come alongside Jabulile and provide the rest of what she needs to get a new home. Pastor Walter (the main Pastor AIM works with in that area of Swaziland) was with us and said that the men from their church could volunteer their time to build, if we could help finish buying the supplies. Just that morning in his sermon he had said, "If you see something that needs to be done, do it." "Now we will put it into practice," he said. I just talked to Walter again today, and he said the men of the church have already started digging the foundation of the house.
The estimated cost for buying the rest of the materials for Jabulile's house is $1500. If you'd like to donate toward the cost of building a house for Jabulile, follow this link:
Choose Swazi Craft Co-op in the drop down menu, and put Jabulile's house in the comment section.
Juliet was also with us during our visit. What was so beautiful to me was seeing how excited Juliet was for Jabulile. Juliet has her own struggles. Her husband, who had also abandoned her several years ago for another woman, died and left her to pay for all of the burial and funeral expenses. There was a legal battle over which woman would receive the husband's death benefit from his employer. Juliet was homebound for several months for the obligatory "time or mourning" until the matter was settled and the husband could be buried. Finally, Juliet received the death benefit and was able to pay for the burial and funeral, and build herself a new house! Juliet has seen the Lord sustain her and provide, and now she is rejoicing in hope with her friend.
So many of the Timbali women have stories similar to Jabulile's and Juliet's. Another woman has had 4 family members pass away since the beginning of the year. Another talked with me about the anger she struggles with because her husband has at least 7 children with other women, two of which have been abandoned by their mother and are now living in her home and she is now their care giver. These situations are almost unimaginable to me, but pretty much the norm for women here. These ladies are of course, notperfect, but I'm always amazed at the way these ladies persevere, even smile in the midst of hardships, and serve others everyday. Please keep praying that God would be their source of strength and encouragement!!
To read more of Julie's God-adventures in Swaziland and see photos of Jabulile and her house, go to her AIM blog: http://julieanderson.myadventures.org/?filename=a-house-for-jabulile