We began the 3rd day by going to an outdoor market where we were able to shop for souvenirs. It is a huge place down in the valley outside of Mbabane, and vendor after vendor is set up side by side. We were there for almost 2 hours and I still didn't make it to every booth...but I was able to buy a lot of gifts for people at great prices!
After lunch Monica took us to the Sandra Lee Center, an orphanage in Mbabane that is directed by an independent missionary named Robin Pratt. Robin had the vision of starting this orphanage about 11 or 12 years ago, and through some gracious donors, she was able to do just that! They started with 1 building and now have 6 or 7 buildings on their property...all debt-free thanks to Sandra Lee and her family! After the way I reacted at the hospital the day before, I wasn't sure how I would handle the orphanage. God was so gracious, though, and I had no emotional issues there BECAUSE I could tell how loved and well taken care of the children were. There were 23 children living there at the time (she can hold up to 32), but I think Robin's going to try and get some more in the near future. Most of the children she brings home (and this will be their home until they finish high school) are abandoned children who are left at the government hospital. For whatever reason, their parents do not want them and just drop them off...can you even imagine?? I'm so thankful there's a place in Mbabane like the Sandra Lee Center where these children will learn that they ARE loved and they ARE wanted...not just by Robin and her staff, but more importantly, by a God who created them and loves them just the way they are!
When we walked into the first house, these cuties were sitting down eating some broccoli. I just had to get a picture because Riley loves broccoli! I knew he'd enjoy seeing this.
We took a bunch of toys with us to give out to the children. They, of course, loved them and kept wanting more! Children are children no matter where you are in the world! :)
This is Sibongile (See-bon-gee-lay). I met her when we first arrived at the center, and this was the welcome I received from her. :) I then decided to make it my mission to get her to smile. You'll have to keep reading to see if I was successful!
The preschool on campus. The older children leave to go to school each day, but the preschoolers go right here. What a great facility it was!
Inside the preschool building. I helped with the youngest ones during Bible study/craft time, and we felt it was best to sit them down at the tables inside the school. I think it was a wise decision. :)
For the craft we gave them each a bandanna and they were able to decorate it however they wanted. We wrote "Jesus Loves Me" on each one so they would always remember WHO loves them!
It was hard to get a picture of the entire facility because the buildings were pretty spread out. Basically, there's a large open space/playground in the middle and buildings surround it on every side.
After leaving the orphanage, we headed to Sibebe Rock (the 2nd largest granite rock in the world) for a children's Bible study. Every Wednesday afternoon, children from the area gather with Maria (one of our translators) to sing, learn a Bible story and play games. One of the neat things for me about going to Sibebe was I had been there 8 years ago with my friend, Nikki, who is actually the one who started the Sibebe Bible study. Nikki was a journeyman in Swaziland while I was in South Africa, and when she left to go back to the U.S., Maria agreed to continue meeting with the Sibebe kids.