After about two weeks in Cape Town, a group of people from our church came down to do mission work. The organization was called Arm in Arm in Africa. We joined them and went to work at a town called Gugulethu. We worked at a church called JL Zwane. The first day we went, we unloaded bags of food from a truck. We gave out the food to the elders in the town. I thought it was amazing how these 80-90 year-old grandmas could carry six big bags of food on their head all the way home. They all act so strong on the outside, but deep down I believe that they were weeping for their families. They were worried that their children and grandchildren would grow up hungry and not smart because they don’t have enough food.
I think one of the reasons that Arm in Arm gives the food to the grandmothers instead of anyone else in the family, is so the grandmas can feel good about themselves – that they can help their family. I loved seeing the look on the grandmothers’ faces when they took the bags home – full of confidence and happiness. On Sunday Arm in Arm went to church at JL Zwane and when we got there, the room was packed!!! We all watched the service, but I would not call the service “church,” I would call it a party! Everyone was singing and dancing. It was very loud and fun. I loved the people with all their smiles, happy faces, and laughter. It was so wonderful!!!
Two weeks later, Arm in Arm went on a road trip for 1000 miles into a town called Malungeni. The drive was so beautiful and I loved being with the Arm in Arm group! Everyone was so kind and fun, and I was the youngest! Arm in Arm has 14 people including my family. The group was awesome and I could never get enough of them! I love them so much.
Malungeni is a very poor small town far from any city. When we got to the town, we pulled up to this beautiful campus. Everyone in Arm in Arm stayed in a separate dorm room and shared a kitchen and living room. It was simple, but it was everything we needed. The campus we stayed at was a community center, so in the day, people from the town came and hung out in a beautiful space. The cooks were amazing and the staff was so kind.
On the day when people from Malungeni came, the campus was very crowded. There were lots of children there, and I loved to play with them! We played soccer, monkey in the middle, keep away, and tons of other fun games! I thought it was so amazing how these kids had literally nothing and they were so happy! In America we think we need all this stuff. The kids were always so energetic and always smiling! Throughout the day we gave out food parcels, dresses, scarves and hats to the community and served a hot meal every night. Every family in the campus got 6 bags of food: flour, pasta, wheat, cooking oil, beans and chicken. We also had a spa day for the older women and gave them foot massages and painted their nails! The women loved it! They were all so appreciative and excited!!!