Wednesday, April 23, 2008

God uses Abby in a mighty way!

I’m not sure if I can fully put into words the happenings of yesterday. My heart is still so full!

Because we didn’t have class in the AM, we decided to take the whole family out to eNseleni to the Hospice support group meeting. After 7 months of growing friendships out there, it was time for them to see our kids and meet us as a family.

We prepped the girls for what they would see; the building is old and breaking, almost everybody only speaks Zulu, some people might look sick.

The arrival was typical. We greeted people as we made our way to the seats, Abby responded in Zulu and Emily in English. The interaction that I was most interested in though, was the greetings with Alaphina the “head Grandmother” or Gogo as they call it. We had worked for months to gain her approval and for awhile, didn’t know if we would ever get it. She is tall, rough and respected. Alaphina smiled at the kids and greeted them in Zulu (she does speak some English) then we all found our seats. A few minutes later, Abby gets up and heads over to Alaphina (completely surprising Kyle and I, this is not like Abby). She says, “I know a Zulu song” and starts singing one of the songs that has a click in it. Alaphina’s eyes light up and she starts singing with her. They then they start singing another song which Abby knows and Alaphina has a whole group join in. Abby was just beaming. Then after a bit more conversation, Alaphina reaches for Abby and pulls her onto her lap. The rest of the meeting is spent with Abby snuggling down and Alaphina all smiles (not typical). When someone would comment on how much this white girl liked her, she would say, “well, I’m the gogo for this whole area!”

When the meeting came to an end, Alaphina stepped outside and Abby thought she was leaving. Abby ran after her to say goodbye and give her a hug. I think this really touched her because she explained to Abby that she could be her granny here in South Africa.

After the group watched these two interact, they even responded differently to us as we left. Usually, I get one or two hugs as we walk out the door. Today, everybody came to give us a hug. Bringing our children to this HIV support group, we knew would have a big impact. It shows that we are not afraid of them and do not see them as outcasts, but as friends who we want our children to know. We looked forward to our children helping bridge some of the gaps in our cultures and life situations, but never expected this response on the first visit!

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