Monday, November 3, 2014

The "Celebration"

Three days before our mission was over,  we had a big official celebration for the completion of the orphanage.  It was a great day for all of us.  Philomene, the orphanage director invited many of her friends and members of her family.  We invited other missionary couples and some of the "white" families from the ward.  They either work for the church or the US embassy.

We started with balloons and visiting.  We then had some speakers, including the neighborhood "mayor", Philomene and Ed (with his interpretter.) 


There was much gratitude expressed and many tears were shed.  Certificates were given to all of the workers and those who had given of time and money. 

The Johnsons are the Humanitarian Missionaries and they were honored for helping to coordinate a donation from the church.  Ryan and Stan, from Westland Construction from the US, donated most of the materials for the wall.  They had to be in South Africa on Saturday, so they had come for their tour the day before, and left their message of thanks and appreciation to all, to be delivered by their superintendant, Larry, at the celebration.

However, Ed was the Hero of the Day.  As Philomene expressed, "This wall and this project are a  monument to Elder Gates, of his life and what he stands for."  What a beautiful way to say it! 

After the ceremony we had a short barn dance.  The Limbo and Chicken were big hits!  

The children of the neighborhood snuck in and watched the festivities sitting on the new stairs Ed built ...   and many watched by peeking over the wall. 

After the barn dance and treats of cookies and soda, I walked around and gave each of the children from the neighborhood a sucker.  About a dozen of the kids looked afraid of me and wouldn't take the sucker.  I think they were told not to ever accept anything from, or go anyplace with "Moondellies" (White People). 

We started playing African music.  Immediately the women jumped up and started dancing. 


Finally we invited all the neighborhood kids into the walled in yard and allowed them to dance for about 30 minutes to African music.  It was a magnificent experience for us to watch and experience!

Thanks to the contributors and the great guys below for making all of this possible!


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