A Reason to Celebrate

The view from the top of Mbubu mountain. In the picture is Mpumuza/Sweetwaters, the area that iThemba works in.

I don’t usually give people lifts. Partly because I want taxi drivers (as evil as they are) to have jobs. And partly because South Africa has extremely high rates of hijacking. But today there was a lady struggling up the steep hill next to my house (which I know all about, since I walk up it to the grocery store about once a week), and it was also 89 degrees outside. She jumped in quickly and thanked me profusely.

“Oh, thank you Ma, thank you for the lift. I am just going to the top of the hill. You can just drop me by the Crossways pub, Ma. Eh-heeh, Ma, this weather is so crazy! We will all get sick! First it is freezing, and now it is so hot!” My little skedlemba car scooted up the hill in first gear as we chatted about the chance to finally do our washing, and how nice it was to see the sun, but how steep this hill was when walking, especially in the heat. She was a beautiful Zulu lady, with a huge purse and a shopping bag. She noticed me glancing at her bag.

“Oh Ma, can I tell you why I am so happy today?” I nodded. “Oh! It is because it is my birthday today, Ma! And this is a cake that I was given by Madam. I am thirty eight today.” She chuckled with happiness and clutched her cake box. “I am the only one of my friends to make it to thirty-eight. All my other friends have passed. It is because of the sickness here, the HIV. But, I am thirty eight, because Nkulunkulu–I mean, God–has heard my prayers and preserved my life. And in two years I will be forty! Then I will have a big party. To make it to forty years will be so great.” She sat back in the seat and grinned.

I thought of women in American who dread the big “40”. I wished they could meet this lady, who understands that life is a gift.

This week was David’s birthday. The big “23”. 🙂 We are having fun celebrating his life, with guitars, braais and breakfast in bed. Whose life can you celebrate this week?

Praise God for the gift of life, and for a reason to celebrate this week!

Pray with us: For the many people in Kwa-Zulu Natal, specifically the Sweetwaters/Mpumuza area who are infected with HIV/AIDs. This week I was in a Life Skills class with some iThemba guys, and in the discussion it became clear that many students in the class had common misconceptions about AIDS: that you can be cured of it if you take ARV’s, that sleeping with a virgin will get rid of the disease, that only older people can contract it. Pray for the iThemba staff who work with these teens. Pray that the teens will learn the truth and live wisely. 

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