Discovering Life, Learning and Leadership

What do you do when two orphan boys grab your hands and drag you through their classroom?  You enjoy every moment!

Bulembu students showing Arthur Tymos their Grade 1 school work and classroom

Day 17: Monday, 2012 05 07

Up early, we drove 4.5 hours from Johannesburg to Bulembu, Swaziland.  Highways in South Africa are good and the scenery reminded me of British Columbia in places.  As we approached Swaziland, the trip became somewhat mountainous and we encountered pine and eucalyptus forests.  We arrived in Bulembu at lunch time and enjoyed meeting many great people over the next 24 hours, including Andrew le Roux, Executive Director, and Vernon Puttkammer, Director of Child Care.

After lunch, Vernon gave us a superb tour of Bulembu and showed us their ministries and sustainability projects.  We saw how the orphan care and homes are structured for children of various ages, from infants up through teenagers.

Our tour included the Honey business (ate it at meals and it was delicious), Creativity Centre, Water Bottling business (also enjoyed drinking lots of it) Bakery, town Kitchen, Clinic (like a small hospital), Dairy and Sawmill.

One of my highlights was hi-fiving and/or shaking hands (often African style) with some of the students as they walked to their homes after school:

Greeting Bulembu students on their way home after school

I particularly liked the backpack this youngster was wearing:

Bulembu student wearing backpack donated by Creation Technologies a few years ago

We ended the day with an excellent dinner at the Bulembu Country Lodge and a nice chat in the adjoining lounge with Andrew and Vernon.


Day 18: Tuesday, 2012 05 08

A team from Athletes in Action and Trinity Western University were also at Bulembu spending time with the children and doing soccer camps.  It was great to meet some of them Monday afternoon and to see them all at breakfast Tuesday morning.

After breakfast, we toured the Conference Centre, hospitality training kitchen, self-catering detached guest homes, Pre-Primary School, Primary School, High School and the Bulembu Museum.

The Bulembu Christian Academy is doing a spectacular job and there is much I would like to share about my experience in meeting the students, principals, teachers, special needs instructors, librarians, etc.  I will save my thoughts on this for a future blog post but for now would like to say that I was blown away by how well the schools are operating and how much care and attention is being given to education.

My highlight on Day 18 was visiting the Grade 1 class (see photo at the top of this post).

After another scrumptious lunch at the Bulembu Country Lodge, and some goodbyes (we would have liked to spend more time at Bulembu), we drove back to Johannesburg and caught an 11-hour flight to London Heathrow.


Day 19: Wednesday, 2012 05 09

It has been a fantastic trip but I can’t tell you how eager I was to get home to see my darling wife Judy, our other children Brittany and Matthew, extended family, friends and colleagues.

While tired (I slept on most of the flight from Johannesburg to London which is unusual for me), we left Africa with a sense of satisfaction knowing that God would use our efforts to make a difference in lives.  We also came away with new relationships with awesome people, great memories, 786 photos (even after deleting several hundred) and almost 9 hours of video (Nathan and our Sonrise Church video team have their editing work cut-out for them).

I also left Africa with two stone-carved elephants in my backpack which made it rather heavy and raised a few eyebrows going through airport security.  If the baggage handlers scanned our checked luggage, I wonder what they thought of the large wooden hippo?

If you missed any of my previous posts regarding our exciting adventure in Africa, please see:

Please check out the Sonrise Church Orphan Care website to learn what you can do to help make a difference in Africa.  In addition to Mission Trips (our third team this year landed in Zimbabwe just after we left), with the help of friends like you, each month the Sonrise Church Orphan Care program is supporting hundreds of orphans and impoverished children in six centres in Zimbabwe (Kadoma, Musana, Rugare, Mbare, Bulawayo, & Wedza) and one centre in Mozambique.

Also, please visit the Bulembu website to learn how you can support the phenomenal work being done in Swaziland to create hope and a future for hundreds of needy orphans and to raise up future leaders for Swaziland and beyond.  The love and care that the Bulembu team provides is impressive.

I wrote this blog during our 9-hour flight from London to Vancouver and am posting it the day after we arrived home.  Nathan and I were the first two people on board our flight (yes we were extremely eager to get home).  Of the six flights we took in the past 2.5 weeks, the service on our last flight was by far the very best.  Thank you and well done Air Canada crew on AC855!

One advantage of flying a lot is earning upgrade credits.  We used some on our last  flight:

Arthur & Nathan Tymos on AC855 from London Heathrow to Vancouver

Would you like to make a difference in someone’s life today?  If so, how?  Have you been on any exciting adventures lately?

5 Comments to Days 17 to 19 African Missions Trip Finale

  1. Alexander Tymos's Gravatar Alexander Tymos
    May 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Verey good work done well

  2. Papa Yorke's Gravatar Papa Yorke
    May 11, 2012 at 4:23 am | Permalink

    Feels like I was there with you on this trip…congrats and many blessings to you all for what you’re doing to glorify the Lord!

    Akwaaba ! (welcome back)

    Nyame nhyira wo (God bless you)…Fante language from Ghana.

    Nyame is God
    Nhyira is blessing
    Wo is you


  3. Sylvanna's Gravatar Sylvanna
    May 11, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Hi Arthur

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience in Africa with us for the past 2+ weeks! It’s kind of sad that your trip has come to an end….now, I do’t have any more ‘African Adventures” to look forward to from your blog…. 🙂

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