What I Learned from a 5-Year-Old in Swaziland

Racer John Harbold of 2014 G Squad learned a valuable lesson about thankfulness one evening after dinner, when he went outside and met a 5-year-old boy who hadn’t eaten all day.

“Are you hungry?”


“What have you had to eat today?”


That was my conversation with a 5-year-old while sitting outside our team house last month in Swaziland. The sun was setting across the African landscape and something within me said to go outside. I walked outside and was taken aback by the beauty. However, behind the beauty of Swaziland lies a darkness that has a stronghold on this nation in alcoholism and HIV/AIDS. But as I walked outside and had a brief but heart ripping conversation with a 5-year-old, I understood the magnitude of poverty’s impact on this nation.

Last month in Swaziland we shared water with the community of Nsoko, which is where three of our teams stayed for the month. Our team house was located at the end of the line for water. If someone from the community was filling up water at the pump then we wouldn’t be getting water. This was the first time that I experienced not having water easily accessible.

In America we are blessed with so many things but it seems that nothing can completely satisfy us: Food, jobs, transportation, shelter, clean water, etc. We are always in want of more. This is how I’ve lived my life. It took me a trip halfway around the world and a conversation with a 5-year-old to realize that I have a ton to be thankful for back home in America.

As I walked outside and sat down beside the little 5-year-old I could tell he wasn’t feeling well. I started off the conversation with asking him his name and age. Then I asked him the questions about being hungry and what he had eaten throughout the day. I couldn’t help but ask God, Why would you let this little child go hungry? After praying and reflecting over the month and conversation with this little kid, I realized how ungrateful I had been for the things I am blessed with back home.

Our society likes to preach that we always need more. More money. More power. More stuff. The problem with that mentality is we end up living to please ourselves. We seek out what we think will ultimately satisfy us when in fact nothing ever can satisfy one’s soul more than knowing the One who created him. I’ll tell you what: if the 5-year-old had a cold glass of water and a peanut butter sandwich, he would’ve been extremely grateful.

*Photo by Amanda Patchin

I want to encourage you to step into a spirit of thankfulness along with me. The Lord has blessed me with many things and I want to be in constant communication of thankfulness towards him. Be in prayer for the people of Swaziland. That they’d be fed physically but more important that they’d be fed spiritually. Be in prayer for the D-team, the Malloys, the Spraggs, and the other Adventures Long Term missionaries who are all following the Lord’s calling on their lives to minister to and partner with the people of Swaziland.

I want my life to be about sacrifice. It’s not my life. I want my life to say: All I need is Jesus. Life is nothing without Him.

Swaziland. What a month. Best month yet.

*Top photo by Amanda Patchin

Want more information about Adventures’ partnership in Swaziland? Click here to learn more.