At its best, Mother’s Day makes us feel kindly and appreciatively toward the women in our lives who have mothered us, grand mothered us, mothered our children, or simply been there with devotion we do not deserve but desire. All of us. Age no barrier. Across nations and cultures.

At is worst, maybe, Mother’s Day makes us feel a little ashamed or uncomfortable, because we have not respected the motherly women in our lives, we have not loved them as they loved us. But the very forgiveness they have extended to us is what makes them “mothers.”

This Mother’s Day, let’s talk about peanuts and thankfulness. They came hand-in-heart to a recent Luke Commission outreach.

Duduzile Mabuza was waiting for the first TLC bus to arrive. She greeted each vehicle and the TLC staff coming to offer compassionate medicine to one and all.

“I’ve been waiting for you! I know you usually come to our community before Good Friday,” explained Duduzile. (In fact, with Easter being early in 2018, this was the last outreach before Good Friday.)

Later we learned, Duduzile had listened for the radio announcement about when The Luke Commission would be coming to her rural area. Then, just to make sure, she called the TLC 24-hour hotline +268 7613 8814 to ask if she had the right date.

“You are here, and I have come to say ‘thank you!’ You gave me back my life. Now I can be a mother and grandmother again. I can be busy at home. I have something to give again,” Duduzile exclaimed.

All this thanksgiving spilled over to one TLC staff member and then another. Waving her arms the whole time, Duduzile’s smiles and contagious glee spread across the crowds as they waited their turns for help.

“I’ve brought these peanuts for you. I grew them. I don’t think this gift is enough, but I wanted you to see my appreciation,” she said.

And why was this 61-year-old mother of two grown sons and three grown daughters, most of whom live with their spouses and children on the family homestead, so excited?

She can see! Last year at this time, her right eye was not opening anymore. A growth on her eyelid covered the whole pupil. It affected her balance and “made it so I could not bend over without pain in the back of my neck. I could not work. I could only sit in pain.”

In late April 2017, Duduzile agreed to come to the Miracle Campus during CARES (Comprehensive and Restorative Eyecare Services) week. “I have come to The Luke Commission (outreaches) since you first started coming to our community many years ago. I know I could trust you,” she said.

Surgery took care of her sight problem. “I am so happy. I can see fine now.”

Duduzile offered this observation: “I give honor to God for The Luke Commission. You are helping the whole nation. You are not doing this on your own. The Luke Commission received God’s word, listened to Him, and came to Eswatini.”

Her renewed sight and zest for being a mother and grandmother also made Duduzile introspective. “One question in my mind is, if The Luke Commission did this for me, how can I help other people more?”

Duduzile has been a widow almost as long as she can remember. When asked when her “babe” died, she had to think and figure on her fingers before she recalled 1984. “It’s been too long,” she sighed.

To raise her five children, she farmed by hand and sold sweet potatoes, and, yes, peanuts. She never went to school, but is proud that three of her children were graduated from high school.

And that’s the essence of being a mother, isn’t it? Being proud and supportive of your children and their children, no matter what…no matter when…no matter where.

“I smile all the time now,” Duduzile said, “but my bones hurt…” (Later, she received over-the-counter pain medication prescribed by the TLC doctor and given in TLC’s mobile pharmacy. Her smiled broadened.)

So to all ladies, Happy Mother’s Day. May your joys outweigh your pains. And to all those men and boys who have had mothers, may your “gifts of peanuts” express your thankfulness.

by Janet Tuinstra