So here we are Thursday night, already. It is past missionary midnight, which we have been told is 9pm. We are starting to understand why. I have not blogged in a couple of days, so I will do a little catch up.
Tuesday we were very excited to be included with the medical team travelling to do clinics at the care points in the Nsoko region of Swaziland. This is a whole new area for us. It was about an hour and 20 minutes away from Manzini. It seemed we were driving through a wealthy area, the houses were big and new looking (we have learned that looks can be deceiving), but the further away we got, the poorer the conditions of the homesteads became. We drove into a less hilly corner of Swaziland, a more agricultural area, with huge fields of sugar cane. This area is flanked on one side with a high ridge marking the boundary with South Africa. I was somewhat disappointed, to find out that we were going for a tour instead of helping out with the medical clinic, but it turned out to be such an eye opening educational experience, for which I am so grateful. As our host Stephen drove us from care point to care point, the U2 song “ Where the streets have no name” came to mind, and has taken on new meaning for me. The roads were hardly more than dirt tracks. At one of the care points we stopped to greet, which is the proper thing to do in Swaziland, making sure to leave no one out. A young woman was very interested to hear that we were driving around on this tour, and expressed how much she would like to also drive around with us. I politely deferred to Babe (bahbae) Stephen, realizing that this young lady had probably only been as far as her little legs could take her, and even though that might be miles, it would afford her a very tiny view of our GREAT world. It was yet another humbling reminder of how privileged I am.
Todays highlight for me, was spending time at one of Riverwood’s care points, Enaleni. I had an “Aha” moment as I recognized a familiar face, a little friend I came to know as Pato on my last trip. I had seen her at another care point we visited yesterday, and though her face stood out, I could not pin point why. Today it hit me who she was! Pato has grown so much, she speaks English beautifully now that she is in grade three, and she was a delight to be with for the short time that we had. I was so happy to take a picture with her to send to her special friends back in Canada. Another highlight was sitting with the Mages ( Mahgaes) and Gogos, mothers and grandmothers, who cook at the carepoint and really keep everything running. These ladies are so amazing! They deserve great honour. I was so very pleased to sit and help dish out food for all the children, and to share some laughs. I felt a great connection.
Since Ingrid does a good job highlighting the key stories of our trips I’ll just give some point form thoughts from the last couple of days:
-sometimes your days don’t go exactly as you planned so you have an opportunity to play with kids… for many hours. We don’t mind at all but I am kinda sunburnt.
-guitar players are superheroes around here with all the kids at the care points which makes me seem better than I really am.
-children are sometimes scared of big hairy guys. this applies to both Canada and Swaziland. I may have made a few kids cry today. The others like me a lot 🙂
-seeing a giraffe on the side of the road, on your way home, is pretty cool.