I thought I’d share bits of my day with you. By American standards, it wasn’t very productive, but by African standards, I think we accomplished a lot. As my time here gets shorter and shorter I realize just how much I will miss doing what I do here in Swaziland. I will miss this country, the beautiful people and the way of life that is based more on relationships than a to-do list.
Our plan was to be ready to leave Manzini at 9:00 this morning. Well that didn’t quite work out. I didn’t even leave my place to walk up to St. Paul’s until 9:15 which is good because Thoko arrived shortly after I got there. She and Sibongile packed up some donated clothing to give out today. When we were finally about to pull out of St. Paul’s, Thini arrived. The project she was supposed to lead today (making laundry fabric softener) had to be canceled because when she went to town this morning to buy the “chemical” used to make it, the store was out of it. So we waited another 10 – 15 minutes for her to change into her Manyano uniform and come with us. We finally left St. Paul’s about 11:00.
Our first stop of the day was to go to the Chief’s Koral (homestead) for the area where Mthokozisi’s house is. In Swaziland, the people that really take care of the country are the Chiefs. Each Chief is appointed by the King’s inner council. Only a male can be a Chief. The job gets passed down to his son when he passes away. If there are no sons, the Chief’s wife takes over the role until she dies. We were going to speak to the “acting” Chief. Her husband passed away 20, yes that is 20 years ago. They only had daughters so she has been running the chiefdom for 20 years. From what I know about her and saw, she’s doing a darn good job. One can’t help but see the irony of this. Women aren’t good enough to be a Chief, but they are good enough to run a Chiefdom for 20 years. Crazy. Chiefs have a lot of power in this country. Anyway, our mission was to talk to the “acting” Chief about the house for Mhokozisi and his sisters, and let them know when it would be dedicated. There was also a discussion on Mthokozisi’s gogo who has been giving everyone a lot of trouble.
When we left the Chief’s Koral went went to LaMawandla High School where Mthokozisi, his sister Nozipho and another boy, Mncedisi attends school. One Child supports Nozipho and Mncedisi. The Manyano supports Mthokozisi. We were going to see how our kids are doing and to bring them a few school supplies they needed.
From the High School we went to pay a visit to Babe Maseko. He is the grandfather of one of our Lutsandvo Lwa Krestu kids, Nothando. When we met Nothando and Babe Maseko he had 6 or 7 orphaned grandchildren living with him and his wife had a hard time getting around. His wife passed away last year. He actually called Thoko and asked if she could bring him some sugar. It’s not like Babe Maseko to ask for things. So we planned on bringing it to him and then found out that he wasn’t feeling well. So, we took him some sugar and tea and sat and visited with him for 20 or 30 minutes. In situations like this we have a real concern of how to keep the grandparent as healthy as possible because if they get sick or die there is no one to take care of these children.
I got home a little after 4:00 tired, hungry and thirsty. I didn’t have anything to eat or drink from breakfast on. (What you drink must come out and I’m not real big on squatting under a tree or by the side of the road!) Unfortunately, there aren’t any McDonald’s out in the rural area. (Or in Swaziland for that matter!) Go figure!
So this was my day. It was a lot of driving, sitting and listening to conversations in a language I can’t understand. But it was a good day and I am beginning to realize how much I’m going to miss these Swazi moments.