Thursday, August 18, 2011

August 15th: Hello from Swaziland!

Howdy all, I meant to be in touch much earlier but low and behold internet connections aren’t up to the standards we take for granted at home. Because of cloudy, rainy weather we have had very sporadic internet access over the past few days. So after arriving safely on Saturday we made the drive from Johannesburg to Swaziland. It was somewhat of an eye-opener as we left Jo’burg right on the outskirts we passed a township of thousands of stick frame, mud bricked houses. Most of them were roofed with corrugated steel held down by cinder blocks, old tires or anything that would be heavy enough to hold the steel down in a wind. There were also quite a few thatched roofs which I have ofte4n read about in historical literature but have never before actually seen. This was a good introduction to the serious contrast we are seeing all over here. We had some beautiful weather with temps between 25 and 30 for our drive which kind of set us up for a shocker when the next couple of days were rainy and cold… Anyway the rest of the gang had the chance to check out a local crafts market and some cultural dancing on Sunday (I unfortunately was suffering from serious jetlag and slept for 18 hours). By all accounts,the pics and video footage I saw shows that this was an awesome experience!!! They got to experience and participate in some traditional Swazi dancing and drumming. The show stealer was a 7 or 8 year old boy who was a virtuoso on the hand drums. I finally woke up after everyone got home at about 5 pm that evening.

Monday morning amid pouring rain and very chilly temps we got the opportunity to meet with some of the folks from SOS. They took us out to the construction site and the gardening site that we would be working at while here. We also had a chance to tour the SOS Village grounds and one of the houses there. They have 10 children and a house mother in each house (as well as a woman who is the house aunt). The house mother explained to us how she just tries her best to teach the children the basic skills like house cleaning and personal discipline that they will need as they grow older and go out into the world on their own. The children’s rooms were immaculate (we asked if maybe the house mother would come home and give some of us some help with these skills…lol). Even with the rain and cold everyone really grateful to get the chance to see some of the country side and some of the children we would be working with.

DWC Participant
Dan McGowan

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