Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Aug 10: Chapter 14 - Parting is Bitter Sweet

Our final day.  Rob, Gillian and Tommy headed out early today to tie up some last minute loose ends at SACRO while the rest of us enjoyed a more leisurely start to the day.  Once we were all back together we headed off to the Pre-School in Mbabane for a visit with the little ones.  Upon our arrival we were greeted by the welcome wagon - smiling faces all ready to play with us.

As it was a 'cold' day (it felt like it was maybe 15 degrees celsius) most of the students stayed home and school was being let out early (kind of like the Canadian version of a 'Snow Day').  As we huddled  in the classroom we played with some clay and applied "I Love Canada" tattoos on the children's hands.  We wonder how the children explained that to their parents.  With a few new toys in hand we moved the party outside to play catch, attempted to blow some bubbles and engaged in a dance-off. So you think you can dance? Wait till you go head to head with a Swazi child!

After saying goodbye our group took the short drive over to the SACRO Drop-In-Centre for a visit.  It was pouring rain so forty plus children and a dozen adults crammed into the little building.  Unfortunately our soccer match was no longer possible.  As a consolation Rob attempted to teach them a song complete with hand motions.  While they seemingly had no idea what he was saying they were quick to pick up the words and actions and seemed to enjoy the experience.  Despite the rain the children were sporting their newly donated soccer uniforms and purple "JP 2113" t-shirts.  After another round of goodbyes we headed back to Manzini.

The evening found us back at the Road Lodge once again around THE BIG RED COUCH with our friends from SACRO.  After two weeks of getting to know one another we couldn't think of a better way to bid our farewells than with a party.  Finger foods, libations and plenty of dancing were enjoyed by all.  Who knew Bob and Gillian would be the "Dancing Queens" of the group?!  As a token of appreciation SACRO presented each of us with a gift, a traditional Swazi wrap complete with a picture of the king.  And for our fearless leaders a special bowl for Rob and a Knobkiry for Tommy.  As the evening came to a close we exchanged our information, hugs, and many wishes for the best. 

The last two weeks have been a roller coaster ride of emotions, people, scenery, conversations, and experiences.  It's all good!

Lessons of the Trip:
Tommy - Some of the best smiles and warmest hugs are among the poorest of the poor.
Gillian - Things change. Again.
Rob - Make a difference.
Mirella - It's all about the heart.
Kelly - Connections are key.
Bob - Dancing is the universal language.
Chris - A little listening goes a long way.
Anya - It's the relationships that make it beautiful

Disclaimer - After fourteen days of blog writing Kelly is still saving me grammatically.  You're an amazing teacher Kelly, I'm just a slow learner!

Anya Malda
DWC Participant
Swaziland, August 2013

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