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When we were about to leave, two guys from Taiwan stopped us. They are here on the Taiwan Medical Mission and work for the Mbabane Government Hospital. Their group consists of 4 guys: 2 are Public Health Masters students, one is a chinese herbalist doctor, and one is a western medical doctor. They are all quite shaky on their English skills and have a hard time interacting with their patients. They asked us to be their tutors…
Ricky Martin… who knew that his name is still spoken around the world… I thought he was a one-hit-wonder with the most awful “hit” in history. But, surprisingly enough, his name was brought up today – in Swaziland – by a Taiwanese medical doctor. The guys who want us to be their tutors picked us up today to talk about our plans. I won’t even begin to try to say their real names, but they gave us their “English” names so we could remember more easily. Brian, Michael, Ray and the last guy’s name I could not understand. That’s when he clarified with Ricky, like Ricky Martin. Wow.

Then, they took us to their SUV. When we were backing up to leave the meeting location, the driver did not look back and backed into a stopped vehicle. The driver of the other truck was not happy. Here in Swaziland, car insurance is a scarcity. The driver was happy to find out that the Taiwan Medical Mission has insurance and his truck will be fixed. I often wondered where the people on Purdue’s campus got their driver’s licenses… but now I know, Swaziland.

I have never been to Taiwan and really know nothing about it, but I figured that with every developing country (and even developed!!), the people have seen a dirt road. Not these guys. Today when we were getting dropped off, we told them to turn down our road and they looked frightened. They asked us if we ever see lions in our backyard. If you were here, you would definitely laugh. We live in the city. No lions for a hundred miles in any direction. They are in for a treat if they ever get a chance to go to rural Swaziland, like where we are supporting our school children. There aren’t even dirt roads there…

“God bless you, and bless you, and bless you some more” – Elangeni Headmaster.
Today we went to Elangeni to finish paying off the school fees for the students. The headmaster sat Anne and I down and expressed his gratitude for giving these children hope. He said the worst part of his job is turning away students who wish to learn but have no money for fees. I think his gratitude is better directed towards you, because without your support back home, we would have never been able to send the large number of children to school!! So THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

We had a little money left over and so we were able to fix Nomfundo and Sizolwetho’s broken window. The children live in a structure made of clay and cement and there used to be one window before a storm wrecked it. They have boarded up the window with a piece of tin; but with the lack of electricity, there is absolutely no light inside the house. Now Nomfundo and Sizolwetho will be able to study in their home and also they will not have to worry about the flooding problems they have been experiencing. To build a new window was only $35 US. And it looks great!!

Little Sibusiso Kunene lives in a house made of clay and due to the constant heavy raining, most of his home has collapsed. He is the 7th grader we are sponsoring who lost his mother and father to HIV/AIDS. Right now he is living in a tent temporarily until they find enough money to build him a new structure. Anne and I are going out this week to see what we can do to help. Hopefully he wont be in the tent for long!! I don’t know anything about building a house though…

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