Wifi didn’t work last night so you are getting a double dose of the blog today…
Day Six: Today was our last full day in Swaziland. The group unanimously decided that they thought the trip went fast but also couldn’t make it any longer at this pace… we pack our 13 hour days full!
This morning we met with the chief of Malindza. It’s always stressful as a foreigner at the chief’s homestead because there are a lot of cultural norms I just do not know and always seem to be doing something wrong. The chief of eLangeni has known me for almost 10 years so now I am only expected to greet her via WhatsApp so she can welcome me into the community. Malindza, on the other hand, is much more traditional and formal. Apparently, if you are married, you must cover your head with a scarf or hat. Today was the first time since I exclaimed “I Do!” that I took my wedding ring off (Sorry Ty – I didn’t have a scarf!!). Then, I was told that you are supposed to bring the chief a gift – often food related. I rushed to the car and found a bag of peanuts. Don’t worry, they weren’t like airplane peanut size, these were 12.5lb of nuts! I decided that would do… Then, I waited. And waited and waited. Two hours went by past our designated meeting time. Miss Mahlalela muttered under her breath “I wonder what is taking so long”. I suggested that maybe the chief was waiting until he was hungry before he accepted us and our nuts. Eventually he saw us and was thrilled with our report of what we were able to accomplish in his community in our short week!
Due to your generosity, this trip we were able to:
- Deliver much needed soaps to families in the rural areas to prevent the spread of infectious disease (Thanks Power of One Foundation!)
- Monitor the completion of the Maziya child-headed family’s toilet construction. (Thanks Indianapolis Rotary Club!)
- Help build Nothando’s gogo-headed family’s toilet construction from purchasing materials to completion. (Thanks St. Matthew’s and Nichols family!)
- Deliver reusable sanitary pads, underwear, (Thanks Kristen Lee and church girls), and disposable sanitary pads (Thanks Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach) to almost 100 rural adolescent girls to prevent school absences.
- Installed Solar energy in to two child-headed homes energizing 3 LED lights and an outlet for a cell phone.
- Purchased two new cell phones (cheap $20 “burner” phones) for two child-headed homes.
- Purchased a Wheel Barrow for fetching water at a gogo headed home.
- Purchased the materials needed to start building Mazwi and Philo’s home (Thanks to everyone who donated this week on facebook!!
- Delivered emergency food aid to child-headed homes. (Thanks Mitali!)
- Delivered food to our Malindza New Hope soup kitchen (feeding 100 children per day during the school holiday) (Thanks mom!)
- Paid for school fees for our previous scholarship recipients and added 8 new orphaned children to the sponsorship program.
If you would like to come on a future trip to Swaziland and make a difference in our orphans’ lives, please contact me! firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to donate, please do so online: www.ifightpoverty.org/donate.html or snail-mail a check to: 2436 N Alabama Street, Indianapolis IN 46205
Find us on facebook: www.facebook.com/givehopefightpoverty or annie’s personal FB: www.facebook.com/annie.elble
Day Five –
I went alone today to fetch our sponsored college boys and had a “stern talking to” in the car. I asked them if they had girlfriends… 2 of them did. I told them that girlfriends are nothing but drama, money, time and trouble and they should focus only on their studies. The boys laughed. Then Sizo said “but what if I marry them?” and I said that Ty and I weren’t married until we were close to 30 years old. Sizo said that the life expectancy in Swaziland is much lower so I should take that into account. The boys laughed. I guess he has a point. It’s so weird to think of my little babies whom I met in elementary school are growing up into adults now!! AHHH!
We delivered 100 reusable sanitary Pads sewn by one of my best friends Kristen Lee and the girls at her church in Iowa. The pads have a casing that holds an absorbent liner that can be removed, washed, and reused. We were also able to provide disposable sanitary pads donated by Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach to each girl as back-ups if their reusable ones were dirty. The girls were so excited to receive these in their beautiful discrete drawstring bags. Inside the bags were also brand new pairs of underwear donated by Kristen’s church. At Nothando’s house, I gave her a backpack for school and a skirt for church. She was very grateful. But when she noticed that she had a brand new pack of underwear, she was overjoyed. It’s the little things…
We then delivered a wheel barrow to our dancing Gogo who has to walk far to fetch water and carry heavy buckets on her head on the way home. We also went deep into Malindza and delivered recycled soap made possible by the Power of One Foundation in Indianapolis. Hand-washing is a problem to the point that a couple of years ago Rotavirus was killing our children, including our village facilitator’s daughter. We are so thrilled to be able to offer them health and wellness.
Day five, success. Hard to believe tomorrow is our last full day in Swaziland! The group (Mark, Andrea, Rachel, and Megan) worked hard without complaint… super excited to have such a kind hardworking team of volunteers with me!