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December 2018 eSwatini trip, Day 1

I decided this go round not to use the kids names to maintain their privacy on the world wide web… Sorry if it gets confusing, I know you are concerned about the kiddos you may have been following for over a decade.

It’s now morning here in eSwatini and yesterday – when we arrived here at noon - we hit the ground running.  We bought food for the kids, medicine for the clinic, school shoes for their uniforms, and went to play with some of the kiddos in the evening.  We learned that one of our kids is likely on the second line of ARVs.  I always had a suspicion as the child has been HIV-positive since birth and is now 15 years old.  Often the body tends to develop resistance prior to 15 years.  Apparently the doctors switched the drugs in 7th grade.  Although HIV is a chronic disease in America with drugs to maintain you for your natural lifetime …Swaziland currently only has two lines of drugs available to the public. I’ll now be ferociously praying for a third line of drugs to become available before our sweetie needs it.

We also learned that one of our child-headed family’s eldest sisters decided it would be a great idea to start a lucrative bar at their home despite the fact that their home is full of young children who are particularly vulnerable to drunk men.  I asked where her 5 year old daughter is while the men are lingering around getting intoxicated.  Our student just hung her head and didn’t answer.  She did say, however, that she has been woken on more than one occasion and asked to be some drunk man’s “girlfriend”.  Where can I hire a bodyguard? Ferociously praying for a bubble of safety around the little ones at that homestead.

The one good news story of the day is one of our children got to meet their paternal grandmother for the very first time!  The grandmother learned about our child a while ago and has been frantically searching for him ever since.  You see, the father left the child after the mother died when the child was only a baby and was never seen again.  He ended up dying of HIV eventually and his family never knew of the child’s birth until his death bed.  Our child spent Christmas with the grandmother, aunt, and some of the grandchildren. They enjoyed learning about their father and learning about the 4 half siblings they never knew they had.  The siblings are much older and a couple of them have good jobs (police and a nurse).  I am hopeful that they reach out and offer some support to our child – however minimal it might be. 

I was the last one asleep and the first one awake! If you know me, you know I sleep a lot at home… I think I’m always in training for these trips.  Saving up sleep for the deficit that will soon be inevitable.  And the country has apparently decided to permanently rid itself of my caffeine source - Coke Light (diet coke) after years of it being scarce.  So I’m awake solely on adrenaline. Haha.  Here’s to the start of day two! 
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