Day 1.5
Last night we arrived safely to Swaziland and our journey was surprisingly uneventful. We got a brand new Toyota Furtuner (against my wishes as off-roading in Swaziland is going to turn this thing into beauty in no time) and we drove to Swaziland without mishap. 

This morning we woke up to go to Nomfundo, Timmy, Mazwi, and Mphilo’s church service in eLangeni.  It’s always alarming how welcoming Swazis are to visitors.  This morning the pastor announced that there were “perhaps” people visiting the church for the first (group of volunteers) or second (me) time and “if there were such visitors” they should stand up.  As the only white people in the room in flip flops and fanny packs (only half of that is a fib), we felt the need to rise as there was no blending in to this eLangeni Village community crowd.  Instantly the music started and a single file line of grannies, mothers, and children formed to greet us and welcome us to their church.  I received more hugs this morning than I did in my previous 30 years combined.  Afterward we took the team of Give Hope, Fight Poverty orphans to Mbabane for lunch and shopping for toiletries. 

It never fails that an extra orphan gets jumbled into the bunch.  Nomfundo asks if her sister from another mother can join us.  Of course I say yes.  Then as the young kids are scarfing down their huge plate of rice, chicken, and beef tips (probably the first sight of meat since our previous trip to Swaziland) Nomfundo paints a picture she knows I cannot refuse.  Zinhle is a young orphan who shares a deceased father with Nomfundo.  She had been living with her maternal grandmother after her mother died in a village with no school so Nomfundo offered to take her under her wing, allow her to move in with her in eLangeni, and go to school at our amazing secondary school.  But she needs help.  And I cannot say no.  Sorry Kait – add one more to our ever growing roster of sponsored orphans.  Zinhle is in Form 1 at eLangeni Primary and is as sweet as can be. 

After the girls bought soap, sanitary pads, deodorant, and toothpaste at Clicks Pharmacy we drove back to the Msibis for a dance-off sing-off competition.  Who knew that one of our volunteers, Lacy, had a wild card in her back-pocket.  All of a sudden during some “down time” she got up and choreographed an entire Celtic dancing routine for the orphans! 

This is the very first trip in seven years that has started off running.  No major glitches and only smiles from our volunteers.  It’s always interesting to see the US volunteers recognize various things as you hear them say things like “people actually LIVE there?” or “all four of those sisters sleep in the same bed?”  I love exposing people to the situation in Swaziland as it is dire but everyone can help.  Even a smile, hug, or Celtic dance lesson helps these kiddos so immensely.  And kids like poor Mazwi need it.  He is quite ill with his face entirely swollen and covered in bloody sores. More tomorrow as we venture deeper into the school of eLangeni.  Thanks for your time and support!!

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