We celebrated World AIDS Day a day early in my community. This event would have not been possible without the countless community members and organizations that so graciously helped out – my counterpart Fezile, the High School-provided entertainment- singing, drama, play, poems and tables + chairs, PSI- HIV testing and counseling, the Sandleni inkhundla (local leadership), the MC, the Info Center – providing pamphlets, brochures, bandanas, and candles, the Ministry of Health, Swanepha, ADRA, the women in the Support Group – whom cooked and the number of community members who came (about 200 were in attendance!!)
Vigil – remembering and reflecting on loved ones that passed away from AIDS.
HIV testing and counseling
We made a commitment to show our support and solidarity for those infected and affected by HIV.
My community assessment revealed that HIV-related stigma and discrimination is a huge issue in the community. The numbers indicate that there are still new infections of HIV (Swaziland is most devastated by HIV – 1 in 4 people are infected). Breaking down the walls of shame can lead people to access information, support, prevention, and treatment…the goal for the event was to do just that.
It was exciting to see the community so engaged, inspired, and empowered. My hope is that they walked away with at least one piece of new information.
*If you don’t know your HIV status I’d encourage you to get tested tomorrow – knowledge is power ✊🏾
Sahle kahle (stay well)!
Feasting at the Country Directors house on Thanksgiving.
The menu included: pork, turkeys (fried and baked), potatoes (mashed and roasted), stuffing, salmon, cranberries, baked macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, salads, a variety of different breads, fried cabbage, and sweet potatoes.
Dessert: pineapple upside down cake, pumpkin pie, chocolate brownies, banana pudding, cake, pumpkin bars, and apple pie. 😋
*HUGE shoutout to our Country Director Glenda for hosting 80 volunteers and making this event so special.*
My host family! I fall more in love with them everyday. (Missing 2) 💜💜💜
We are grateful for the rains! It’s plowing season in the Kingdom. My Sisi and Gogo have been working extremely hard, sometimes in excruciating heat. 🌱👒
The disciples from South Africa came to visit for the weekend, we had so. much. fun!
Making hand washing fun…tippy tap style!🖐🏾
Swazis are so innovative! #reducereuserecycle ♻️
Go to the people
Live among them
Learn from them
Start from where they are
Work with them
Build on what they have
But of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The work is completed
The people all remark
We have done it ourselves
Lessons I learned about bugs:
+ Stay stocked with DOOM (insect spray) and keep it near you at all times.
+ Shake out your clothes before putting them on (a spider about the size of the palm of my hand came out of my jacket one day).
+ Check the floor @ night before putting your feet down.
+ Mosquito nets will be your saving grace.
I found a way to hang mine! 🎉
+ Lizards are your friends (they eat spiders and mosquitos).
+ Trust your gut. After a movie night in Gogo’s house, I asked my host sister to walk back with me to my hut because I had a bad feeling about something. Lo and behold, I open the door and turn on the light and a bat is flying around!
😖 my host family rescued me!
I’m currently sitting in the teachers lounge soak and wet from this mornings rain. It’s a bit uncomfortable and as much as I want to grumble and complain I let out a huge sigh of relief.
Swaziland is recovering from a terrible drought. The whole country is suffering – people are crying out for water, the rivers are drying up, the fields aren’t growing which in turn leave people with no food, and livestock are getting wiped out. It’s been so heartbreaking to watch this all unfold. Although not to the same extent, I can sorta see how the Israelites felt during the seven years of drought.
I have to continue to pray for rain and the days of drought to end because the rains here mean life.