Life thru Pictures: Part 6

Umhlanga (translates to reeds): Is a tradition in Swaziland that celebrates/showcases young maidens (unmarried/childless girls and women) every year around August. 

*Pictures taken by PCV Kirby.*

1st picture: King Mswati III.

2nd picture: Reed dance.

3rd photo: PCV Alison participated in Umhlanga this year with the girls in her community. Please read her blog here to hear all about it!

Rainbow 🌈 Dash. 5k event with PCVs Kirby and Akirah. 🏃🏾‍♀️

In observance of International Day of the Girl, PCV Dawnita put together a day long Swazi GirlsBelieve conference for girls in grade 5-7 in her community. The day included a mind/body/soul & spirit activity, a panel with powerful and successful Swazi women (panel included a singer/songwriter, psychologist, and former teacher/financial professional), a photo booth, entertainment, food, HIV testing, a reusable pad making workshop, and lots of laughs and fun! Attending the event was inspiring, empowering, and motivational. #whoruntheworld 👯

3rd picture: Dawnita with Peace Corps Country Director, Glenda Green and U.S. Ambassador to Swaziland, Lisa Peterson.

📚📚📚 Thank you Books for Africa and to everyone that donated towards the project. 1,000 Books were distributed to 30 schools in Swaziland! We are extremely grateful for your sacrifice and contributions. 💜

*The high school in my community was chosen to receive books through BFA and we are so ecstatic! I will keep you all updated on the status of our library. *

Full.

August was a fun-filled month of vacationing. 😍

First – my beautiful friend Theresa came to visit me. It was such a special time.

Theresa flew into South Africa and I met with her there. We spent a few days in Johannesburg, our friend Felicia and her family hosted us.

Johannesburg is such a cool place with so much to explore – we went to the Apartheid Museum, Mandela House, church, hung out with disciples, and I ate like a pig! Johannesburg reminds of home in a sense that it has the same fast food corporations – McDonald’s, Burger King, Cinnabon, Popeyes, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, etc! 

Theresa rented a car. After service on Sunday we drove to Swaziland. Theresa spent a little over a week with me in my community. My host family even gifted her with the name “Amahle” which means beautiful in Siswati. I made sure we had things to do – she was visiting during the last week of Term 2 but was fortunate enough to meet the students at the high school. I planned two reusable pad making workshops with the GLOW girls and HIV Support Group.

We also acted like tourists in Swaziland. I took her to some of my favorite places (Vickerys, the gables, Manzini, Mbabane, the cultural village), she met a few volunteers, and she also got to meet the disciples in Swaziland!

It was so difficult to see Theresa leave but I’m forever indebted for her stay and the memories we built. 💜

Month end, I traveled to Namibia to visit my friend Ingelore. Our friendship blossomed in 2007 during our college days at PLU. The last time I saw Ingelore was May 2015 in D.C. I always told her I’d visit her in her homeland and I’m so blessed I got to do so.

The days were filled – we traveled to the city Swakopmund. There, we went to sandy beaches that overlooked the Atlantic Ocean, we rode ATV’s, hiked Dune 7. We also went to Etosha National Park (the only wildlife I wanted to see was elephants and tigers and I saw all that plus more).

I also spent a considerable amount of time with disciples, did some site seeing, ate traditional food, met new friends, went to the art and history museum, China town, and also ate great food there. I could tell my clothes were a bit snug after my month long vacation (I stepped on the scale when I got home and saw I gained 5 lbs 🤷🏾‍♀️). 

That 5 pounds was worth it. I feel “heavy” in all the right places (I feel more relaxed, joyful, and content).