Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The last two week's activities

The last couple of weeks have been full of extremes. So I know, what else is new? This is Africa the land of extremes. On the 18th of February Laura, her friend Danita and I left for South Africa to see more of that country than just Johannesburg, a township outside of Johannesburg and Nelsprit. First we drove to Kruger National Park which is only about 2 ½ or 3 hours from Manzini. The unusually rainy summer has resulted in the grass being taller than normal and it was incredibly hot so we didn’t see as many animals as we usually do. But we did have three incredible lion sightings.

Then we went to Cape Town. What a beautiful city. It is so metropolitan it almost felt like we weren’t in Africa. We did a lot of hiking (Lion’s head peak, around the top of table mountain, and around Cape Point). We also visited Robben Island where the black, colored and Asian anti-apartheid activists were imprisoned which of course included Nelson Mandela. On our way to Cape Point we discovered that there are South African Penguins. They are called Jack-ass penguins because they make a noise like a donkey. It was amazing. We also encountered several baboons along the side of the road.

Then on the 27th Laura and Danita returned to the US and I returned to Swaziland. Typical Swaziland, I came back to a clogged sewer system outside my place, discovered my fan had died and found I had an oil leak on my car. It took me a couple of days driving around from place to place before I could finally get a replacement fan and find someone that would look at the oil leak which turned out to be a worn out bolt in the oil pan. They are just now starting to try and unclog the sewer system. I will see how long that one takes.

On Saturday, the District Manyano came to Swaziland for their outreach. The women had collected clothing and food items to bring for orphans and needy families. Some of the donations are going to the Nhlengethwa family (Mthokoisiwe and his sisters). The ladies were supposed to be at St. Paul’s around 1:00 so they could deliver the items in person to Mthokoisiwe and his sisters, however, they didn’t arrive until almost 5:00 so that didn’t happen. But in typical African style, I spent a lot of time sitting in the shade waiting, listening to the ladies talk in SiSwati and enjoying the respite from the heat and humidity. When they did arrive, it was amazing to watch the joy and singing as the women brought all of the items into the church so they could be blessed by the Superintendents of the Central Circuit and Mahamba circuit. The women from the Mahamba circuit cooked a wonderful dinner that we all enjoyed. (Methodist women everywhere are great cooks – excluding me of course!) The only downside of the District outreach project is that on Monday, Thoko was left to do all of the sorting and figure out how to distribute all of the clothes and food items that were left for Central Circuit. As I was helping her count and sort the food items it reminded me of similar drives we have done back home as UMW (United Methodist Women). I shared with her some of those projects and also told her for the most part we decided it was easier and cheaper in the long run to donate cash and let the people distributing the items purchase what is really needed. However, I also told her that many women prefer to donate the actual item because they feel more involved so I understand the District wanting to bring the actual items. And it was impressive to see all of the items.

Tomorrow we’re going to deliver the clothes and food items to the Nhlengethwa family. I am anxious to see how they are doing and how they have lived through all of the rain we have been having here.

Have a blessed day!

Lion at Kruger we drove down the rode with on our night drive at Kruger National Park:

View of Table mountain from top of Lion's Head:

View of Lion's Head (yes, we hiked to the very top of it), Cape Town, the bay and Robben Island in the distance:


View from as close to the actual point as we were allowed to walk.

We hiked from the point down to the beach below (over 200 steps down plus Sand dunes) and then over to as far as we could go on the cliffs to the right.

Manyano Outreach food collection:

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