Sunday, October 02, 2005

Feet on the Ground (Running)

We are starting our third week here in Swaziland shortly. We are grateful for everyone’s prayers and financial support. Please continue to pray for us. We are finding the cost to live here very expensive. It is hard to imagine that the majority of the people here have to survive on less than $1USD a day. It is a beautiful country and everyone we have met has been most friendly.

We are still trying to get all the little details straightened out (like vehicles, house, schools, etc.). But (& thank you Jesus) it looks like everything is coming together. Daran made a trip to Durban in South Africa with several other Children’s Cup staff to pick out used Japanese imports. It looks like we should have those early this week as God speeds their passage through the red tape at Swazi Customs. Thanks to the kindness of our friends here, we are currently driving a borrowed car and living in a borrowed house. We have looked at several houses and found one that is to come available early-to-mid December. Gabby was accepted at Waterford Kamhlaba UWC and will (re-)finish out eighth grade (Form 2) before staring Form 3 in January. The other children will be testing at Sifundzani Primary School Monday. Hopefully they will be able to start the following week. The school year starts in January here, so everyone will have a chance to finish out this year and get used to the new schools before starting the new year fresh.

Daran has been given the responsibility of managing the construction of the CarePoints that are currently under construction in the peri-urban areas of Mbabane and Manzini. There are two sites in Manzini and two in Mbabane that have been started (the pictures here show the Mangwaneni and Fonteyn sites in Mbabane). There are five completed sites in Manzini that feed hundreds of children every day and provide a place where they can learn that there is a God that loves them and has a special purpose for them in this place of little hope.

Actual construction revolves around a community action committee that helps motivate local volunteers to help with the construction and one experienced construction supervisor. Daran’s job is to monitor progress and work with the supervisor, volunteers and community leaders to make sure construction progresses and is done properly.

Children’s Cup hopes to begin work in the rural areas that are really the most desperate with respect to health care and food. Much of the country has experienced a ten year drought, the land has been overgrazed, and AIDS has decimated the population. We visited a Catholic mission in an area called St. Phillips that is providing care to several hundred orphans in a boarding school (Swazi government does not like the term “orphanage”). According to the sisters who work at the mission, the actual HIV rate in the rural areas is closer to 70-80%, but because there is no proper health facilities close and there is little if any government presence, most are left to fend for themselves. Many of the homesteads have no adults at all, only the surviving children. We are praying for God’s leading to work with this established work to provide help in the form of CarePoints in the rural areas.

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