- We woke up and visited a remote Carepoint connected to an Assemblies of God church. It was a large facility, but it wasn’t running because these Carepoints only run from Monday to Friday and we happened to be there on a Saturday morning.
- Even still, children started pouring in to play and hang out. Out of nowhere, they circled them up and played games and sang songs. (duck, duck goose)
- The Pastor’s wife teaches them songs and they sing them with her. I bought one of her cd’s which features her songs and the children’s choir accompanying her.
- On the way home we pulled off the side of the road and Jumbo brought us some awesome chicken and cooked cabbage. It was delicious! We took it to his house and met a couple that works in the most remote and destitute Carepoints in the desert lands. This is where Suzanne has done a good bit of her work. We will not be able to visit these check points due to the tenuous nature of some of the things happening in that region. They didn’t go into great detail about what was taking place, but they are trying to iron out some wrinkles occurring here at the moment. The Carepoints are functioning still, they just find themselves in a transitional stage. My conversation with those particular leaders was disturbing and heart stopping. Meeting these leaders who are laying down their lives to keep people alive is humbling and unsettling concurrently. I don’t know how to live with myself after leaving their presence.
- We then made two home visits where we drove into the remote country to meet these people where they live. Before we visited two homes we picked up a girl by the name of Claira who served as our translator. She is being discipled as a young lady who is trying to keep herself pure until marriage and make something of herself and her future for the Lord and her future family.
- The first home we visited was made of sticks, mud and straw. I believe there were 6 children and a mom (rarely and amazingly their father was there as well...this is unusual due to the Aids pandemic). His head was down in shame and disgrace almost the whole time. It was the first home visit, so the up close and personal vision of poverty hit me very deeply. I prayed publicly after we talked with them for a bit and cried as I asked God to shine down His face on their homestead. We left them two bags of food as a blessing.
- The second home we visited was as single mother of 6. Her first husband died of Aids and left her with 4 children. She met another man, had twins with him, and he is nowhere to be found. When we got to her house, the kids had food and flies all over their faces, the one little boy was naked and shy, and her 10 year old daughter just stood by the door and watched us talk to their mother. The mother was delightful and beautiful. She was deeply grateful for our prayers and the bit of food we left her. It was surreal because the view from her house was beautiful, her house was the size of a standard bedroom, and the yard was covered with trash and garbage. Everyday these people have to walk miles just for water say nothing of education and food. That was what floored me.
- We came home and got ready to go to dinner with Jumbo. He took us to a restaurant for some good food. I had a steak that was delicious. We were able to talk more personally there and were able to ask questions about his leadership and his longevity of vision for Swaziland. He seemed very optimistic about his stamina for the picture God had planted in his head for Children’s Hopechest.
- What I love about Jumbo is that he doesn’t just have a heart for missions (what I mean by that is the spreading of the gospel), but he wants to begin a holistic ministry that creates sustainable health through the indigenous population. He is a venture capitalist, entrepreneur, visionary and a confident leader. He is straightforward, no holds barred, honest as Jesus, and as serious as a heart attack about his mission in Swaziland. His vision to create a micro-economy of employment for those who are coming up through the Carepoints is critical to long-term systemic change in their Swazi value system and cultural norms that are filled with denial and ignorance.
- Just brief notes about the economy and psyche of the Swazi culture:
o 95,000 are employed and roughly 950,000 are unemployed (90% unemployment)
o 70% of those employed are government jobs which means there are only about 25,000 actual jobs outside of the governmental system propelling the economy. Herein lies the hopelessness the hovers over the land like smog.
o The government is on the brink of folding because of lack of funds, which will result in even more unemployment and chaos in the culture.
o To make matters worse, of the business and employers, nearly al the people employing the Swazi’s are Chinese and Indian businesses. They run pseudo-sweatshops and pay next to nothing (sometimes failing to pay them at all by lying to them about lack of revenue). The Swazi’s have no choice but to keep working in hopes that money will come eventually.
o The average wage per day is less than 2 dollars in the nation.
o This country has the lowest life expectancy and the highest HIV/AIDS rates of any country in the world.
o Sex trafficking is epidemic due to the lack of basic essentials and the extremes young woman will go to in order to secure food for their families and the children.
o Women do most of the labor and heavy lifting to hold families together and fight for survival and the men are by and large lazy and unmotivated.
- We came home, settled in our rooms and recovered from the visual and emotional trauma of the day. I can’t think of anything to call it but something similar to “Post Traumatic War Syndrome”. I’m not comparing war to watch we say, but when you experience darkness and death and despair on the level in which it exists in the Swaziland, it is traumatizing on some level, this I know.