We haven’t blogged as of late, not because we haven’t been busy, quite the contrary, but because we have a lot of projects in the works. We have our nose to the grindstones. By the end of August we will have lots to report. Right now we are plodding through the necessary groundwork to ensure successful projects.
A quick update as to what we are working on:
Addy is planning a massive camp/community clean up day with the Malindza Refugee Camp located down the road from us. For this project she has collaborated with the Swaziland Environmental Authority, our local Umpakhatsi (village council) and local Rural Health Motivators to put on a week long workshop focusing on health and sanitation, proper waste disposal and a host of other health-related topics. Speakers are coming in from all parts of Swaziland and different disciplines. The workshops will be held at the camp for residents and for the Rural Health Motivators. On the last day we will walk from the camp to the BoMake market picking up trash. Our grant went through which includes provisions for trash cans which we will place along the road and in the camp. Without proper waste disposal plastic bags and discarded wrappers from ema-sweets and ema-chips bloom and waste becomes a major problem. This is especially apparent in the winter months when there is no brush to hide the shocking amount of trash lining the road.
Ryan is still plowing through on his soccer tournament. The first meeting was held at the end of last month with coaches and players and the HIV Awareness Tournament has FINALLY been scheduled. Right now he is working trying to get an accurate count of all interested parties for the coaches/players worksho to include in his grant. Friends and family have come through in spades donating soccer jerseys to the cause. Big props to the Hall family, Stroup family and Kathleen and Nate Steel for donating soccer jerseys. This thing is really happening. Promise. Slowly. But it is happening.
English class at the camp is going swimmingly. We have broken the classes into three levels. Addy teaches the advanced class, Ryan teaches basic literacy.
In big news, the Refugee camp has found an “angel donor” for some much needed services. A donor in the states has raised money to pay for the school fees for several of the very needy in the refugee camp. School fees in Swaziland are criminally high and many families cannot afford to send their children to school. This donation has put us in touch a very nice lady who lives in Swaziland whom we have been working with to see that funds get to the children. She is passionate about refugees and has decided to help make three derelict buildings in the camp into a library and crèche. She is donating very generously from her own pocket. We helping her with preparation for the work and will, of course, assist in replacing doors, windows, painting, etc… The refugees are ecstatic about the prospect of having a library. A worn out paperback is passed among the camp residents until it is battered beyond readability. This is a big step and a huge boon to our English and literacy program.
Schools have been quiet these days as teachers continue their waya waya (indefinite) strike for a 4.5% increase in their salary. As a result school has been either canceled or erratic for the past month. Needless to say this has put a dent in Ryan’s previously air-tight schedule. Oh well. You can’t win them all.
Group 10 has come into Swaziland and Addy has been quite involved in their training as she is on the Peer Support Network (PSN) which acts as a kind of volunteer leadership program. Luckily their training is not as far as it was last year, but these duties have taken her out of the community quite a bit working with the volunteers.
So, our noses are to the grindstone. Next month will be a month of huge celebrations and sighs of relief as we close some of our projects. Look forward for good news to come.