SwaziCompanions of Iowa

Monday, November 26, 2012

Packed & heading home

Our apologies for the apparent silence.  We have been having a great visit with extremely full days -- the gate at Thokoza closes at 10:00 pm and most nights we have not been here by that time.

The first couple of days were occupied with companion/partner meetings.  On the day of Bishop Scarfe's consecration, One World One Church met with the three companion bishops, +Alan, +Meshack and +Neville.  Bishop Ellinah (el-LEE-na) had a couple days but also had no time to meet with her clergy before facing the wider companionship.  She has met those challenges with grace.

Our two "on-the-road" days were both long.  One does not make a trip to Mpandestane or Matsenjeni (sp?) without visiting the other.  The Thursday trip went to the far southeast area of the country.  On Friday we got a late stop but visited Luve and Lomahasha (northeast) and the house Fr. Charles and Thulie are building near Siteki.  It was after 9pm when we got to a restaurant that night -- and after 11 when we got to the gate at Thokoza.  Saturday Paula stayed in Mbabane while the others of us made a trip to the Hlane Royal Game Park.  The three of us shared a "safari buggy" with a urologist from Bemidji, MN, and his taxi driver from Siteki.  It was the first trip to the park for the driver.  (He also had some advice for our driver who got stuck near the watering hole and caught the biggest share -- but not all -- of the mud from the spinning tyers.  It did take another jeep to pull us out.)  Elephant, lions, white rhinos, warthog, impala (including several little ones) made for a good day.

Yesterday we got to Esganeni (sp?) to Fr. Charles' "big" church.  There were 420 attending from his five churches for +Ellinah's first official parish visit.  That was followed by a pot luck dinner -- an Iowa innovation to western Swaziland.  Later we met Katie Walters, the Peace Corps volunteer from St. Andrew's, Des Moines, who came here in June.  We gave her a ride part way back to her home -- leaving her at another volunteer's home in Mankayane.  That gave us an excuse to drive a gorgeous route that we hadn't seen before.  However, whoever it is in South Africa who has Julianne's luggage is probably enjoying the monster bars from home.

The sun has come through -- at least part of the time -- so we do expect to be able to fly out from Manzini this afternoon.  (Plan B is to drive to Johannesburg.)  Still have to return the rental car -- I've almost learned how to shift and access the emergency brake with my left hand.  We have exceeded our 200 km/day allowance (no unlimited "mileage" here!) so will have to see how much that costs.

Thanks for all of your prayers.  We will continue to post some reflections as we have time.


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