SwaziCompanions of Iowa

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Saturday in Mbabane

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
After two nights and a day of rest in Johannesburg, we flew on Thursday morning to Swaziland where we were met by the Bishop of the Anglican Church of Swaziland and the Dean of All Saints Cathedral.  The new airport is over an hour from Mbabane and apparently doesn’t suffer the fog delays that were frequent at the old location.  (I’m not sure that I have had the experience before of landing, making a U-turn on the runway, and taxiing back on the same runway toward the terminal—but it worked!).   

We have moved into a small apartment that will be our home for the rest of February and March.  This is in a guesthouse owned by a member of the Cathedral congregation.  We have a kitchen so can do some cooking.  Water rationing is imposed by shutting off water to various neighborhoods for a few days at a time.  The Diocesan Office has been without water for the past several days; the water here at the apartment was shut off during the day on Friday and is expected to be restored on Sunday.   Our host had two water containers delivered today—5 L and 25 L—and will bring more if we need it.  We will be in good shape, but at least two schools in Mbabane sent their pupils home Friday because the promised water tanks hadn’t arrived for storing the water that the government has promised. 

There was some rain Thursday night in Mbabane, but not what is needed.  The previous night they had a thunderstorm—lots of noise and very little rain.  Areas in central Swaziland have had some more rain so there is green grass.  We saw empty fields east of Manzini, which were not planted during this growing season.  The disaster comes later because it was too dry in October to plant the maize in many areas. 

The meeting Friday morning included the Bishop, the Dean, the two Arch-deacons, the diocesan secretary-treasurer, the newly hired director of the new Department of Social Development, the young man who will lead the agricultural and environmental portions of the Social Development agenda, a representative from Hope Africa, and two Iowans trying to listen and learn.  This was a brainstorming session to put together an outline to guide our collective work over the next two months.

Our prayers today include Lydia Kelsey Bucklin, as she is ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Scarfe at St. Andrew’s in Des Moines today.  Lydia provided some words about how her trips to Swaziland and continued connection to the Swazi young adults has shaped her journey to priesthood to include tomorrow as Mary Jane preaches at the English service at the Cathedral. 

Thank you to all of you for your thoughts and prayers supporting us, and know that we carry you along with us in this journey.


  • Thank you for the prayers Mary Jane and David! I am with you all in Spirit as well and so grateful for the work you are doing and for hearing what difficult realities our friends are facing with this drought. It is painful to hear about. Holding you all in prayer and love. - Lydia

    By Blogger Lydia Bucklin, at 4:24 AM  

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