SwaziCompanions of Iowa

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thursday, 11 February

Thursday, February 11, 2016

We were trying for a post every couple of days, but sometimes life gets in the way of those intentions.  A few updates and a couple of pictures:

Tuesday we visited the Luyenga Farm, land that was given to the Diocese by the King many years ago.  This land–on the side of a mountain—includes The Luyenga Farm Project on 35 hectares (86 acres; 1/8 of a square mile) rented to United Societies – Ireland, the Usuthu Mission Church (and a new building under construction for their worship), two schools, and a handful of small homesteads.  The Diocese is applying for a grant to provide for the planting of trees on areas of the land not suitable for farming or other development (and also water-harvesting at a number of parishes).  There is also some of the property that is not very suitable for farming but is somewhat more horizontal than the rest of the mountainside.  Eventually they would like to build some flats (apartments) on that section to provide more rental income.  Both of these efforts would help the diocese move in the direction of more sustainability.   Mary Jane and I got a tour of some of those areas along with (L to R) Archdeacon Bheki Magongo, Dean Advent Dlamini, Archdeacon Gregory Makhubu, Revd. Peter Zungu, priest at Usuthu Parish, a warden of the parish, Bishop Ellinah, Rev. Mary Jane, and the other Usuthu warden.  We got a later than expected start to the morning so the women of the parish had lunch ready for us before we left.

On Wednesday I met with Archdeacon Bheki to schedule some visits to Anglican schools.  He chairs the Education Committee for the Diocese.  And we have met some each day except Tuesday with Ms. Thandi Zulu, the newly hired Director of the Department of Social Development for the Diocese.  She began her job on the day we flew out of Iowa so we are working on goals, plans of action, assessment planning, etc.  Next week we will go along a couple of days as food is distributed to Neighborhood Care Points (NCPs) and Thandi visits some of them for the first time.  We will also visit a couple schools.

Thursday morning a group of women from the Cathedral meet in the Bishop’s living room to pray with and in support of their Bishop.  Mary Jane and Thandi (fourth from left) joined them for this photo-op this morning.  I believe it is the third woman from the right who told us that she and her husband were the first Swazi lay people to visit Iowa – with Helen Wilson.  Any of you Davenport area folks recognize her?  She had “lost touch” with Helen and was clearly saddened when I told her that Helen had passed away a few years ago.

Morning comes early—6:30 Eucharist tomorrow.  MJ’s last chance to “observe” before being the celebrant (and preacher) on Sunday.

Water came back on before supper tonight—a few hours later than we had anticipated.  Such a relief to be able to run water from the tap!

Blessing from Swaziland!


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