SwaziCompanions of Iowa

Monday, February 15, 2016

Visiting NCPs


Saturday we met Rev. Orma to visit for awhile at St. Matthias and then took her for an early supper in Ezulwini Valley.  She has lived most or all of her life in that area, once worked in the tourism industry, and “I used to be young” so she knows the Valley of Heaven quite well.  She is now “retired” but had two services on Sunday.  She has also had health problems – hip and lower back – which put her in the hospital in South Africa for a week a few months ago.  She is better now, but keep her in your prayers.

Since the internet café with printer closes at 2pm on Saturday and is not open on Sunday, the homily was printed before we saw Orma.  Sunday went fairly well I think.  The Sinaxists (lay liturgical leaders) are very well trained so we couldn’t go too far astray.  Children tend to not receive communion but they then crowd the communion rail for their individual blessings—a joy for that priest from Iowa.  After our Sunday afternoon naps we did go for a walk.  We have found a route that is much less vertical than most of the others so can go out and back in about 40 minutes.  The other observation from Sunday was that on Sunday morning the golf course was empty!

Monday morning we drove to Manzini to meet Thandi Zulu and take her to three of the  neighborhood care points (NCPs).  Mandla used a pick-up to get food in Manzini to deliver to all three of these (and one more).  We got to Luve (one of the more-visited-by-Iowans sites—going back at least to Dr. Charles Hawtrey and Beth Rapson’s visit there in 1998) by about 9:30 and visited with the volunteers there.  Some drip irrigation lines were installed last week but the garden is not yet planted.  The well and pump are working, but electrical costs keep going up so it is expensive to run.  They would like to install solar panels for running the pump and other electrical services at the site.

From Luve we went 20-30 minutes west (I think) on a gravel road to the Care Point at Ekukhanyeni. Driving through the mid-veld area is a beautiful experience.  Looking as far as the eye can see, one can seem to hear the voice of Meryl Streep as Isak Dinesen saying “I had a farm in Africa”.  We saw several  fields of maize and one that was uniformly tasseled.  But, there is very little grass for the cattle, and it seemed too easy to count the ribs on most of them.  There was only a little standing water in a river we crossed.   I don’t think any of us had been there before and had to stop 2 or 3 times for directions but eventually got there.  There is an older building which was the church.  The newer building was designed for feeding children.  The fireboxes for heating the kettles are outside but the large pots are inside.  There is a room which is the kitchen, a small storeroom, and a larger room which is usually the dining room—today we met in there some children ate outdoors and some in the older building—but also serves as their church space.  They are trying to gather funds to build a new church on the property.  This site started through providing Home Based Care, getting supplies from the parish nurses in Manzini.  The Manzini program has declined as the retired nurses age and there have not been adequate reinforcements, so the HBC program at Ekukhanyeni has floundered somewhat.  The feeding program grew out of the initial HBC service and has continued to be active.

Questions of land ownership continue to arise.  Land was “given” to the Ekukhanyeni NCP for gardening, but then an adjacent property owner claimed the land was his.  The church and priest are trying to work to resolve that issue.  Both buildings at this site have metal roofs with gutters draining into water storage tanks.

As we returned, we stopped at the Mothers’ Union feeding site near the campus of St. Michael’s Anglican High School in Manzini.  This site serves a meal on Saturdays only, but also runs a preschool during the week.  During the Saturday time, they have volunteers who teach such skills as knitting and wood carving.

A lot to take in for one day, but the week shall continue.  Tomorrow morning we visit Anglican schools at Malkerns and Usuthu Parish (the Luyenga farm property) with Archdeacon Bheki.  On Wednesday we will visit some additional NCPs and then return for the inaugural meeting of the Social Development Board.

After reaching 90 F this afternoon we did get a “thunder storm”.  There was lightning and thunder, but no more than a few drops of rain.


  • Dave, I am jealously reading your blog for my heart is clearly still in Swaziland and I would return in a heartbeat were I able to do so . Take care as you travel among these loving and gentle people. Luve has a large part of my heart as well as it is there that I have made lasting friendships from so many years ago.

    By Blogger Harold R., at 6:42 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home