SwaziCompanions of Iowa

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Well it has been too long since we posted anything—“vacation”, some of you may think.  No, it has also been Holy Week.
We did enjoy the visit last weekend by Jacob Nastruz and his friend Reufus.  I think he has shared some of that on his Facebook page.  On Monday the two young men and this old guy got to some of the handicraft outlets and then to Hlane Game Park – too late to catch a safari but we did spend some time driving some of the roads through the park.  We did see a couple hippos out in the middle of the pond and quite a few impalas before the Park closed. 
In the meantime the Holy Week services started at the UNISWA Chapel Monday evening with Bishop Ellinah preaching and Mary Jane celebrating.  Since we weren’t back in time the Bishop got to do the driving through the fog.  On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the three of us traveled together (Mandla did the driving to UNISWA on Wed & Thur – getting himself halfway home).  This is the parish that the Bishop was serving at the time of her election and where Bishop Alan spent Holy Week during his sabbatical.  It is also the parish where Dalcy Dlamini is currently the rector.
Wednesday night we had to rush back to Thokoza where the Bishop washed the feet of her clergy before they went to their parishes on Thursday evening.  Thursday started with a 7am Chrism Mass at the Cathedral followed by breakfast at Thokoza.
Good Friday services – Jesus Seven Last Words – at UNISWA went from 12 to 2:45.  That gave just enough time (I hope) for the Catholics to get set up for their 3pm service.  There were probably 60 adults and about 15 children at the service and the only “come-and-go” was children going outside to run off a bit of steam.  The Bishop did the first and last reflection; Mary Jane did the second; Rev. David Pritchard (a retired Anglican priest from Canada) did the third and lay people did the other three.  Each reflection was followed by prayers prepared by other lay people.  Of course, music was interspersed throughout.
Tuesday and Wednesday we were also on the road with Arch Deacon Magongo visiting schools.  On Tuesday it was St. Anthony’s (somewhere southeast of Hlatikhulu) and New Warm (and it was not “warm” on Tuesday) closer to Hlatikhulu.  On Wednesday it was back to Mpandesane Primary.  That trip was about 400km round trip on good roads;  Tuesday was half as far but took about the same amount of time.  It always breaks our hearts to go to the south.  The meeting with the teachers at Mpandesane was one of the best ones we have experienced.  The day we visited, the cook was sick so there was no food for the children.  Those kids came to school hungry, and went home hungry.  And in the middle they were singing for us with good zeal.  Of all the school children we have seen, the children at Mpandesane appear to be at the most nutritional risk, and are poorly clothed.  We delivered a batch of new uniforms and jerseys for girls, and uniforms for boys will be delivered later. 
Younger children at Mpandesane
The country closes down on Good Friday (and apparently also on Easter Monday).  Will try to get our packing done on Monday (a holiday) so that we can spend a good day at the office on Tuesday.
Older children at Mpandesane

Finally got back to contacting Fr. Joel Dlamini Friday evening.  We had heard that he was leaving Sunday for another trip to Johannesburg for medical check-ups.  He came into Mbabane today to run some errands and then came to visit us.  Many Iowans met Joel in 1999 as he and six other Swazis planted and painted, etc., across our Diocese.  Several Iowans have experienced God’s call to ordained ministry while visiting Swaziland; Joel had a similar experience in Iowa.  Keep him in your prayers as he continues to fight cancer.
Fr. Joel Dlamini

Easter Sunday will find us back at UNISWA for an 8am Easter Celebration.
Many more things to report but still no wifi at the apartment – and it is slow elsewhere in town – so that will have to wait.
Wishing all a Blessed Easter!
Dave and Mary Jane+


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