Friday, October 27, 2006

I am so excited, I really am. The sight of half packed suitcases brings home to me the reality of the fact that I reeally am going to Swaziland.

I've never been to a place like it before or since I've been desperate to get back there and I'm just so anxious to get back to Hawane farm in Mbabane to see some of the faces that have burnt such a long lasting memory in my mind.

Swaziland is such a place of paradox. Amongst the immense mountainous beauty of the tiny kingdom there is the ravage of AIDS. Swaziland has the highest rate of AIDS in the world. There are all sorts of facts and figures, but those really in the know believe the rate to be to the order of 50%.

I wouldn't blame you for not knowing where Swaziland is. It's virtually in the bottom right hand corner of Africa. Swaziland is a tiny kingdom of just over a million people nestled between Mozambique and South Africa.

The red dot in the picture opposite shows you precisely where Sue and I will be going next week. he journey is a bit of a pig - a few hours drive down to London, an 11 1/2 flight to Johannesburg and a 3 hour drive into the most beautiful place I've ever been.

Those of you who've lisened to me before will know why I'm going - I'm visiting an AIDS orphanage and project. I belong to a church that supports the work there. I'm absolutely delighted and incredibly proud, relieved - I don't really know the word - to say that the folks at the church raised £7,500 in one week to build a children's home - that means that 10 kids lives have been saved.

I will be avidly recording audio and photo's to capture as much as I possibly can for you.

If you've not heard them - please check out podcasts 86 - 90 - you can get them from the right hand side of my page by scrolling down. The podcasts are a real experience - there's some amazing sounds, incredible interviews with folks. I can honestly say that the best ones are those that don't feature much of me. The people I met are amazing - and that's what makes the podcasts stand up on their own.

I can't wait, I really can't!

Speak to you all REALLY soon!

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