Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Finding my feet in Swaziland.

I've been at Hawane Farm today - the wonderful place that houses so many of the AIDS orphans.

I was shocked at the expansion of the work here since I last visited the project just 12 months ago. A gift shop now occupies the front of the orphanage with the most incredible sculptures, ceramics and artwork for sale, all to bring in much needed revenue to keep the work going, a cultural village has been built, again to attract guests to ensure that this vital work keeps afloat. The sums are low, but much needed.

It was both surreal and overwhelming to see the half constructed home that will house 16 youngsters - the money raised from our last trip paid for that. Just £7,500 for a home. The maths are ridiculous: £468.75 to save the life of a youngster. It's shameful isn't it? I spend more than that in a quarter on clothes, music and ancillary rubbish.

The work that Kevin and the team put into this project is something I honestly cannot convey in words, audio or pictures. These folks give their entire time - and I mean it, their entire time to look after kids that otherwise, quite honestly would just have nothing, and would most certainly die. These folks live in the place and it courses through their veins. They absolutely love the precious kids that range from as little as 2 up to 17 and would do anything for them.

I mentioned previously that Kevin turned down the offer of his father's luxurious hotel business as he felt he needed to do the work with the kids. Do you know anyone like that? I don't. I'm in awe of the man who is just a year or so older than me.

To see kids who would have nothing - no home, food, shoes, hope is something that is a tonic to the soul. I started to listen to some podcasts today and had to stop. The topics that seem so important to us in the west, are, largely superfluous. There is nothing more important than life. This may seem so melodramatic but things really come into perspective in a place like this. Sadly I know I'll readjust again when I'm back...but not quite. Something of Swaziland goes home with you. I absolutely adore this place and the people.

The electricity and iternet connection seem to be a source of ongoing nuisance, I cannot load pictures at the moment as it seems to crash the tempremental WIFI. I should complain - some of the houses I've seen are made from mud, sicks and stones, and the size of a tiny garage with something that constitutes a window and door with a floor made from cowpats. Like I say, you really get perspective. You listen to something western and it just sounds so trite - last year I remember having the AIDS stricken kids on my mind, switching on the tv. and having some made up, overpaid model shaking her hair in slow motion whispering that she was "worth it". That really affected me.

Back to reality: the storms here have been amazing, the sounds, smells, scenes, are all incredible and I hope to share them all with you over the coming days.

See you all soon.

Thanks so much for taking the time out to read the blog. Do come back tomorrow and I'll most likely have another entry and/or a podcast for you.

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