Swaziland: Day 2

Tuesday, just after 3pm: Back at Maguga Lodge for a lunch break before heading off to the local hospital in Pigg’s Peak.

Distribution no. 1 was this morning; it took place in an open field in Pigg’s Peak, and it was awesome. About 1,000 kids, all ages. Did a lot of field recording with the Zoom machine. Boy, those kids were bloody loud! Fantastic. I interviewed one of them: a young girl who wants to be a journalist when she leaves school. Gave her a few tips (I just hope I haven’t put her off the job!).

Beginning to learn a bit more about how the shoeboxes get put together back in the UK before being sent out to these far-flung corners of the world. Need to get into that a bit more with Trevor.

Tuesday again, later in the evening: The hospital trip in the afternoon was a much smaller, yet more intense, affair than the morning’s big gift dish-out. Big or small, these visits are all moving in their own way. This one gave a glimpse into some of the challenges women here go through sometimes. The mother of one kid in the ward we visited told of how her husband and her sisters-in-law would often gang up on her. Her son had both legs in slings (broke them while taking a dive off some stairs) and was going to be in hospital for about a month. She was particularly grateful for the toy cars he received, as he now had something to keep him occupied whilst recuperating.

I’m learning a bit more about OCC and its long-term strategy, re. mission work and social justice internationally. Also about the volunteers in the UK who put these gift packages together, and how much it means to them. And getting real tight with my bros Clement and Blessing, two of the four interpreters assigned to the team. They are awesome dudes.

According to Clement, “Swaziland is a country that has just one of everything.” One language, one tribe, one mobile phone company (which takes full advantage of its monopoly status in its tariffs), and up until recently one television channel. They now have two of those – but there’s really not much difference between them. Not that any of us are watching telly on this trip, anyway…

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