Thursday, August 12, 2010
New friends, new country
This past week I had the opportunity to go to Swaziland for the first time. A friend of mine, Kacy, had to renew her visa & since Swazi is only about 90 minutes away, we decided to go across the border for the night. I had heard how beautiful the country is & wanted to experience it myself.
Swaziland is the last remaining kingdom on the continent of Africa. The king has about 13 wives & marries from different tribes to ensure that there is no tribal wars. I would think that would create wars, not prevent them! Anyways, the drive was stunning. Mountains & views like you wouldn't believe. The first town across the border is Bulembu, which is an abandoned mining town. Asbestos was mined there & you can still see where they have cut into the mountains as well as the cable cars for transporting the asbestos. After the mining companies pulled out, the town was pretty devastated. In addition to the lack of jobs, AIDS/HIV are very high in the area. The town was left with orphans & people with no opportunities. A mission organization came in & bought the town. They now run the town as a tourist destination with all proceeds going towards orphan care. The goal is for the town to be completely self-sufficient by 2020. Care-givers & job training have been set up, homes converted to hotels, a honey plant started for jobs & a wonderful restaurant serves the tourist & brings in much needed jobs. All in all, it's a wonderful town with a future that seemed hopeless before.
And the best part of the trip was spending time with my friends Kacy & a team from her home church, Bay Area Community Church. You'll have to read the next blog for more about them!