Sunday, November 2, 2008

Melanie in Manzini

I have no idea whether I will ever be able to publish this blog entry. It is sweltering hot and the winds are cyclonic and this means one thing: the electricity goes off for a few seconds every couple of minutes and I lose everything I have done on the computer. I’m typing in a word document and saving as I go, but who knows if I will ever make it onto the internet….

Yesterday started well. Susan woke me at 8am and asked if I wanted to go into Manzini- did she really need to ask?! I haven’t been out of Siteki for over a month, so I was desperate for some time away. I called Chris and like me- she started squealing with delight. We were really hoping that this would be the weekend where we would be able to “escape”. Susan will be working here for a year and she actually gets paid to do her project here, so we thought all our Christmas’s had come at once when she purchased her own vehicle last week.

I spent my morning preparing for my big trip into the “metropolis”. I shaved my legs, wore my $50 pink lace French knickers and applied mascara. I felt a hundred times better than what I had during the week. For my male readers, the significance of all this will probably elude you, but hopefully my female readers will be able to appreciate just how uplifting a little bit of primping can be.
There were four of us that ended up going on the “big trip” Susan, Chris, Kristin and myself. (If any of you are wondering why I haven’t mentioned Julia in a while, it’s because she is holidaying in Uganda with Farrah and Emerald. She returns on Friday).
The first place we visited was our usual “haunt” at Swazi Candles. We enjoyed a beautiful lunch and the girls kept remarking just how contented I looked. My joys in life are simple- beautiful scenery, good coffee and the company of friends.
We then went in search of gifts for Christmas presents and I was delighted to find some Christmas cards that I will have to send off soon. We finished our day by going to our favourite supermarket- “Pick n Pay” where I was able to buy some of my luxury items that I am unable to buy in Siteki. The day was fabulous but a little overwhelming. On the drive back home, I developed a migraine and by the time I got home, I was a mess. Nevertheless, a few drugs and a good night sleep later, I woke up this morning feeling much better. I have spent the day reading some gossip magazines that my best friend Courtney sent me from the States. It reminded me of just how far away I am from the reality of the Western world. I feel very torn between the “two worlds” I have been living in. I’m working in remote Africa and at the same time, I’m reading about Britney, Jennifer and Angelina. I really have no idea how I’m going to adapt once I return to Australia.

Speaking of which, today marks exactly 6 weeks until Mum, Graeme (my step-dad) and my sister Rachel arrive. I cannot wait to show them Swaziland. We have planned a holiday in South Africa, but before that, we are going to do some volunteer work in Swaziland. We are going to volunteer our services at the orphanage in Bulembu for a few days and then we are coming back to Siteki and organising a day camp for a group of orphans. We hope to spread a bit of Christmas cheer amongst those who are not as fortunate as us.

Speaking of Christmas cheer, I would like to make a special request to you all. From reading of my adventures in Swaziland, it would be obvious that I am a passionate supporter of the orphanage in Bulembu. From all the places of need that I have visited, I am convinced that this is the place that offers the most hope for the vulnerable children of Swaziland. I have witnessed first hand the amazing work these people are doing. I have seen with my own eyes just how well nourished, loved and nurtured these orphans are. Just last week, the orphanage received 3 more orphans. They now have 14 babies, 19 toddlers and 5 children aged 3-4 years. The workers there are committed to the children, their health, their spiritual growth and encouraging their Swazi culture. I truly believe that this place has the potential to offer hope to future generations of Swaziland. I would like to help them by asking you for a monetary donation. They are struggling financially to cope with the increasing demands of looking after 38 young children. For example, they go through 8kg of washing powder each week. (all babies wear cloth nappies and in addition to all the clothing and bed linen, this makes for endless loads of washing!). They need money to buy bread, peanut butter, formula, cereal, nappy rash cream etc, etc. They also need money to employ the Swazi women who are there to feed, burp and change all the babies. They rely solely on donations- they do not receive any government support. Sending items is too expensive and difficult to actually get to this location, but all the above items can be purchased in Manzini and my family and I will purchase these and take the items to Bulembu.
After a discussion with my family we have decided that the best way to co-ordinate this is the following:
Send a cheque to:
Sally Woodings
7 Stowe Court
Forest Lake 4078
+61 7 3879 7662

If you would like to donate cash, then you can contact my parents and they will organise to collect the money from you.
As soon as my Mum receives the cash/cheque, she will issue you with a receipt. (please send put your address on the back of the envelope)
Mum will cash the cheques and transfer them into South African rand (this is the most economical way of handling money in Swaziland)
Once we reach Bulembu, we will have Robyn, who runs the orphanage, write an individual receipt to each of you on behalf of ABC ministries.
I can promise you that every cent that is donated will go to those orphans. I know with Christmas approaching there are any demands on the family budget, but believe me, here in Africa, even the smallest amount of money can go a long way. I ask you to please consider giving to this amazing charity.
Anyway, another week is about to start at Good Shepherd and who knows what I will be challenged with. Stay tuned.