It has finally arrived after just over 3 years living in The Kingdom of Swaziland. To be exact it has been 1,150 days since I put my feet on the ground in Swaziland. I arrived June 24th, 2014 and will now be departing this wonderful kingdom on September 27th, 2017. With just about 40 days left in Swaziland I made a list of 40 things that I will miss about Swaziland and Peace Corps. I have been posting them each day with photos on Facebook so be sure to check them out there. (They are in no particular order)
|Overlooking this mighty Kingdom of Swaziland|
1. The preschool that I was able to help establish and seeing the smiling faces each day as I passed by. They have been able to graduate over 80 children now for the first time ever.
2. The size of the avocados here and being able to buy them for less than 50 cents each (USD). Was able to make the best guacamole ever.
3. Sunsets and sunrises over the landscape each and every day. God’s creation is amazing.
4. Traditional attire from the men and women along with all the colors that are expressed. The fabric market and making curtains from them was the best.
5. Boys from BRO (Boys Reaching Out) club and playing soccer, board games and having fun together along with taking them to the annual BRO camp that we started. It was the first BRO camp Swaziland has had back in 2015. There have now been more than 200 boys who have got to experience this camp.
6. Working with the teachers at my High School and Primary School as friends and creating the bonds in and out of school.
7. Hiking Sibebe multiple times and getting some time with God alone in His beautiful creation.
8. Going to church with my family here and hearing the voices and their passion for God. Even though they could last from 3 hours to all night, the passion is amazing.
9. Being able to buy fresh produce on the streets from the bomake (women) that would last a week all for about 5 USD. This would include potatoes, onions, carrots, tomatoes, apples, oranges, pears, lettuce, spinach, beets and even avocados.
10. Sawubona (Hello) and Unjani (How are you?) greetings everywhere you go.
11. Young Heroes staff and the passion everyone has for working with the orphans of Swaziland and building a bright future for all of the kids.
12. Peace Corps staff, their support, laughter and always being their for you. They are family.
13. The GLOW girls and their smiles that would fill a room.
14. Fresh meat on the homestead and braai (BBQ) meat on the weekends. This included pork, chicken, beef, goat and even the occasional warthog or kudu.
15. Playing cards and casino with my bhuti even though I still never learned how to play the card game casino. I could still beat him at checkers, sometimes.
16. Volunteer gatherings on holidays or just when we needed some time off. The conversations and stories to share were endless from our time in our communities or just the most recent bus ride we just took across Swaziland.
17. My friends.
18. Rainstorms, thunder and lightening moving across the sky. You can see it come from miles away and hear the roar, as it gets closer to you. God is so powerful and just a small demonstration of his power.
19. The simplicity of life in Swaziland. Being able to just sit under a tree for hours during the day and talk or just watch life go by and observe.
20. Culture and the festivals including Umhlanga and Marula festival. Culture is what makes us who we are and why we are. It should never be changed but celebrated and loved.
21. The places and trips with fellow volunteers during holidays or just long weekends. South Africa, Lesotho and Mozambique will be remembered for all those crazy adventures we Americans had.
22. My family who welcomed me on day one to Swaziland and taught me things such as how to wash my clothes by hand, cooking traditional Swazi food, the SiSwati language and the kindness of Swazis.
23. My new family who loved, protected and put up with me for two years as well as took me in as their own son.
24. Make Masuku, the gospel singer who I would hear her singing on the radio blasting when she was not home and then hear her singing in the mornings when she was home.
25. Pap (traditional Swazi dish) with Chicken dust (BBQ chicken sold from the side of the road) and the awesome Swazi beans. Best meal my parents had here while in Swaziland was Chicken Dust (all for under 2 USD)
26. Playing soccer with the kids after school on the dirt fields and joining the game with my teachers and Young Heroes after work. Soccer is life and it was nice to see it all around.
27. Animals and the different wildlife around, even the monkeys who would run across my roof and steal your food. Seeing the Elephants, Rhinos, Lions, Hippos, Zebra and Giraffes roaming free and safe.
28. Bushfire Festival 2015, 2016 and 2017. One of the top 5 festivals in Africa along with the music at House on Fire and the food and quiet evenings at Malendelas restaurant. It has one of the best settings for watching the sun go down over Swaziland while enjoying a nice cold drink.
29. The days of staying at backpackers including Sundowners, Legends and Lidwala. Always having taco nights and staying up late talking and telling stories or playing games with travelers and new friends.
30. Seeing students succeed and build a future for themselves in and out of school. Working with the entrepreneurs and learners to be better and be successful. Especially working with Lindokhulu who is a young woman who has been out of school for 5 years now and returned to finish her Form5 and get accepted into college to be a teacher.
31. The Swazi Times and Observer headlines. I don’t think you can be a Peace Corps Volunteer without having your picture in the local newspapers for some reason or another.
32. Entertainment on those long bus rides from it breaking down, them having to pull over and weld a seat back in on the spot, the animals that catch rides, having to run and jump on the bus like a pro without them stopping and trying not to smash your eggs that you just bought at the grocery store.
33. The time my parents came to Swaziland and we went to Cape Town and then they were able to meet my family here. It was a special moment having them come together and spent time here in Swaziland. Will be something that I will remember for my entire life.
34. Seeing the smiles on the kid’s faces and the laughter as they run home from school. Every day seeing children around the community and town in their uniforms laughing and playing together on their way or coming home from school.
35. The music here in Swaziland, the local musicians, and even the house music they play at Solanis (local hangout) in the evenings. That is all the music I will probably be playing and listening to now when I am back in the US. Get ready for some Tigi by Sands.
36. Those best friends I will never forget here, Baba Siyabonga. You know who you are.
37. Friendliness, support and help from all Swazis as we would learn what taxi to take to get home, how to order our chicken dust, carrying those large bags of groceries that we thought we could carry to the bus and just spending the last 4 hours talking with us on the side of the road.
38. The dancing even though I can’t dance I tried sometimes.
39. The hikes and adventures where Swazis always wonder why we do some of the things we do as Americans. Hiking up a mountain for fun, running through our communities at 5 in the morning or working on a 1500 piece puzzle at our house.
40. The Kingdom of Swaziland and my family and home for the last 3 years and more.
|Just another Swazi sunset|
This is only 40 of the things that I will miss and love about Swaziland but there are so many more things that changed my life here. It was and always will be part of who I am now.
Siyabonga Kakhulu and Salani Kahle
(Thank you very much and stay well)