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Swaziland Update

It has been a little while since I have written about our Swaziland plans.  Lucky for you we have some news to share.

Malolotja Nature Reserve in Northwest Swaziland

We just renewed our passports and purchased our tickets for our summer exploration trip (let’s hope that is $3,600 well spent).  We will be flying out of Nashville on July 12 and returning on July 26.  Since the flight is over 20 hours (with a stop off in the west African country of Senegal) that will shave a day off our trip each way giving us 11 or so days to explore the country.

Our goal for this trip to get a good feel for the country, and meet with as many people/groups/organizations as possible in preparation for a move to the Kingdom in 2011 (You can read more details about our plans to move to Swaziland here, here and here.)  Right now we are hoping to find an organization we can work with for our first six months.  That way we can have some stability when we move, but are not having to commit ourselves for multiple years without being very familiar with the specifics.

So far we have made contact with 4-5 people on the ground.  We are hoping to follow up on several leads with strong potential and then leave enough time open during our trip so that we can discover other connections we had not planned on.  I have a feeling we will be playing a lot of this trip by ear.

One thing we have found is that it is much easier to get a hold of the Western Christian organizations than it is to contact the local and secular organizations.  Unfortunately we are also finding most of the Christian groups are a bit too evangelical and charismatic for our comfort.  We are open to working with Christian groups, but we want our focus to be on indigenous solutions and community development, not proselytizing.  In many ways Beth and I feel like we would do better with a “regular” job where we can live out our faith a part of it.  Our main focus in moving to Swaziland is to expose Mikayla (and ourselves) to life outside the United States so our worldview can be informed and shaped in a global context.  Of course we want to be apart of something good and make an impact where ever we are, but that is not our primary goal.

Of other Swazi news, Beth and I have been working on our siSwati, but I must admit we are not as dedicated as we should be–we are still working on the standard greetings and responses.  Hopefully by July we will have the basics down and then can spend the next year mastering it.

That’s the update for now.  I will let you know more as it develops.

Categories: Family, Swaziland Tags: ,
  1. January 27th, 2010 at 20:36 | #1

    Dude – Somehow I just managed to come across your blog (I think). One of my youth pastors from high school grew up as a missionary kid in Swaziland. He’s probably not the secular/grassroots kind of contact you want, and I haven’t talked to him in a couple years, but he may have some contacts still.

  2. January 28th, 2010 at 08:13 | #2

    We are open to anything. We are certainly open to working with Christian organizations, but we are finding many of the groups on the ground are overly charismatic/evangelical. I have nothing against that, but I have a feeling they might not take too kindly to us once we started having more detailed conversations about faith and spirituality 🙂

    I would love to connect with anyone who has experiences in Swaziland. Right now we are at the point where we can start to follow people’s conversations. (i.e. we know our geography, a bit of history, etc.) Send his info if you have it.

    Hope all is well with you.


  3. February 4th, 2010 at 14:18 | #3

    Hi Ben,

    I’ve read some of your twitter feeds, and also some of your blog posts. So you’re coming to Swaziland! Welcome!

    My wife and I moved here in 2007 to help with the orphan and HIV crisis. We soon joined Children’s Cup and have been working through them at some CarePoints and helping the youth with life.

    As for the language, don’t sweat it over the numbers 1-10 – most of the Swazi’s know English numbers. What you want to work on is the greetings and simple conversations pieces. Hi, yes, how are you, I’m fine, it’s sunny, nice to meet you, it’s cold, bye, etc. These are simple and foundational. Oh, and also “how much is it, that’s too expensive, that’s cheap, I’m learning bit by bit, etc. I can send you a small file of these interpreted in siSwati.

    Let me know if you have any questions! We would love to help. We first moved to Bulembu, then Mbabane, and now live in Matsapha/Manzini area.

    Thanks, and we hope your planning goes well.

    Mark and Kay

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