On the five our drive from Jo-Burg we did nothing but ask questions of Jumbo. He was so patient and so full of information. Here is some of what we learnt:
* Swaziland has a population of 950,000
* There are 94,000 jobs in Swaziland…70% are government jobs
* Swaziland is ruled by a King…who has 14 wives…who each drive a BMW and have their own royal residence. He also has 6 palaces.
* In the last three years…350,000 people have died of HIV/AIDS
* In this country of 950,000…215,000 are orphans or vulnerable children
* There are about 6 or 7 churches currently sponsoring Care Points.
* Most of the population is un-educated and education ranges from $50 – 1000/year/child
* Children’s Hope Chest has partnered with AIM (Adventures in Missions) to help the people of Swaziland.
* 44.6% of the population has HIV/AIDS
* When a man wants to marry a Swazi woman he has to negotiate how many cows it will cost him (payable to the girls parents). Usually it is about 13 or 14 cows ranging from $400-$600 each. (i’m planning on bringing this new-found tradition to Winnipeg and figure my future could see as many as 42 cows in it!)
* Because of the lack of education…many believe myths, like, to use a condom causes worms and to rape a virgin child will cure you of aids.
* The religion here is a bizarre synchrotism and mix of Swazi tradition, Zionism and Christianity. It’s called a “powerless” faith.
This evening we went for a KFC supper to Jumbo’s house and met his wife, Kriek (‘creek’). Now we’re off to bed…our first since Sunday night. Tomorrow morning we go visit a Care Point and in the afternoon we’ve had an itinerary change so we’ll be joining the larger group for a safari. Then we’re back to Manzini with our group of 4 for the rest of our stay here. We will also be staying in a guest-house without internet…so we’re not sure when we will update our Blog next.
Thanks so much for coming with us. Please continue to pray for us and the people we meet. Pray for wisdom as we will need to discern which village/Care Point is the one Riverwood should choose to ‘become special friends with’.
– All our love…Todd