Why Swaziland?

To answer the question why I do what I do, I first need to answer, "Why Swaziland?"

Swaziland is a small country that most people haven't heard of.  You can see it on the map.  When I first started travelling there, in 2007, their population was around 1.2 million.  Just 4 years later it had dropped to a little over 900,000.

It is a dying nation.  With the highest percentage of HIV in the world, the country is overwhelmed by the effects of HIV.  Not only the physical effects to the people, but also the effects to their economy and to over 500,000+ orphans and vulnerable children, known in Swaziland as OVC's.

It is a heart wrenching situation.  It is projected that by the year 2020, there will be no adults, over the age of 18, left living in the country.  The average life expectancy is between 29-32 (I've seen different estimations) years old.  I can't tell you how heartbreaking it is to meet and grow to love young people who are 20-24 years old and know that in a few years, according to statistics, they might no longer be there.

We have poverty, terrible poverty in our country.  But while it is in pockets throughout our nation, it is pervasive in Africa.  Here it is the exception, there it is the rule..

I've been to the garbage dump and watched a mother feed her beautiful 3 year old daughter a rotten banana...  a grandmother there to forage for the evening meal to feed her grandchildren under her care...  heard stories, first hand, of young teenage girls who sell themselves for food to feed their younger siblings.

The question begins to move from 'Why?' to 'Why Not?'  The thing that is hard about Swaziland, about all of Africa, is that we can't fix it...  It can be so overwhelming that many think, "What can I possibly do?"  That was me to begin with.  I didn't want to go because I couldn't see how I could offer anything that would matter.  But what I've learned is that sometimes, people in dire situations don't expect a fix, they just need someone to step into their suffering with them.  Even if it's just for a little while...  And amazingly, in that, they find hope!

I will never forget the young man on the garbage dump who told us, "I know that God sees us when the white man comes."  We only gave him oranges and some bread...  We didn't change or fix anything.

I will never forget the young mom who told us that she knows God cares because we showed up with a few clothes for her and her children.

I could go on and on with stories where people found hope, just because we showed up...  And hope can do amazing things...  It transforms...  It inspires perseverance...

My hope and prayer is that not only will my business provide the funds to go, that it will also provide for other things that are needed...  extra corn, more fruit trees...  or that it will help others go to where their heart leads to serve.

Thank you for stopping by...  I so wish I could sit down and tell you more stories about the people in Swaziland.  They are such amazing people, I know you would love them as much as I do!!  If you'd like to read some of my stories from Africa, click HERE (In case you missed the link on the About page!).