Friday, July 17, 2009

The OVC Feeding Scheme at Dwaleni

Today I’m struck by the unbelievably difficult lives of the people of Swaziland, and fact that they appear to be oblivious to the difficulty. Picture this:

Load your wheelbarrow with two large cast iron pots; take it about ½ a mile down the road to a little wooden shack with a tin roof held up by four sticks and a few more along the sides to keep the cows out; wander around to find some wood and start a fire; roll the wheelbarrow to collect water (or fetch it in a bucket which you carry on your head). You then roll over to the store room of the church where you load up a large pumpkin and a bucket of dishes and utensils. Back at the shack you chop up the pumpkin with your machete, and begin cooking the pumpkin meat on the fire for the OVC (orphan and vulnerable children) who come by every day. As it cooks you lean over the fire to stir the pumpkin mush with a big stick/spoon you’ve made. You stop periodically to gather more wood. You prepare for the children by sweeping the dirt with a wisk broom you’ve made out of bundled, dried weeds. As children (and adults) wander over you serve them the pumpkin mush. When the meal is over you pour cold water into your wheelbarrow which you use as a basin for washing the dishes, using a bar of Jik (germ killing soap) and threadbare washcloth. You then load the “clean” dishes and utensils into a bucket, back to the store room.

After serving the children in this way as a volunteer, you return home with your wheelbarrow to do the same, in exactly the same manner for your family.

No one complains. No one even finds this life hard. It is simply the life they lead. Oh how much these people have to teach us.


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