Sunday, 25 November 2012


Let the festivities begin! Even though it is still ridiculously early to be thinking about Christmas, we have to. Because the schools finish before December even begins we have to fit all of the Christmas themed activities into November. At Injabulo we braved the paint for the first time (much more risky than crayons!) and my worries were confirmed – water was spilt everywhere, paints were wrecked, paint was splattered everywhere and it was a total disaster. I think the kids enjoyed themselves though!
They’ve successfully made stockings, Santa Claus on a wreath, cotton wool snowmen and Christmas baubles – quite impressive for a large bunch of easily distracted 3-5 year olds.

The people who work in PEP must be getting sick of us now, we’ve been back AGAIN for more shoes for soup kitchen, and we found they have a lunchbox/water bottle combination for about 60p so we bought up all the stock they had of them too!

We’re also becoming more and more Swazi by the day; the kombi that has been donated to Moriah Centre is now back on Swazi soil, and Ashley and I have been allocated as its drivers. You can’t get much more Swazi than driving a kombi around, however you do get lots of people trying to wave you over at the side of the road and then look at us confusedly when they realise that there are two white girls in charge of a kombi! Might pull into the kombi park next time and shout ‘MATATA MATATA’ for the banter, try and charge people for a journey, hahaa.

Soup Kitchen has been crazy this week; we’ve had an influx of new children and teenagers... Apparently word has been getting out that the two white girls at soup kitchen are buying everyone clothes and shoes, so people are starting to turn up thinking that they’re going to get some handouts. So our numbers have been bumped up from about 50-60 on an average day to around 80!
The tough decision is whether or not we actually do give them something, it would be nice if they made the effort to come to soup kitchen as regulars, but then again they might be looking after younger siblings at home and they can’t physically make it. Do we give them clothes and shoes even though they’re only turning up BECAUSE  they think they’re going to get clothes and shoes, or do we say ‘sorry, no you can’t have’?  Aunty Vina is well informed on people’s home situations, but then again we don’t have the money to clothe the whole of Mpolongeni community! However if Aunty Vina says they are needy (which most of them are), then I guess we buy for them... That’s what this work is all about, giving help to those who need it the most.
On the way to soup kitchen on Tuesday we were pulled over by police for the very first time! It was just a random maintenance vehicle check, but we were pretty nervous because we had Sisekelo students in the back of the truck... Luckily Ashley had her licence (sometimes we forget, but you’re meant to carry it everywhere with you when you’re driving) and everything was okay. She did get a little bit flustered though and when the Policewoman asked for her to test the indicators she accidently flicked on the windscreen wipers! Easy mistake.

Friday was the first day that we started handing out our wares at soup kitchen; we decided to shift all of the second hand clothes that we had been collecting from the Sisekelo students so we had more time to hand out the nice things that we had actually bought with money. 
The girls were really civilised about taking the clothes, however they got embarrassed when we were handing out the bras that we’d been given, none of them wanted any! Ashley and I thought that it was really strange because surely teenage girls would be grateful for a bra, but it seems that that isn’t the case.
The boys were the opposite of the girls, they were mental. Pushing, screaming, fighting, snatching... everything. We’d even explained that everyone was going to get something, but they just didn’t want to be polite about it. Every time I lifted up an item of clothing to have a look at the size about 20 hands all came up and started grabbing and pulling the clothes; it wasn’t nice at all.
Sometimes when we try to do something nice for soup kitchen I still don’t feel good about it; giving out the clothes should make me feel happy because we’re giving the children something that they don’t have something that will benefit them... but it makes me feel awful. The way they desperately snatch clothes from you and from one another makes me realise they’re in such a dire situation they’re willing to do anything to gain. Larger boys pull clothes off the smaller boys, clothes that won’t even fit them, JUST so that they have something. It breaks my heart and makes me wonder what sort of effects poverty really has on a person. Just how far would they go to try and improve their own situation? Here they are pulling clothes off each other like wild animals, even though they are all friends and they all know how hard they have it, how tough their lives are. Something takes over them and they aren’t the same children I know and love and see every week, which is a shame because I want to feel good when we give them surprises, not feel shocked.

Injabulo Christmas party was also this week! We had so much fun with the kids, they all made little party hats to wear and then they all sat down at their little tables to have some party food; cheese and ham sandwiches, crisps, biscuits and icing, jelly and lolly pops... Lots of really healthy food obviously. Shoprite  doesn’t sell straws and they wouldn’t  donate us any of the free ones you get when you buy a drink so Ashley and I had stolen loads of them just to make a point that we couldn’t be defeated and we used them in a sucking Jelly race at Injabulo. It was the funniest thing ever watching 50 kids all with their faces in plates of jelly trying desperately to finish first, and the SOUND, wow.

This Saturday brought the Swaziland vs. Botswana National Rugby match! We caught a kombi to Manzini and walked to the Mavuso Sports Centre – our friend Mike is the Captain of the rugby team and his two brothers are also part of the team. It was Swaziland’s first National home game in 6 years, and we started off with high hopes for them. Then we saw the Botswana team... they dwarfed Swaziland’s team with their massive guys and we became more doubtful of how the game was going to go.
Unfortunately Swaziland were creamed by Botswana, but they’re a young team and it was the first time they had all played together, so there’s room for improvement!
Mike’s parents gave us free ‘Sizeze vs. Botswana’ t-shirts though, so that was pretty awesome! Sizeze is the rugby teams nickname, and also the name of the Swaziland spear.

Looking fat but whatever... This is Mike (on the right) and one of his brothers.

The Dos Santos Family! Mikes family, they are actual legends.

Next week is going to be stressful as hell, but it’s almost the Christmas holidays so it’s time to really knuckle down before we have 6 weeks of travelling!

Kate xx

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