I recently finished volunteering at New Hope Centre, the children’s home I had been helping out at for the past few months. I really enjoyed my time there; I was glad I could help them while they were short staffed, was blessed that I could learn more about Swaziland and the culture here and delighted that I got to work alongside some fabulous Swazi women. Now that the preschool at New Hope Centre is fully staffed I’m excited to begin working with children in our local community. Some members of the community told us about a local feeding programme that could benefit from some extra assistance.
We all went to a meeting with local officials and the ladies at the feeding centre to learn more about their needs and how we can help. The Neighbourhood Care Point (NCP) was set up a couple of years ago when people in the community saw a great need for orphans and vulnerable children living in their community and wanted to do something about it. After receiving food support from World Vision local women began to volunteer to cook food for children in the community 6 days a week. I had expected to find the care point in a kitchen, small dining room or some form of sheltered space but these women have been providing hope for many children from under the shade of a tree.
|One of the women preparing the food in two large pots over an open fire|
Swaziland has a very high orphan population, many children having lost their parents to AIDS, and now many of these children live in child headed households or with extended family members. The NCP provides food for these children who are not yet in school or don’t have the resources to attend school.
|Some of the children coming to eat, each child brings their own dish|
There are 43 children at the care point near us and although they don’t seem too used to our white skin yet many of them did seem excited to play with us while others watched from a distance! As we get to know these children better we hope to be able to support the work being done by the local women.
|Playing with some of the children while they wait to eat|
I would love to start doing some basic preschool activities with the children who should be starting official schooling next year. Tammie and Arlyn have been using their artistic abilities to draw charts for me (I’m not so artistic so I’ve been colouring in their efforts!). Hopefully in the next few weeks, as the children get to know me better, I can begin to attempt to teach them. Being in a rural area all of the children speak siSwati but will start using English at school. I’m hopeful that they’ll pick up some English from me, that will help them when they begin school, and I’m also hopeful that I can learn some siSwati from them!
Arlyn's been busy working on Brian's house and starting to set up an aquaponics system, when I can get him to explain to me what that means and how it will work, I'll share it with you!