Sunday, 21 July 2013

Week 3

Swaziland, week 3

A weekend off for Bishop Ellinah
Anglican Communion News Service reports that thousands of Christians from Botswana and beyond attended the enthronement and consecration of Botswana’s new and fifth bishop, the Rt Revd Metlhayotlhe Rawlings Beleme, the first Botswana-born bishop of the diocese.The five-hour long service, presided over by the Primate of Central Africa the Most Revd Albert Chama, was held at the Holy Cross Cathedral in Botswana's capital Gaborone. It was described as a “wonderful mix of deep Anglican liturgy and rich Setswana culture.

No reporting of the fact that Bishop Ellinah, who was enthusiastically invited by the Diocese of Botswana, was informed on Thursday last that while she could attend the service she could not vest as a bishop nor sit in the sanctuary with the other (male) bishops. 
Bishop Ellinah decided not to make the long journey (7 hours drive each way), so we went out for lunch on Saturday with her grandson, Baraka, and Maureen Moss from Limerick Diocese. We visited the Ngwenya Glass Factory, where beautiful things are made from recycled glass - and the chocolate shop.
The Diocesan Office
I've been spending my days in the Diocesan Office - long days 8am till 5pm. I'm helping Mrs Tembe with her filing, both in cabinets and on her computer.

Beketele Tembe
Mrs Tembe has worked for four bishops of Swaziland, and is now Bishop Ellinah’s PA. She meets the visitors and looks after the diary. I have been helping her clear out some old files - which is a slow job because so many of the files are interesting!

Mr Andreas Zwane, the gardener and care-taker, has been part of the bishop’s household since he was 9 years old. On Monday he brought me a present of a live chicken. Thankfully Bishop Ellinah’s helper, Jabu, dealt with it, and we had it for dinner on Tuesday.

Celebrations at Usuthu Mission
Wednesday was the last day for the Rathfarnham team at Usuthu Mission Anglican Primary School. Staff and pupils were delighted with the seven repainted classrooms, and the progress on a new design of kitchen which will reduce the fuel bill by 70%. After receiving pencil cases donated by Us supporters in Ireland the 550 children had a "holiday" lunch with meat. They then put on a special show for the Irish visitors with sketches and speeches, and modern and traditional dance. Happy, the project manager for the parents' committee, gave us all a Swazi emahiya, and the staff prepared a delicious lunch. Usuthu Mission is the school where Maureen Moss is working. She was one of the staff members who cooked lunch, and then one of the visitors for the show.

Pencil cases from Ireland

The blessing of the kitchen

Newly painted classroom

Happy & Maureen

Saturday in Hlane Game Park
with Mandla and Maureen

Week 2

On Saturday afternoon Jan & Mandla set off in convoy with the bus for Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport. They, and the bus driver, were booked into a B&B nearby - a scary experience for all three. They were at arrivals at 4.30 on Sunday morning to meet the team for the drive to Swaziland.

By 10 am they had crossed the border, and soon afterwards arrived at Thokoza, the Diocesan Centre, where they are staying in a combination of twin rooms and a self-catering bungalow. After breakfast and a rest they set off for Mlilwane Game Park, where they saw various types of antelope, hippos and zebras; no crocodiles out today. 

The team attended Holy Communion in St Matthias’ Church, Ezulwini, and then headed for Thokoza for supper and an early night.

Early on Monday morning the Rathfarnham team set off for Usuthu Mission Anglican Primary School. They were there in time for assembly at 7.45am.
The team divided into 3 groups: one group to build a kitchen; one group to paint classrooms; one group to work with pupils and teachers.

On Thursday we drive over two hours to visit Fr Gregory Makhubu. Rector of Hlangano and surrounding areas, Fr Gregory looks after a number of Neighbourhood Care Points in the south-east of Swaziland. There is great poverty here, malnutrition, and high rates of HIV infection. Fr Gregory estimates that 75% of the pre-school children attending this NCP are HIV positive. 

The Care Point is run by the Simelane family, who very kindly allowed us to visit their homestead. Mr Simelane grows a small crop of cotton, which he stores in his sleeping hut.