Ludzibini, the community I will call my home for the next two years beginning one week ago has shown its colors and they are quite wonderful. Here, I will live, work, and integrate into the community for the next two years. My community is located at the very north of Swaziland in the region Hhohho. Maybe 10 miles away I can see the mountains to the north that are part of South Africa. It is beautiful here with mountains all over. The climate is considered to be the cooler region of Swaziland, yet it still was 90 degrees the last couple days and forecasted to continue…and it is still considered winter 😅. Before moving here after being sworn in as an official PCV I had only met the family I will be living with once. I am beyond happy to live with them for the next two years and to be considered a brother and son to them.
Here is a snippet of what I have had going on since arriving at my new home. I will be writing another blog entry on activities I have been doing since arriving in another blog entry soon. I say home because it already does feel like home. My family is nothing less than wonderful in every way. I have so much fun with my bobhuti and bosisi (brother and sisters). My brothers are in their late teens and are very good to run with, talk to, and have been incredibly helpful in stuff like assisting in making my garden, a clothes line, and telling me what people are saying to and about me that I don’t understand. My bosisi are super fun and have an awesome sense of humor. My youngest brother is super adorable, pretends that he doesn’t know or speak English but totally does because I have said stuff to him which he would only respond if he understood English (I’m tricky like that).
I was quick to warm up to the children around my homestead. Not only do I have 8 younger siblings, my make (mom) is very involved in taking care of and feeding children in the community at the neighborhood care points (ncp) of which she is in charge; we have children here constantly. Spending time with my siblings and the neighborhood children began immediately upon arrival. I hadn’t even unpacked before I had 10 children in my room playing Spot It the first day. I am so glad I brought this card game because it instantly makes relationship building with kids easier. I need to find a way to order these in bulk at discount!
On Saturday I went for a 5 mile hike up the mountains to find one of my family’s 13 cows that strayed away from the herd. Cows sleep in an enclosure during the night but they roam wherever they want in and around the community during the day, typically to a nearby stream for water or good grass to eat. We don’t have them in fenced in areas or in barns like in America so we have to bring them back every night. This means we have to find them, anywhere from a few hundred feet away from the homestead or several miles away. I went with 2 brothers, 1 sister, and our dad up the mountain to find this lost cow. We didn’t end up finding it but it showed up on its own that night or next morning. It was a really good way of seeing the area and get them steps in!
In addition to the 13 cows, we also have half a dozen or so goats, and yes, I giggle every time one of the baby goats makes that cute noise of theirs. We do have chickens but only a few, nothing like the 150 from my host family that woke me up every morning at three. We also have three dogs that are starting to warm up to me. When I first arrived I wanted to pet them and they growled at me. The oldest one is around 5 and is super chill and lets me pet him. One is around 2 but has the playfulness of a pup, he is constantly play biting the oldest dog and anyone who wants to pet him. His name is Khwelakuye which literally translates to “on top of you” because he likes to jump.
Co-inhabitants in my hut: I was told I would have my own hut for the next two years. Wrong. Over the first couple days I have had to address two giant spiders, a cockroach, more ants than I can count, and a salamander. The ants are both a curse and a blessing in disguise. I dropped one raisin on the floor, the next day I had a line of ants from the window, down the wall, and across the room. I now understand why Swazi pride themselves on cleanliness…if you even leave one dish unwashed you will regret it. The salamander named Sadie is the one roommate I am happy to have as we agreed her rent is due in the form of killing these disgusting bugs.
My hut itself is incredible! It has a thatched roof which is beautiful but even better is that it keeps my room around 15 or more degrees cooler than the outside during the day. Considering it is still considered winter here and it is currently 90 degrees, I will really appreciate this roof come January. It also is quite nice to have the thatched roof beams everywhere because I can relax and read or write my blog in hammock whenever I want, which I am doing at this moment.
I live in an area full of fruits and vegetables! Make has given me two papayas and made me papaya jam which is delicious! They all came from one of several papaya trees we have on our homestead. We also have banana, avocado, and mango trees. Papaya, mango, and banana season starts soon! Make also constantly is bringing me vegetables, more than I know what to do with. I’m excited to finish my garden so we can have a lot more variety of vegetables.
Next post coming soon on what I have been doing with my time the last week, thanks for reading and leave any comments or questions for me to answer!