I went to the big garden with my make for the first time. A group of ladies all share the garden and work together to weed, water, and harvest it. It was beet season so I got to go along to harvest them. It had been cool all week, so naturally the day I agreed to walk somewhere far it was blazing hot. We met up with the neighbors who all kept telling me I needed long sleeves…in 105 degree weather. I compromised by putting on short sleeves and a hat, but really thought it’d be ok with my constant sunscreen application. The garden is a huge fenced off space that was originally funded by USAID and was surprisingly lush given that I live in a desert. I spent al morning pulling up beets, piling beets, and sorting beets. I was the only one who had brought water, and was amazed when I left to go home that I was incredibly thirsty no one else had had a sip to drink or eat for over 5 hours in the hot sun. My sunscreen did not work as planned and I ended up the same color as the beets I harvested.
There had been some protests in Swaziland and it’s marula season. When marula fruit is harvested it is turned into a strong alcohol, so there are now road blocks all over Swaziland. When I took my bus to Manzini we all were made to stop, get off the bus with our bags, individually checked, then let back on….twice, on the same road. Sometimes things here are not very practical.
A volunteer at a neighboring site organized a large event for World AIDS day, so I helped staff the event. I was shocked at how many people attended, and were tested at the mobile testing. I was very impressed at how successful the event was, and hope because it’s in my shopping town we can make it an annual event. The next day I went with others who had staffed the event to a country club a couple hours away. The sugar company which makes a very large profit off of the region set it up, and with a pool and air conditioning it is a god send for the summer temperatures here. I am very very happy it is nearby.
We also had our Project Design and Management workshop, which is by far the best training we have had here so far. We were allowed to bring a counterpart from our community and walked through how to choose a project based on your community, plan, and execute it. I am very excited to start more tangible work now that our integration period is over and we are allowed to start working.