Last week Saturday all us PCV’s ” in training” walked into an auditorium knowing that this was the day we were finding out our permanent sites. So many emotions came into the day but most of the day was filled with laughter. G12’s and G11’s arranged how we found out our sites. They went with the theme of ” The avengers”. Swaziland is separated into 4 regions, so each region had the character from the movie. Captin America was (Manzini region), hulk (lebomobo region), Thor (don’t know the name of this one, and don’t know the character of (Hhohho region). *Please have mercy as I don’t know my avengers movie that well. From there they made a speech about how we are all in this together and no matter where we are placed we still unite for a common cause of helping the nation of Swaziland! Each G13 was called up separately and asked to do a variety of tasks, singing, push-ups, arm wrestle or to get water for the announcer of our sites lol. As each person completed their task they were then given a “passport” like sheet of paper which gave the name of the region you were placed.
I walked up to the table not knowing what to expect. The music of the Soil (an amazing acapela group from South Africa) was cued and I was told to dance. *it is a known fact that I love this group and I also love to dance so I’m sure some people were told to play this for me. I danced with leaps and sweet moves before I was given my passport that said “Manzini region”. I walked over to the Captin America side of the room as the group chanted “USA, USA”. After all G13’s received their regions we were each given a packet with our village name, a picture of our hut and information on our family.
Monday of this week we got to meet our SSA or Site support agent and then they took us to our community for a 3 day visit Tuesday- Friday this week.
My permeant site is in the community of Velezizweni. It’s a very large community western part of Swaziland. The chiefdom of Velezizweni also encompasses 8 other villages. (I’m still learning what “Cheifdom” means so bare with me). All I know is that the community I’m assigned to is very large, but beautiful community in the mountains. The main problems in this community are: ( ranking from most important to somewhat important) 1. Water (having clean water available to each homestead) , 2. Health (reducing HIV infection and treating those who are effected, 3. Emadelo (fensing for free range cattle), 4. Electricity ( providing each home the opportunity to get electricity in their homestead), 5. Dip tanks ( renewal of chemicals for the dip tanks that rid the cattle of pests), 6. Education (Improved infrastructure and lesson plans), 7. NCP (increased number of neighborhood care points), 8. Gardens (access to healthy foods), 9. Transport (improving accessibility to nearby towns). This is a list that I acquired from the village of Velezizweni office. As you can see there are many things that can be worked on. I have been in my village now for 2 days and have been asked to build a library, get more water to the town, and to train people on how to build sustainable fenses. It’s been somewhat overwhelming to explain to people what my role as a volunteer will be. Which is something I will go into much further at a later date.
On to my permanent site family! I will be living with a gogo (grandmother), make (mother), brother who is 19, sisi who is 19 and another sister that is 11 years old. As I have only been here two days I already feel blessed to have this as my permeant site. Everyone is very welcoming and loving towards me. I live on the side of a large hill overlooking many mountains all around me. My hut has a “thatch roof” which is made out of these reeds. Inside my walls are painted light blue and I have a full bed, couch and a futon! I have an overhead light with one outlet plug. My family has one dog and one cat that they treat a lot nicer than other Swazi’s treat their animals. My family also gave me a new name of Nobuhle, which means beautiful women. I will only be known as Fisiwe for another month!
Yesterday I got to meet all the kids at the primary school of velelzizweni, all the teachers and administration. The principal instructed all the children not to call me “umlumu” which means white person and to call me Sisi because to them I should be like a sister. Or they can call me by my SiSwati name of Nobuhle. One of the big problems I saw in the school is that there is no library for the children. The second grade classroom has 1 bookshelf of books donated by world vision in Australia, but the kids are not allowed to check the books out and only the 2nd graders can use them. I don’t know if this will be one of my projects but it is definitely something that is needed in the community. Also speaking of charity, Tom shoes are everywhere! Kids actually get shoes that fit them for free from Toms so people at home keep buying them! They are really helping out here in Swaziland!! Below are a few pictures of my community of Velezizweni, I move in permenently about a month from now to start my two years of service! So excited and so happy 🙂