My big project, Finishing the Ward 4 AMICAALL/Nhlangano Town Council Social Center, the PCPP


Peace Corps Partnership Proposal (PCPP) with the Nhlangano Town Council (NTC)

First application draft submitted Feb, 2011
Approved & Funding Begins on PC website May 17th
Construction started on Oct 24th.
All exterior construction done by Dec 20th.
Grand Opening Jan 5th, 2012
Round 2 of the Funding arrives in early January.
Interior Only Construction Restarts Jan 16th.
Construction all done Feb 16th (minus a million tiny To Do's)
Project Officially Closed May 4th, 2012

Let the children play, learn & be safe.

As of Aug 25th, 2012, I am no longer a PCV, I am now RPCV (Return Peace Corps Volunteer). This blog is my experience in Swaziland between June of 2010 & Aug of 2012. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


So went to my first Swaziland Church service.

The Pastor, a guy I met as he was helping me carry paint & groceries home, said he would do the service in English with Translation for the members for me. It has been surprisingly difficult to find a service NOT in siSwati. It really doesn’t do much when you can’t understand, nor sing along.

So I arrived at around 9:00 for a 10:00 oclock service, a guy sent by the Pastor came to get me to guide to the church, which is actually just a large room in a primary school. The congregation of about 60 people, I counted 25 women, 30 children and only 5 adult males including me but excluding the 5 male preachers, translators and helpers. The women all sat on one side and the men on the other. So it looked very odd having one side packed and the other empty, the kids sat in their own little area. It started pretty much right on time, then for the next 3 hours, it was a mix of singing, screaming preachers (not the one who invited me), Bible reading and lots of prayers.

So here is the breakdown:
Prayers are this loud verbal all once talking out loud crazy mix of everyone saying their needs, concerns, etc. Surprisingly it is private cause no one can understand anyone.

I have never heard Alleluia so many times followed by amen. Frankly, I think it just the word the pastor throws out when he is thinking about his next sermon point.

There were 3 sermons, all had a translator standing next to the pastor who spoke in English for me specifically. The 1st 2 were lots of repeating sermon type words with little actual message to them and in traditional loud, clapping, jumping around, filled with energy Black Gospel preacher style. The 3rd sermon, the guy who invited me, actually was pretty calm and gave a sermon with meaning. Although, I didn’t really feel it applied to me, but as Dad says not every sermon touches every person, but every sermons touches at least one person and that is all a preacher can really ask for.

So decades of my Dad singling me out at church, paid off tremendously. I was introduced by all three pastors to same the people sitting in the same seats who had just heard me introduced by the previous pastor. I did get a little worried and remember I do look similar to Jesus and get the reference often here, when the 3rd pastor started talking about how he met me and we “walked” to together and how he saw a vision of me helping them. Anyway, he spun the sermon away from me helping them to how that is really Jesus’ job, I kept expecting a physical reference but it never came. His sermon lasted nearly an hour, but he also would repeat the same phrase several times right next to each other. Not quite sure way it is said 3 times in a row. But I guess it fills the time. I did speak a little introduction siSwati to them and they understood it, so I am learning but mostly I speak in English.

I gave 10 Rand, which is like a $1.25 US and about the price of a juice box or two chocolate candy bars. When I snuck a peak in the collection bucket. It was all 1 rand or less coins, my 10 was probably 60% of the collection for the day. That felt good to really make a difference with such a little amount. And reminded me of how many people (and churches) get by here with so little money. Granted many grow their own food, with chickens and goats as food, but still the reminder caught me off guard and I felt like I should have given more. Well, there is always a next time.

The service finished at 1:30 PM.

Post the service, I got a good meal and good conversation with many of the Pastors and people of the service. I enjoyed this part very much, I talked a lot about helping with HIV and they were in agreement but I think if I had said the moon was made of Cheddar Cheese they probably would have agreed just to be polite. I have noticed that often Swazi people just agree and say yes when they really don’t mean it. I don’t think that was the case in the post sermon talk cause many had good view points in return.

Anyway, I really prefer traditional services with no TV’s, loud preachers and in a really old church. So the service didn’t do much for me. But it was a great experience and I will probably go again. It just felt like there was no actual time to pray to myself within my own head. I did try the out loud with the group and found to be helpful, but I have always felt connected to God at church when I can just kind of tune everything out and pray and tune back in when I want to. It was too loud for me.

By the time I got home it was 4 PM and I was tried.

No comments:

Post a Comment