Saturday, January 31, 2009


I've been blogging every day this week straight from my Swaziland trip travel journal. I had hoped to get it finished before the one year anniversary of our return to America, but it's just not gonna happen. Each of the blog posts usually take a couple of hours to complete due to all the uploading of photos, editing, hyperlinking, etc. This weekend is just too full with other things. Oh well, that's the story of my life. blog will still be here in a couple of days as will my travel journal. So for now, I'm breaking to not only host a HUGE Super Bowl Party tomorrow (wanna come?) but also to enjoy my husband. We are celebrating our EIGHTEENTH wedding anniversary this weekend. I surely do love that man and I'm surely blessed to have spent so many years as his wife.

Ain't we somethin'?

Friday, January 30, 2009


Continuation of my travel diary from our Children's HopeChest Vision Trip to Swaziland:

Tuesday, 1/29/08

Went to two carepoints situated in same region. At 1st one, Enaleni Carepoint, some of our men cooked the food---wow! They used packets that their church provided. [The Swazis at the carepoint thought it was very interesting, even amusing, to see MEN cooking!]

Brett Irwin of Saint's Coffee stirs the pot...literally.

Children wait patiently in line for what will be the only meal of the day for many if not most or all of them.
Larry Bergeron of A Child's Hope Int'l serves up the nutritionally enriched rice dish.

The kids obviously appreciated their efforts!
The pastor [over this carepoint], Peter Langa, was very nice.
Coloring was also popular activity at this carepoint.

Two of the AIM Discipleship Team members, Ncobile Mthethwa & Zwakele Thulile Mamba (now Mrs. Dennis Brock).

Larry prayed for the children and caregivers at Enaleni before we left.
I'll continue with the 2nd half of Tuesday tomorrow.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


[After eating lunch at the Hampsons], we went to a carepointthat is in a very, very poor, desolate are right by the mountain ridge that divides Swaziland from South Africa and Mozambique to the east.

At Pastor Themba's carepoint, we talked with the children and makes (mothers) plus a couple of gogos (grandmothers)...

...passed out crayons & paper [even the mothers and grandmothers enjoyed coloring]......helped serve a nutritionally enriched drink to the children......watched them get food and eat [even helped feed a baby or two]...
...saw a church being built [that will be used to care for the children here]...

...and watched boys playing soccer. [The bushes in the foreground were a type of thorn/sticker plant very common here.]Just being able to hold and love on the little ones was a highlight of the day. Christi Bowman is holding a very sick little girl in this photo.

B spent a lot of time with these two little babies.

This is the kitchen where the volunteers (usually grandmothers/gogos) cook for the children daily. The children are helping out with the washing of their own dishes.

Here are the two volunteer cooks and the inside of their kitchen. Notice the big, heavy pots they cook in over a fire...yes...even in this excruciating heat.

Below, Jumbo (AIM missionary) and Dany (Children's HopeChest staffer from CO) talk to Pastor Themba about the carepoint and it's needs.

This little girl tries to carry a water bottle on her head --- the common way for girls and women to tote things around in Swaziland. Notice the rugged terrain behind her. The children often walk MILES through such terrain to come for food and if they are very blessed, to get to their school which is up on the mountain behind the carepoint.

The AIM staff had brought a blow up moon jump for the kids. This is a very rare opportunity for these children that they only get a couple of times a year and they definitely take advantage of the chance to just goof off and have fun! One little boy was blind and so they stood him by it and just let him feel it with his hands.

The AIM staff wants to provide for the physical needs of the children but they also want to provide for them spiritually and to pour out love on them whenever possible.

We then went back to the hotel. I slept for a few minutes before rushing off for supper at the RUSTIC TAVERN PIZZERIA. It was good food but it probably took 1 1/2 hours for our food to arrive.

A & B then wanted icecream from the nearby petrol station. Then back to hotel for "debriefing" . Afterwards, some of us chatted for a while. Jim had sent me an email via Mair. It was very sweet.

Tomorrow, more carepoints.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


This is the continuation of my series of posts detailing our trip to Swaziland, Africa, with Children's HopeChest in January of 2008:

Monday, 1/28/08

We headed out to visit more carepoints after eating a breakfast at the Tum's George Hotel. Breakfast included a bowl of mealie meal porridge cooked especially for me by the head cook (I believe she was from Zambia or Malawi? Maybe Kenya?) when she found out that I used to live in Swaziland and liked that dish.

We drove down to the Big Bend area
[SE of Manzini near the South African border]. We visited Moriah Centre run by Diane Hampson, a British African. Their carepoint is in a building leased by a church. They have feeding there for the children... well as food to give the children [for school lunches, etc.], a "kids' church", purity group for the teen girls, preschool classes, and they make crafts to sell to support the ministry.It was there that I bought the piggy banks, angels, diary, and embroidered Swazi bag.

Di (as most call her) shared the needs they have. They are providing a home at the centre for a few orphans. But the buildings are in very bad need of repair --- roof & ceiling need to be fixed, wiring updated, etc. The inner rooms were dark from lack of electricity. The fridge had no power but just served as a cupboard. Some of the residential rooms were damaged when lightning hit. There are none of the sort of skilled laborers in the area needed to do this work. All of them are working for the sugar cane company.

Below is their garden.

And here is the play area and the only play equipment they old swing.

Di says that they are also in great need for MEN ---GODLY ones---to come and work with the boys and teenage young men. They need a man who is living a life of virtue to lead a purity group for teenager boys and teach them the Biblical model for manhood and how to be a good husband & father.
Here are other photos taken at Moriah Centre:

The children often say "shoot me, shoot me" which is their way of saying they want their photo taken.

And then, of course, they want to see themselves on the back of the camera.

"A" who has a skateboard got a kick out of this boy's shirt.

Christi Bowman shared her sunglasses with this cutie. Christi & her husband Kevin are presently preparing to return to Swaziland and minister to orphans full-time.

I was sunburned and very, very hot but loving every minute of it. There is just nothing in the world like Swazi children.
Daughter "B" loved playing with and holding the children...
....and often making them laugh.

And like babies everywhere, when it's time for a nap, it's time for a nap. And these babies are certainly are not picky about where that nap occurs.

After visiting the centre, we ate lunch at Di's home. Her husband Mike works for the sugar company. We ate grilled sandwiches from a local carry-out. Her house is lovely, surrounded by fruit trees.
We enjoyed her wonderful hospitality and just goofing off & relaxing. Here I am with Musa and Zwakele, two members of the team that disciples the kids at some of the carepoints.
B, A, & some of the others had fun messing about with a cricket bat.Our group relaxing on Di's veranda. Di is in purple. Note the burglar bars on the windows that can be opened up. Helps keep out unwanted people AND animals!

Kevin & Christi Bowman with Di. What a fabulous trio...passionate about Jesus and passionate about caring for orphans.

To find out how you can be a part of Kevin & Christi's journey back to Swaziland, visit Kevin's blog at:

If you would like more information about Moriah Centre and possibly get involved through prayer support or even giving financially, go to their website:

The rest of Monday's events will be posted tomorrow.