We don't have much time today to continue the Swazi trip interview, but we'll try to squeeze a bit in before I have to go start cooking supper. At the end of the last interview, you were talking about your time in Manzini and getting used to the "living in the now" attitude. At the end of the first week, y'all made a major move. Tell me about that.
We moved from Manzini, which is the industrial capital of Swaziland, to Timbutini which is a rural area about a half hour outside of Manzini. In Manzini, we lived in the "White House", our name for the house AIM owns. It was really big with a lot of bunk beds and really cold all the time because they only had tile on the floor. The house had electricity and running water but our water went out several times and because there were so many of us on my team, and such a small water tank, not all of us would get to shower every day. We would each get to shower every three days. In Timbutini we stayed on a homestead [traditional Swazi farm] that belonged to a Swazi. They just let us stay there in the hut AIM had for us. We used the main house that had a gas stove and a fridge and two light bulbs inside. And a room for the boys. The hut was a big round house made out of concrete with two windows and a big, thick wooden door that had a barred gate that closed on it. The windows had bars on them and really thick curtains. The roof was thatched. Bathrooms were three pieces of tin stuck together on a concrete slab with a tin roof on top and a piece of tin leaning against the front to serve as a door. There would be a tin seat about a foot and a half off the ground with a plastic toilet seat but you couldn't really sit on it because the tin would buckle under your weight. Everything went down into a deep, dark pit hole including a dead goat.
How did you get clean?
Shower facilities would be 4 sides of tin stuck into a concrete slab with a door that would swing open. You could take buckets of water in there with you and take bucket showers. I didn't have one the whole time I was there. The more popular, easy option was to wipe yourself down with wet-wipes. And then for your hair, to just wash it in a bucket or big bowl.
Where did you get the water?
There was a really big, open water tank made, again, out of tin with a little faucet sticking out of it that you would turn on and off for the water. AIM buys the water from a company that delivers it in a truck out to Timbutini.
So, all you girls...that was how many?
That kept you toasty warm, huh.
Very, very warm.
Your meals were cooked in the main house by...?
Usually Amy and Jessica [ the female team leaders] but they started having volunteers help them.
And where, how, and what did y'all eat while at Timbutini?
Where? We ate outside in a circle on plastic chairs.
People would get in line and go into the house. You had to take off your shoes first. And get what you wanted and then go back outside and sit down.
And then what?
Peanut butter and jelly every day. Except for during debrief. Rice and beans A LOT. Oatmeal almost every day. That was mostly it. One night we had take-out pizza.
That wasn't at Timbutini was it?
Yes, we had take-out from the Rustic Tavern.
One time, we had a chicken salad and it had homemade croutons on it that I think Chandler made. They were divine and no one would let me have any of theirs.
Yeah, you've told me that you frequently ate a lot of the other people's leftovers.
No, I ate what was leftover in the pots, etc. Chris ate other people's leftovers.
While speaking in French?
Probably once or twice.
Okay, so what did you do for entertainment during your off-hours at Timbutini?
Anna is snortling over this one.
Chased farm animals and threw things at them. Took pictures and videos of ourselves. Engaged in pointless conversations. Engaged in very deep conversations. Cleaned. Wrote business cards for our cleaning services. Read. Read other people's books. Listened on our ipods. Stole other people's ipods and listened to them. Tanned. Gave each other "massage trains". Rachel was fascinated by my accent so always wanted me to say stuff for her. And at night we would look at stars while engaging in VERY deep conversations. We also would have frequent dance parties. One night we had a talent show.
What kind of animals were at the homestead?
Lots of monstrous chickens. Annoying goats. Some dead goats. And a few times cows broke in. Oh, there were also three disgusting dogs. They were so gross. And they were not allowed to come near us when we were eating but the only people they were scared of were me and leader Amy. So I did a lot of dog scaring. Oh and spiders. I was the spider killer.
What was the best thing about staying in a traditional, rural homestead?
You had a really great view. You didn't feel guilty about where we were staying, about it being too nice. And most of your ministry stuff was easily accessible.
What was the hardest thing?
For me, it was that we had no privacy from other people. Anyone could just wander up on the homestead at anytime. And when you're eating, it could be hard to just sit there and eat in front of little kids while they stared at you. Even if you knew for a fact that they had already eaten and would be eating again soon. It was also really dirty there and one night ants invaded our room and we had ants covering the walls and the floor and in some people's beds and they even bit some of us. So we fed them oatmeal and they died. Mwahaha.
Well you've really done a good job of helping us get a picture of what life was like for you at the homestead. We've got to stop for now because I have to go cook supper, but next time we'll talk about what you did ministry-wise while at Timbutini.