"Guidance and advice from the Directors during my time at RBW has been excellent."

Swaziland 2017
Posted 3rd November 2017

The photo reel - by Zoe Fitzgerald

I wanted to highlight my recent trip to Swaziland but as a keen photographer, I thought a photo reel would be a good form of communication!

 

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Team RBW have been fundraising for the Swaziland volunteer project for many months. In October the time had finally arrived for us to start making an impact. (Pictured left to right: Chris, Dani, Michelle, Sarah and myself)

 

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After a 12-hour flight, additional stopover, 5-hour taxi transfer in the thick fog and a border crossing, we arrived in Lidwala Backpacker Lodge in Ezulwini, Lobamba. After a long sleep, we were greeted to the above view. 

 

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On Sunday we enjoyed a leisurely morning at a local craft fair and a free afternoon at Hlane National Park where we went on safari. We were lucky enough to see rhinos, elephants, lions, antelope and hippos.

 

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Monday saw us meeting the organisation we would be helping for the week – All Out Africa. We were provided with all upcoming project information and then guided on a tour of the community – Lobamba.

 

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On Monday morning we arrived on the site of the project. We would be supporting Apollo and his 4 children. Apollo is a local gentleman who has TB, he is a single father and the above photo is his home. Our aim was to create a vegetable garden, so he and his family could live on the produce. 

 

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In the afternoon which visited a local “Homework Club” – the children in attendance are local, sponsored children and they would meet All Out Africa once a week to receive support with their school work. The children were kind and welcoming and clearly enjoyed the game hangman! 

 

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Tuesday morning was probably the hardest on the project. The sun was hot, the ground was hard and we didn’t think we would be able to finish the garden in the time we had! Three community workers visited Apollo whilst we were on site and even they helped with some of the digging! 

 

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The afternoon saw our second “Homework Club” – this group were slightly older than the first and the building were the group was held was predominantly made of cardboard. At the end of each session, the children sang a goodbye song. This was quite overwhelming and highlighted the difference in teenage children from the UK and this part of the world.

 

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The rain came and softened our ground so by the time we arrived on site on Thursday the ground was soft enough for us for make some great progress. We were able to start planting and seeing some success to the effort we were making. Here there are rows of onions. 

 

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The final “Homework Club” we helped was in the Lobamba Youth Centre – the centre didn’t have enough chairs for everyone and the windows were all smashed. Never the less, the children arrived and Tjengisa, the Projects Coordinator, confirmed the turnout was the best in 2 years! 

 

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On Friday we woke up to pouring rain; it was freezing! But it true Brit style we had the motivation to complete the garden. Even Michael, the Building Coordinator told us to stop but there was no way we would be doing that! And to our delight, we finished the garden! It may not look much but how this will help Apollo and his family will be life-changing. We returned once the rain had stopped to meet the family, even the neighbours came to meet us! 

 

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I have learnt so much from this experience:

  • Your mind is stronger than you think
  • A small amount of money can go along way, and effort can go even further
  • Be kind, always be kind!

 

Written by Zoe Fitzgerald - November 2017

 

 

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