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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Giant slugs, red frogs, flooding rivers, no electricity and a new baby.

“I live on a farm in Africa.” – Meryl Streep, Out of Africa

We live on a farm in Africa too and every day is a new adventure.

I have intentionally added lots of photos in this blog because a picture is worth a thousand words and maybe you sometimes think I just make things up. Nope, the photos, which you are about to see, really were taken here at Project Canaan.

There used to be a bridge there.
The rains have finally started to fall and the storms have been crazy.  With the rain has come golf ball sized hail, massive flooding of the river (3 feet higher than the bridge we have to cross) and our dam is up at least 12 feet and full to overflowing – literally.  Lightening has taken down trees, knocked out power around the country and struck our electrical cable buried in the ground.  This was not an easy fix.  It required a couple of guys to dig a trench 100 feet long, by 3 feet deep until they found the burned cable.  Meanwhile, the things in our freezer have thawed for the third time in several weeks. We have been charging laptops and phones in the car and going to be early, in the dark.  

Our electrical cable struck by lightening, then burned.
I can’t help but reread my last paragraph and laugh (or cry).  Most people here in Swaziland don’t have a car to drive across the bridge.  They don’t have electricity to be knocked out by lightening and they sure don’t have freezers full of “extra food” to thaw without power.  They don’t have laptops to charge and no car to charge their phones with.  They have roofs with holes that let the water pour in. They have walls made of mud that wash away in the torrential rain.  They have maize flour that gets wet in the rain and turns moldy in a few short days. They go to bed every night when it is dark, because it is dark.  At times I seem to feel “entitled” to my frustration about losing electricity for days at a time, when I know that I should be giving thanks for all of those things that I have to make my life more convenient and comfortable. I am ashamed for being angry about losing them for a short time.

In addition to weather we have seen strange creatures on our patio including a giant slug almost as big as my Size 10 sandal and a red frog, who I am told is trying to mate by sticking its tongue out to catch small insects and attract a female.  The good thing to see  this week were the turkeys who are fattening up on the farm getting ready for “you know what”.  Shhhh, we haven’t told them about the big day.

Male red frog hoping to mate on our patio. 
Christmas dinner is fattening up!
The highlight of the week was picking up Baby Lenah (she is #47) from her 17-year old orphan mother.  Both of her parents died of HIV related illnesses.  Lenah is 3-months old and named after her 80-year old Grandmother who begged us to take the baby because the teenage mother was not caring for her at all.  The baby is HIV negative and is a healthy, happy baby.

I am thankful for the “little things”, like electricity.  I am thankful that I have a Christmas tree with decorations and lights that work.  I am thankful that I have a laptop to communicate with Spencer and Chloe from a million miles away. I am thankful that they will both be on an airplane in just a couple of weeks and that we can celebrate Christmas together, on our farm in Africa.

Live from Swaziland … I have nothing to complain about.


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