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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Q & A from Taiwan

  It is Saturday afternoon here in Taiwan, so I am a bit late for “morning” in Swaziland, but still have a few hours before the sun comes up in North America so I have a few extra hours to put my thoughts together for this week’s blog.

Last night I posted a question on Facebook and asked what I should blog about today? I had questions from Australia, Canada and the US so I will take this opportunity to answer all of them.  I hope this information is valuable and interesting.  Thank you to each of you who posted a question!

Question:  Ann from Indiana asked:  I would love to hear the story of your friends in Taiwan and their involvement with and support of Heart for Africa Swaziland.

Answer:  Taiwan and Swaziland have a very important political and diplomatic relationship. Swaziland is one of only 24 nations globally that recognizes Taiwan as being and independent nation from China.  This unique political position provides an important platform for the two nations to work together.  Taiwan has a wellknown philosophy that basically says (pardon my paraphrase), “Fifty years ago Taiwan was a recipient of foreign aid and many other nations came to assist us in our time of need.  Now we must be givers of foreign aid and help others who are in need as we once were.”  Swaziland is a recipient of kindness and support due to the unique partnership with Taiwan.


This philosophy was one of the reasons that Mr. Lewis Lu starting bringing students from Changhua Senior Highschool to Swaziland to serve the poor in 2007.  His ambition, dedication and commitment manifested and grew into the formation of the organization called Heart for Africa Taiwan with Mr. Michael Chen, and their enthusiasm encouraged many other groups to get involved including: other High Schools, the Catholic church, Christian schools and churches, Universities, Hospitals, Lions Club International and Rotary International).  Due to Mr. Lu’s efforts we will launch a group called Heart for Africa Japan on February 2nd at the ONE WORLD conference in Osaka, Japan.  I am always encouraged by and thankful for the never-ending efforts of the people of Taiwan to help us in Swaziland.

Question:  Lori from California asked: What are the greatest ‘needs’ in Taiwan?  They are doing so much for Swaziland, how can we help/pray for them?

Answer:  That is a tough one for me to answer because I do not live here and am only a visitor.  We are thankful for the love and support that we get from our Taiwanese friends and that religion is not a barrier to helping the orphans and vulnerable children of Swaziland.  I am proud to say that my Buddhist friends have joined with my Catholic friends, my Christian friends and my non-Christian friends to help the orphans and vulnerable children of Swaziland and I pray that each and every person is blessed abundantly for his or her participation.

Question:  Penny from Georgia asked: Talk about snake wrangling in Swaziland?

Answer:  Now, Penny, you know we don’t wrangle snakes in Swaziland!    We just sprinkle mothballs all over the property and they go away! J  The truth is we have lots of really nasty snakes that appear regularly on the farm including:  Python, Spitting Cobra, Black Mamba, Green Mamba and Puff Adder to name a few.  We try to avoid them as much as they try to avoid us (and Brooke Sleeper is working on a protocol for snakes bites on the farm).  But we discourage ALL “wrangling”.

Question:  Janet from Australia asked:  What do you do to de-stress? From the day-to day issues?

Spencer sitting in our favorite spot with the best vi
Answer:  I find myself much less stressed on a daily basis than ever before. When I was in business I carried the burden of the company and the people I worked with every day.  That was very stressful.  When I worked at Heart for Africa in Canada and the US I felt the burden of the work being done in Africa while I sat millions of miles away.  That was very hard on me emotionally. Now that I live and work in Swaziland I feel that I am doing the best that I can with what I have and that in itself gives me great peace and joy. 

BUT, at the end of each and almost every day Ian and I (and sometimes Chloe) will sit out on our patio at 6PM and enjoy the quiet and beauty of the farm. It brings us back to ‘center’ quickly and to a place of thanksgiving that is pure and real.  We also love watching TV – that is our big escape.  We don’t really get live TV, but watch series on DVD from beginning to end.  Favorites include:  Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, 24, Alias and for comedy Modern Family.

The view of the farm from our patio.

Question:  Kim from Ontario, Canada asked: Please talk about the Moringa Tree and why it is important?

Answer:  The Moringa Tree is one of the many crops we are growing on Project Canaan. To date we have planted more than 2,000 Moringa seeds, which have become seedlings used in with our church partners and in our own Moringa fields.  We harvest the leaves, dry them, grind them and sell the powder to anyone who would like to purchase it. One day we hope to have enough for export, but in the meantime it is proving to have significant positive impact in the health of some of our HIV workers at Project Canaan.

Moringa leaves being harvested by November volunteer team.
“In developing tropical countries, Moringa trees have been used to combat malnutrition, especially among infants and nursing mothers. Leaves can be eaten fresh, cooked, or stored as dried powder for many months without refrigeration, and without loss of nutritional value. Moringa is especially promising as a food source in the tropics because the tree is in full leaf at the end of the dry season when other foods are typically scarce. Analyses of the leaf composition have revealed them to have significant quantities of vitamins A, B and C, calcium, iron and protein. According to Optima of Africa, Ltd., a group that has been working with the tree in Tanzania, "25 grams daily of Moringa Leaf Powder will give a child" the following recommended daily allowances:

Protein 42%, Calcium 125%, Magnesium 61%, Potassium 41%, Iron 71%, Vitamin A 272%, and Vitamin C 22%. These numbers are particularly astounding; considering this nutrition is available when other food sources may be scarce.

Scientific research confirms that these humble leaves are a powerhouse of nutritional value. Gram for gram, Moringa leaves contain: SEVEN times the vitamin C in oranges, FOUR times the Calcium in milk, FOUR times the vitamin A in carrots, TWO times the protein in milk and THREE times the Potassium in bananas.”    Source -

Question:  Linda from Georgia asked: How about blogging about your hopes and dreams for 2013?

Answer:  It’s funny that you would ask that while I am sitting in a guest room at a boarding school in Taiwan with my 16-year old daughter Chloe.  Today, my hopes and dreams for 2013 are that Chloe will find peace and joy in the school that she is going to attend for the next two years of her life.  She has gone through tremendous transition over the past six years as we moved to Alpharetta, Georgia and then to Swaziland, Africa.  She has supported our “calling” and the work that Ian and I are doing, but it has not been easy and not been without personal sacrifice.  Chloe is a beautiful young lady and the only thing that I want more than her happiness is for her to be right where she is “supposed” to be.  We believe that God has a very big plan for her life and the road ahead may not be easy and carefree, but I believe with my heart and soul that it will be well worth the hard work it in the end.  Linda, thank you for asking.

That's my girl - never afraid of a challenge.

Live from Taiwan … it’s Saturday evening.


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