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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Time warp: Traveling from “Third” World to “First” World and back

Traveling from Swaziland to America and back is a challenge.  It’s not the 20 hours of travel each way nor it is the jet lag, but rather it is the fundamental differences between the worlds that I find exhilarating and exhausting.

Take for example FREE High Speed Internet Services.  In America WI FI is available in almost every store, restaurant and office building.  FREE. HIGH SPEED.  WI FI!  We can’t find that combination in Swaziland.  Internet is expensive and we pay by the MB.  It is not High Speed (ever), but we are thankful that it is no longer dial up (which it was when we first started serving here).  Internet comes and goes and we are thankful when it is here.  There have been many times that it has taken me days to load this blog (starting on a Thursday so that it is loaded for Saturday).  While I LOVED having access to that wonderful service during my visit to the US I will admit that I found myself downloading the latest book, song or TV series when I could have been talking to my son, who was sitting right beside me.  Hmmm.  Maybe I am not the only one who has done that.  I regret those lost minutes together now that I am back in the Third World.  Lost forever.

Another fundamental difference is the concept of Capitalism.  Almost everyone in America understands Capitalism and it flavors everyday conversations and decisions the way salt flavors most of the things we eat.  I want to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to the WLA Ladies from the US Bank.  They have been pushing me (ever so nicely) to send them hand made jewelry, grass bowls, scarves and spoons to be ready to do a huge sale at the US Bank office and at the Fall Womenetics Event at the Georgia Aquarium last week.  These women understand capitalism and when I gave them the “suggested retail price” they said, “what?? That is too cheap!  We need to sell it for more.”  I am thankful for them because 100% of the profits from the sale of these hand made Swazi items is going to finish building the Khutsala Artisans Shop on Project Canaan.  Not only do we pay the women making these items, which allows them to support their families, but we are building for the future of  women on Project Canaan.

With combined sales at the US Bank office in Alpharetta and the amazing Womenetics Conference the ladies sold $25,000+ of hand made goods.  That is one of the beautiful things about Americans – they are generous and want to help when they can. Thank you to each and every person who purchased a piece of jewelry or who made a donation so that they could be a part of an exciting new endeavour on Project Canaan.

It is now 7:30PM Swazi time.  I slept until 2PM today and am now awake to write this blog.  While I write this, Ian is grilling steaks for our dear friends from the American Egg Board who are visiting us for the weekend (Joanne Ivy, Bruce and Deb Dooyema) so this blog will be short.

Tomorrow is a big day.  We are officially moving the first four women in to the Sicalo Lesisha Kibbutz and two of them will start making jewelry for the Khutsala Artisans Shop on Monday.   We hope that the move will bring hope to them and their children and will be a tiny part of changing the future of this Kingdom.

Live from Swaziland … I am happy to be back to my simple way of living in this world.


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