3 Generations

This old photo is a classic, this is a grandmother, in the blue dress and her adult daughter, who carries her most recent baby.  When I came to know this family in 1999, the mother (in peach coloured dress) had abandoned her children with the grandmother.   The mother had 8 children at that time, I’m not sure how many she has now. There was no father about, and her …

Jeremy eating the food

I love this photo!  It takes me back.  That blonde boy in the red shirt is my son, Jeremy, who is now in his 20’s and out into the world.  You can tell, he’s not too thrilled about this.  His cousin, Blake, is next to him.  Note the local kids staring at our boys, this is SUCH a strange occurrence to have these white boys lined up for their food.  …

Neli and her siblings

Neli is the girl in the middle.  She is one of the very first students that our family met in 1999, when we first visited this rural area of Swaziland.   Neli is seen here with her younger brother and sister.  Through Swazi Kids Society, we,  paid for he education from grades 7-12.   I show you this to demonstrate not just the clothing on a sponsored child, but the sense of …

Fuel and water for food.

Here we see that the kids do all the physical work of the school, including washing the floors and all surfaces on Friday afternoons! The running boys shot is a day when they were told to wear school uniforms, so that they could be cleaned for a special day, the next day. The boys are running to school, as they are a bit late and could be whipped for this. …

Feeding program at Matjana

It was clear, early on, that food was needed for these children, in this Kaphunga region.  By now, Swazi Kids was a federally recognized charity in Canada, with a healthy list of donors. I approached a large and generous donor about beginning a feeding program for the students at Matjana.  They agreed and we have been providing 1 or 2 hot meals daily for these children since about 2001. Women …

Matjana 2016

We have supported many students at this school, through Swazi Kids, over all these years. Indeed, I would say more students here than anywhere else. So, I take some pride in the obvious developments at Matjana over these past years, although I don’t take the credit, as the head of school here is the real driver!  The last photo was taken in 2016. You can see there are now other …

Matjana 1999

In ’99 when the Carlsons first visited, with community support, the head of school had added another 3 classrooms, with 3 more in the works. She has also had to build and add small homes for the teachers to live in, as these rural schools are remote enough and transportation limited enough, that commuting to work is not possible. Teachers live onsite from Sunday to Friday, then school knocks off …

One room school house

We travelled to Swaziland as part of a Southern Africa trip, as a family. My husband, Bruce, had business in Johannesburg, we were homeschooling our boys at the time (Jeremy aged 5 and Benji 8.) We turned a business trip into a one month trip, that included: Egypt, South Africa, a 3-day safari, Lesotho and Swaziland. Being an off the beaten track type of traveler, I wanted to get out …

Tall Gogo

Circa 1999, this is an old favourite of mine. This was during my first trip to Swaziland, at this point I did not have any idea that I’d begin and run an NGO in the country, adopt a child, travel there once or even three times a year for the rest of my life (so far) and guide people to do service work. Everything was fresh and new, as it …

Boy at huts

Whenever I give a presentation, I begin with this photo. It grounds me in my story, so why should writing a blog be any different? This is one of the earliest photos that I took on my first trip to Swaziland. You can tell that the quality of the photo, that this is pre-digital, it was taken in 1999. The reason that I like it is that it captures so …