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Published: March 18th 2012
After a trip through the gentle rolling hills of SE South Africa, we came to the border crossing into Swaziland. First we had to exit South Africa, then clear entrance into Swaziland…on foot. We gave all our passports to our driver, he processed them, then one-by-one we were called by the emigration officer and handed back our passports. Long queues but not to much of a delay. We then walked across to the entry immigration building on the Swazi side. Colorful display, long queue but again, rapid processing. After getting our passports stamped, we officially walked across the border and entered Swaziland. Prior to getting to the border, the terrain had become a bit more rugged, some granite rocks visible in the countryside. We stopped for lunch at a compound of local artisan crafts just inside the border. It was anchored by a glass blowing shop with interesting blown glass items. After lunch, we browsed and bought a few souvenirs and then kept going to Manzini via the capital city of Mbabane. We drove through the capital and the country side was more mountainous but very picturesque. A deep blue sky with cumulus clouds billowing and
the sun shining made everything look quite spectacular. Mbabane is a city of only about 60,000 with some scattered urbanization around the city. We made it to Manzini, which we seemed immediately more hustle and bustle. It is a bit larger than Mbabane, but seems more active. We found the George Hotel – more modest than our J-burg accommodations, but comfortable and spacious rooms.
After an hour of settling in, we were invited to join the entire team to a reception dinner at the Nazarene compound here in Manzini. This complex hosts a hospital, nursing school, church and other primary/seconday school facilities. The part of the campus we were hosted looked new, had well manicured grounds. To emphasize the need for tolerance and flexibility, we (and the caterers) were locked out of the dining hall. A locksmith was called in and he cracked the lock on the door to get us all in after a short delay. The meal was spectacular and we were introduced to many of the Swazi leadership involved in the specific projects our teams are working on: medical teams, HIV/AIDS outreach, education, well drilling and the Luke Commission team. One of the people at my
table was Jimmy – a South African entrepreneur that drills and deploys wells powered by solar panels throughout Swaziland. He’s an interesting character, knows a lot about the country, was a fountain of knowledge and had a great relationship with the Nazarene team here in Swaziland.
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