Saturday, May 12, 2007

Arrival in Africa

ORL BLOGG 070501
Overseas Resource Link established an on-the-ground presence in Swaziland with the arrival of the Rolly and Cathy Anderson, ORL’s founding directors. Their arrival was timed to coordinate with the tenth anniversary celebration of Swaziland Teen Challenge and Lighthouse Ministries. From Thursday, April 26th through Sunday, April 29th private and public banquets and events highlighted the achievements of these organizations in ministering to young people without hope. This time of celebration culminated with the graduation ceremony Sunday morning of six young men from the Teen Challenge 12 month interdiction program and six young men and women from the 12 month Teen Challenge Life Skill Center. Each of the graduating students shared inspiring testimonies of how these programs have completely transformed their lives. Teen Challenge International is recognized as the most effective drug and alcohol treatment programs world-wide and has over 500 centers in 28 countries. On Saturday the 28th visitors were given an opportunity to tour Hawane Farms, a 40 acre facility that currently is home to 60 orphans and abandoned children. . The emphasis at Hawane Farms is on creating loving Christian home settings consisting of individual family units made up of surrogate parent couples or “Aunties” and six to ten children. To insure that these children are not separated from their rich Swazi culture, an authentic Swazi homestead has been created on the farm where the children receive regular instruction in Swazi folklore and the history and traditions of their people. Located 30 minutes north of the capitol city of Mbabane Hawane Farms is being transformed into a completely self contained farming community. Hawane is already supplying other ministry sites in Mbabane and Bulembu with fresh vegetables and soon fresh fish and rabbit will also be in abundance. In addition to the agricultural projects and housing units, Hawane boasts its own medical clinic run by two British nurses with a hospice unit for any end-of-life AIDS orphan children. Another ministry not affiliated with the Lighthouse or Teen Challenge is Jesus Cares Ministry. Founded by Matrina, a retired school teacher, Jesus Cares is located in the rural outskirts of the capitol city of Mbabane. It is highly unusual for a woman to own property in Swaziland but Matrina persisted and was granted her small homestead by the local presiding chief. Since initially acquiring the property, she has been able to add two additional structures as well as bring electrical power to the property. The girls still must carry water to the homestead, but undaunted, Matrina has her sights set on starting several income producing activities so that she can expand her ministry to include a free school for the girls and other children in the area as public education in Swaziland is not free and the nearest public school is a considerable distance away. Visiting with Matrina is always an inspirational experience. In the coming weeks we will be bringing you first hand reports from El Shaddaie ministry atop Piggs Peak and the community of Bulembu situated at the highest geographical point in Swaziland.