News from Eswatini

I am always inspired by the amazing work our partners do at Heart for Africa. They are home and love for 248 babies (as of October 7th, 2019). I love their warm approach to education, faith, and just opening their hearts and home to the people of Eswatini. Their faith inspires me all the time. As a lover of babies with a special fondness for helping orphans their project constantly pulls at my heart strings. Here is a latest blog from their founder (who I think is amazing). I don’t typically re-post other blogs but it is such a great window into their world. I highly suggest following her blog and of course helping us support Heart for Africa by shopping their products on our website. Their beaded unicorn is particularly adorable!

– Thanks for sharing – Rachel McKinney, Branch Out Market founder

News from Eswatini:

I’m frequently asked, are things in Eswatini getting better? The simple answer is no.

When I sit on our patio and overlook the farm, I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness and mercy, and how our children, our work and Project Canaan are thriving. We survived the horrific fires in July, and now I can see hints of green starting to push up through the charred earth. The beauty of this land is starting to shine through once again. Our beetroot seedlings are growing nicely, and row upon row of goodness is springing forth towards the sky. Our chapel is being rebuilt and we have so much for which to be thankful.

Crops are growing again! Rebuilding of the Chapel But I only have to look beyond our gates to see a different picture of the country that we now call “home”. Life – already hard in Eswatini – is getting harder.

The people of Eswatini are restless, and there have been riots in the streets of some of our larger towns. The civil servants are “striking” (which isn’t technically accurate as it’s called “petitioning” here), which means that students aren’t able to take their final exams. There are nurses petitioning, which has compromised the entire healthcare system. Our own little Isabelle was scheduled for neurosurgery a few weeks ago (for a shunt in her brain), and the surgery was canceled twice. The first time it was canceled because the hospital didn’t have any anesthesia. The second time it was canceled because there weren’t nurses available at the hospital due to petitioning. Isabelle had her surgery this past Thursday, three weeks and three admissions after it was initially scheduled. We have been told by the doctors that the surgery was a success.

We have been told that the cost of electricity is going up by 25% next year, and the annual inflation rate has been at 8% for years. Jobs are increasingly difficult to find in a country with an estimated unemployment rate of more than 70%, resulting in 70%+ of the Swazi population relying on subsistence farming to feed themselves (which means they grow just enough to survive from season to season). The drought has made farming impossible for most of the country, causing widespread starvation.

The “early rains” (which should come at the beginning of September) did not come, which is when the ground is softened up enough so that Swazis can plant vegetables in their gardens. The heavy rains usually come at the end of October, so that maize can be planted, but it is predicted that the rains will be late (if they come) and that we will have a season of huge and angry storms (perhaps even a cyclone).

While we continue to see miracles here on Project Canaan with Kaela walking and starting to talk again, we remain somber and prayerful as we see the rest of the country in pain and suffering. We are ramping up our feeding program to address the increasing number of children going to our churches for food because there is none at home or at school. However, we know we can’t simply feed everyone in need.

When I write these monthly updates I am often tempted to only share with you the good news that is going on all around us, and there is a lot of it! But I would be grossly misrepresenting the situation here on the ground if I did that – and I ask for your prayers for this country and its people, whom we are called to serve. Please continue to pray for the Kingdom of Eswatini, for the 248 children who live at Project Canaan, for the employees who still struggle under the burden of caring for so many at home and for the leadership of Heart for Africa.

We covet your prayers and love. – Janine, Founder

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