On the “Ground”

img_3773img_3758img_3770img_3794imageFeeling quite inspired and renewed in my myself and the potential impact that I could have here as a Peace Core volunteer. This past week we had on the job training and it was amazing. For my permanent site I am placed in the Lubombo region which is the hottest region in Swaziland but I’m not sweating it. Lol After living in Malaysia for a year, I can handle a little heat. I was paired with an awesome teacher at my school who serves as my site support agent. She reminds me a lot of myself because “she don’t play no games” and is truly passionate about the students. I have also identified my counterpart and he goes by the name of Lucky. I joke and say that I’m lucky to have Lucky which I really am because he is “the man”. By this I am referring to the fact that he literally knows everyone in the community because he’s lived and worked there his entire life and was a former teacher at the High School in which I will be working.
My town is called Mpompotha and I will primarily be working in the high school there. I am excited to engage with the youth and they seemed to really be excited to work with me. I actually got introduced to the staff and pupils during my visit and after a couple of attempts at speaking my broken Siswati (for now), the students and staff couldn’t help but embrace me. There is approximately 700 students at my school with a population of about 90% OVC (orphan and vulnerable children).
From my brief visit at the school, I noticed that the school has a ton of resources including a wood shop, computer lab, culinary room, metal shop, agricultural animals and numerous crops growing on the school grounds. This was so amazing to see considering my High School back in the states was much different. The only thing that I saw missing was the school library which I came to find is being used as a storage room. I am eager to see if it is possible to get the library up and running and potentially continue the previous volunteer’s book club or a writing club to improve students English. I
The community is pretty spread out and because of the drought this past year many of the people there are struggling to maintain livestock and other crops that normally grow. I am hoping to implement some of my newly acquired permagardening techniques in my community as a way to empower community members and spread the knowledge. So I’m a Mamba now. Before my name was Mpumelelo Tsabedze from my temporary placement site but now im Nosmilo Mphumelolo Mamba. Nosmilo means good and kind girl while Mpumelelo means success. I am so grateful for the names that my families have given me. I find them to be quite fitting. My permanent host family consist of about thirteen people; mostly children which is very exciting for me but also nerve wrecking. How am I going to manage all the children I asked myself? Lol. But I’m not worried at all. Some of my closest friends are children (Malena & Melanie you know who you are). I am excited for all of the different personalities, laughter, fun and games. They’ll keep me young over the next few years.


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