I AM NOW IN SWAZILAND!!!!! I got a call on Wednesday night telling me to pack my things and that I would be flying to Maputo on Friday morning and driving down to Swaziland on Saturday morning along with a few other Elders. Elder Nielsen is also down here in Swaziland as a District Leader. Other good news, we are all back together, Elder Nielsen, Elder Watteyne, and I! We aren't in the same district, and the two of them are in a different Zone, but we will still see each other quite often.
I am serving in the Mbabane Zone, Elder Larsen is one of my Zone Leaders- which is Super Cool that I get to see him a lot. He is a great leader and I love working with him. So I am in the Mbabane Zone, and I am in the Sidwashini District (good luck pronouncing that). My area is Sidwashini C, which is pretty much at the top of a couple of mountain ranges. It is so mountainy here and it is a hike every time we go walking in our area. My companion is Elder Chirchir who is from Kenya/Uganda. He was born in Kenya, but raised in Uganda. He was in the MTC with Elder Perez at the same time, and he is a very tall, humble, fun loving, kind, and respectful Man. I already know that we will be getting along very well and we will get a lot of work done. He is extremely hard working and I already love him. He has spent his whole time here in Sidwashini and he is the only person in our District that isn't new. There are 3 Companionships in our district: Elder Chirchir and I, Elder Nunes and his Brazilian Trainee, Elder Cardoso, and Sister Ross (from Chandler, Arizona) with her Brazilian Trainee, Sister Santos. 5 of the 8 areas in our Zone are being "white washed" which is absolutely NUTZ! But the Lord knows what he is doing.
Currently Elder Chirchir and I live by ourselves in a little 2 person house that has our room, a small living room/kitchen, and a bathroom. It is a small house, but it is just perfect for a companionship of missionaries. Our house is right at the bottom of massive gorgeous mountains.
Swaziland is such a different place. It is cleaner, more civilized, more structured and established, and everyone speaks ENGLISH!!! That is probably the hardest part. I have been speaking Portuguese for a whole year with people and communicating with people in English is extremely difficult. But I'm told that it only takes about 3 weeks to get accustomed to the English. But the people of Swaziland don't speak English to one another, their first language is Siswati, which is a lot like Zulu, and it uses clicks!!! So it is really weird and I feel like I am back in my first month here when I couldn't understand anything that was going on around me. But with time I should pick it up a little.
Also, it is really really cold here. I haven't had to use a jacket or a sweater my whole mission, but my first day here I was told by everyone that a sweater and heavy jacket was a must, so made sure I went and bought one my first night here, and I was so grateful that I did! It is freezing here! We don't have A/C in our house, but we have space heaters, and electric, heated blankets that we use at night.
It is like America here. Malls, paved roads, nice cars, parking garages, sidewalk, nice restaurants, everything is just like America. Well, I've got to go... If you've got any other questions about how it is going here, feel free to ask.
Now, to answer all of the questions that Mom sent me...
Now, to answer all of the questions that Mom sent me...
1.My cooking skills...
Well, seeing as how I am forced to cook for myself and/or my companion at times, I have learned ALOT about cooking and the tricks and trades of different ingredients. But we also cook very simple meals. Pasta, rice and beans, chicken, burgers, a few traditional african plates, burritos, pizza, sandwiches, just a lot of simple stuff like that. At times we can get pretty creative with meals, but it is typically just a simple meal. We don't eat dinner ever, we just stay out in the area and work for that hour, so we just eat a big lunch.
2. How often do I cook?
Every dang day.
3. Who do I cook for?
My comp and I cook together and eat together. Occasionally we will get together as a house and have a big house meal. But those are rare.
4. Do I eat with people in the area?
Rarely. It has happened a couple of times where we didn't want to be rude or offend people or we were starving, so we accepted their food; but it is usually wise to stay away from native cooking (even though the food is heavenly and amazing), you run the risk of getting pretty sick- which has not happened to me yet.
5. Clothing- How is it holding up?
Shoes- My first pair of shoes got absolutely destroyed, but I took them to a guy on the road and he sewed pieces of old mud flaps to the bottom, so I am still using them. But I also got out my shoes that I haven't used yet and I use those sometime as well. All of my pants and shirts are doing just fine. In fact, because it is my year mark, I dipped into my luggage and pulled out 5 new shirts and 4 new pair of pants that i haven't touched my whole mission. My garments as well are still perfect. I don't know how people manage to destroy their clothing on the mission. If you are mindful of it and take care of them, they will last you two years, no problem.
7. I can't think of anything that I need from home, I'm in a place that if I want, I can get most of the commodities of America.
8. I got my Portuguese Scriptures from the Distribution centre here.
To the family.
Mom- so there is a man here that makes customized Swaziland CTR rings with titanium and giraffe hair. It is dope!!! So everyone that passes through Swaziland gets one, but, it is 40 US dollars. so if you could deposit about 100$ into my account, I have a feeling that I will need to use a bit of money until I get settled in here. I already had to take out some personal money for the jacket and sweater, and I spent about 500 Rand, which is roughly $40. So I may have to buy a couple of other things as well, (winter gloves, beanie, etc.) I hadn't planned on spending so much, but with this change, I realize that I may have to as I get settled in here.
Dad- HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!! I wish I could have been home to give you a nice, hour long foot rub as you lay in your chair and watch The Hunt for Red October, or some old guy movie like that, and you fall asleep after 30 minutes. I love you so much Dad and hope that you got all that you needed and a lot of what you wanted. But good news, this is the last Father's day that I will miss!!!!! See you next time!
Devon- I am literally about a 2 or 3 hour drive away from you mission, Man! Crazy! I'll likely still be here when you get here.
Well I love you guys so much and hope that all is going well over there!
Elder Ryland Rash
|Last meal with all the missionaries in Biera|
|Leaving those he loves in Manga.....|
|Departure day...leaving his buddies in Manga|
|His shoes after one year of walking....|
|I can't even.....|
|The drive from Maputo to Swaziland|
|He said the drive reminded him of the drive on the Beeline Highway up to Payson|
|Felt like home....|
|At the border of Mozambique into Swaziland|
|Don't worry, Elder Rash will be back!|
|WELCOME TO SWAZILAND!!!!|
|His companion Elder Chirchir from Kenya/Uganda|
|He is going to love his time in Swaziland!!!|