1. What do you like most about Swaziland now that you have been there for awhile?Now that I have been here for a while, the thing that I like most about Swaziland is a tie between the scenery and the people. I love the mountains and feel like I am driving up through Logan county and Cache Valley every time I mount a Khombi and go up to our area. The Scenery is just gorgeous! And I also have fallen even more in love with the people and their culture. A lot of people are just super nice and are willing to joke around with you and laugh (especially if you are a white guy that can speak a bit of their language). FYI My siSwati name is Jabulane Lekhwekhwe (Happiness Rash) Haha! But also the people can be my least favorite part as well. People here are far more racist towards whites than you would think. I have snide remarks and cold looks thrown at me wherever I go. If anyone back home complains that whites are racist towards blacks... Come to Africa... You'll see what racism is like- especially towards albinos. It used to be legal to hunt and kill Albinos and sell their bones for money. People are more civilized now, but the racism is still in full force.
2. Tell us more about your area. What is the address of your home or do they have addresses?My area... I don't have an address, and if I do I don't know what it is. But my area now covers Makholokholo, Nkoyoyo, and Mpolonjeni.
3. How big is your area now that you have redistricted the boundaries?My area is massive now. Mpolonjeni is HUGE! The Sisters previously had it and they use a car. They had that area BECAUSE they had access to a car. It is muito grande! We have barely scratched the surface, and we've been working there for about a week.
4. Are you still enjoying being a DL?I've gotten used to being Distric Leader. It is just a part of the mission. Wouldn't say that I "enjoy" it, but I've been serving as the District Leader for Half of my mission now. It is just a position to learn and grow a bit more. I am super grateful for the experience that I have gained, and I do enjoy divisions to get to know other areas and other missionaries. So I do enjoy that part.
5. Is Chir Chir learning Portuguese? How is that going?Elder Chirchir is learning Portuguese. It is going well... He hasn't been immersed in the language, but with the resources he has, he is doing well. His accent is terrible, but that will come with time.
6. How well do you think your Portuguese is now?I don't think my Portuguese has changed all that much, aside from my accent. I have started using the Brazilian Portuguese because that is what I am surrounded by. I speak with Brazilians every day and still speak portuguese. I think my language may have even improved. So that is good.
7. Are there any strange things they eat in Swazi?The foods that they eat here in Swaziland are pretty much the same as the foods that they eat in Mozambique, except here they eat a lot more beef. But it is typically just rice, or pap, with some type of soup or stew. That is the norm.
8. What cultural customs do they have in Swazi?The culture customs are pretty weird. We are approaching the Day of the Reed Dance. Which is the day that the King chooses a new wife. The government takes all of the virgin young women between the ages of 12 to 18 up to the mountain to perform some ceremony and practice a dance, then on the day of the Reed Dance, all of the young virgins dance shirtless in front of the king so that he can choose his new wife... Yeah, pretty weird. They also have some weird rituals to tell if a young woman truly is a virgin or not. When they go up to the mountains, every young woman has to cut a reed that is growing by a river and hold it in their hand as they walk down the mountain. If the reed stays straight and upright, then the woman is a virgin, but it the reed bends and withers, then she is not, and is not allowed to dance for the king. Weird, right? Also the marriage traditions are odd.
9. Have you learned any other African languages?I've been learning siSwati a little bit, and it is coming along nicely. I can say a lot of things, but understanding people is a different story. They speak so fast.
10. How long do you think you will stay in Swazi?I am pretty sure that I will stay here in Swaziland for a few more months. I wouldn't mind staying here until Christmas, then being transferred at the beginning of the year. Most Americans stay here for about 4 transfers, and after this one, I will have been here for two. So I will probably have two more and maybe a third. I should be here still for Christmas
11. Is the work getting any better? Are you feeling the fruits of your hard work yet?The work is getting better. We will be having Brian's baptism this week and I am so excited! I am starting to see the fruits pay off. I really hope that we can have Easter and Zelda's baptisms this next month. Continue praying for them.
12. What words of advice do you have for your brother?I'll send some stuff for Devon next week probably. alright?
13. How is Elder Brochier recovering after you preformed the "surgery"?So with Elder Brochier, he is okay! The abscess did leave eventually, but now he has 7 in the same armpit! Nice, right? I will not be performing anymore surgeries.
You guys need to send me more pictures from home! And some recordings! Okay?Well, you ought to feel special Dad. Took all my time writing you this week, instead of Mom. So this will also be my weekly letter. You may post what you want and take out what you want. But this is it for the week.
Elder Ryland Rash
|Divisions with Elder Larsen...Ryland loves this guy!|
|Having fun with Elder Larsen...PLUS, riding around Ryland's area in a CAR!!!! What a treat!|
|No running water in their apartment for a week! They have to walk down to a creek and fill this bucket with water.|
|Elder Brochier is recovery well after this "surgery"!|
|Sharing water with Elder Bird and Elder Brochier. Bucket showers all week!|