Swazliland will be the second multi-media story about travel. You can read about the impetus for this here
The country: Swaziland has the lowest life expectancy worldwide at 32 years of age, and half of all those in their 20s have AIDS. The government is one of the few remaining absolute monarchies, and has done little to help. Yet not only is it one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever laid eyes on, but the people among the most hospitable. As one Swazi told me: “look around you, we’ve found Zion…now all we need to do is till the land”
My visit: Through a friend of a friend, I was introduced to Matambo, who would be my guide for the day and mentor for long after. Born into a family of 8 siblings, he ran away from home as a youth and roamed the country before realizing his calling: helping others. He became deeply involved in countrywide development projets, working his way up to battle the various “big-ticket” items: HIV/AIDS, sustainable farming, and sanitation issues. He was instrumental towards bringing in the Peace Corps, and set up one of the first orphanages in the country. His efforts were ultimately recognized internationally and he was invited to speak in D.C. After that the United Nations picked up on his work, and he has actually co-authored a book on behavioral change with support by UNAIDS. He considers his mission in life to enable those around him to think critically about their decisions and the direction their life is headed, in order to make better decisions for them, their family, and their community. I could not help but be inspired.
The song: Matambo and I spent the day driving around the country (it’s quite small), with the windows down and the system up. We shared a passion for music, and he brought about a dozen CDs for us to listen to. After trail and error only one of CDs ended up working. This song was on there, and once we heard it, we were hooked. We would take turns air-playing each instrument, and reveling in the glory. We must have played it 30 times that day; each time it would end one of us would hit repeat. May you enjoy it as much as we did.
I’ve linked the the video below, but I’d recommend watching it in a larger size here