My time in Africa…was all about Matjana Preschool

In one word was singular.

Why singular? Because it was the singular most amazing experience of my entire life; stands out, on its own, number one.

When I think about my time in Africa, South Africa/ Swaziland, I see a blur of people, animals, landscapes, sunrises, sunsets, and children on swings for hours on end, the bus ride, the car ride, the plane ride. I hear laughing, mooing, crowing, the roof trying to blow off our mud hut, and the very occasional old bus rumbling along the very rocky dirt road. I smell the smoke. I taste the rice and potato and cabbage, and the rice and potato and cabbage, and the rice and potato and cabbage…I feel the humble, natural life the people in the village lead, and the open way in which we were shown these very things.

On the very first morning, while sitting out the front of our mud hut accommodation, sipping black coffee, watching the sun come up, we start to see a few children appear in the play ground on the other side of the pre-school grounds. Tessa and I look to each other and wonder where exactly these children have come from, as we had not seen any adults around or walking them in… We were later informed, the children walk themselves to pre-school. For some this walk is upwards of 30-45mins away. We could not believe it. But every day these children arrived safe, and walked themselves home again. They knew exactly where to go, and did not stray from their mission of getting to school first to play on the swings.

When Tessa and I had the pleasure of being shown around Ncobile’s homestead, and we bid her farewell for the afternoon, as it was nearing dinner time, she so casually stated ‘Yes, I must be going to fetch the water now’. Let me paint the picture of this one statement, Ncobile is full-term pregnant (We were hoping she’d pop the baby out while we were there) she is the head teacher at Matjana Pre-school, and had just worked a full day, the water to be collected is a 45min round walk down a valley (Which we later in the week walked ourselves….you’ve got to be joking!) and the amount of water you ask? 20 litres, upon her head! Enough said.

These are only two of the mind blowing differences between what is normal for us and what a perfectly normal life is for those in Swaziland. I went there with an open mind, and no particular expectations, as I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I am still reeling from it all and processing the trip, and will continue to be humbled by the wonderful, amazing, life changing experience that was Matjana Pre-school and Swaziland.

Oh, and not to mention, I patted a giraffe!! That is a story for next time!