Monday, July 26, 2010

World Cup Fever

The 2010 Soccer World Cup was the most spoken about topic in South Africa and had the world watching in anticipation. This soccer-fever certainly didn’t breeze past Swaziland or Bulembu. Most of the Bulembu community embraced the South African (Bafana Bafana) team as their own and showered them with support throughout the Cup.

Norman Tzabedzeor better known as Norman-the-storeman and the majority of Swazis are as passionate about soccer, as Americans are with their football and Canadians with their hockey. Not only does he coach what we believe is the next generation of Swazi soccer players at the Bulembu Academy, but he also makes sure that there is a community room available so people can watch and follow soccer matches.

Before the World Cup started, Dennis Neville,Director of Education and HR recognized the potential soccer had in bringing unity to the community of Bulembu and made provisions to amalgamate the World Cup opening day with a community soccer day. “We have been speaking for a while now about what we can do as a town to bring all the staff together, bless them, to encourage them, so just the timing of it worked out perfectly.

Members from the community arrived at the soccer fields in jovial anticipation for the opening match between South African and Mexico and the chance to watch community matches.. Each department from Bulembu Ministries had organized a representative soccer team. While the crowds were enjoying their hotdog and coke, which was provided free of charge by Bulembu ministries, the first two teams prepared to show off their fancy footwork.  As the teams started playing, the crowds of children, teachers, parents and workers gathered around eagerly, several blowing the famous plastic ‘vuvuzela’ in support of their players. The community soccer day was a great success and there is no doubt there will be more events like this happening in the future. It was the start of a great experience for the community to be part of the World Cup. Still today, you can hear the vuvuzela blown throughout town at local soccer matches for the Academy and between community teams. It is a great reminder to the positive impact the Cup had on South Africa and on the community of Bulembu.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ship Ahoi

On Monday last week, a food container that was shipped from a US based organized called Stop Hunger Now arrived in Bulembu. Stop Hunger Now generously sent Bulembu 114,048 prepackaged dehydrated food meals. In a country where 40% of people live off of International Food Aid, there is no doubt it will be used to help save lives.

Who exactly is ‘Stop Hunger Now’ and what do they do?

‘Stop Hunger Now’ is an international hunger relief organization that coordinates the distribution of food and other life-saving aid around the world. The organization is driven by a vision to end world hunger in our lifetime and a mission to provide food and life-saving aid to the world’s most destitute and hungry in the most sustainable, efficient and effective manner.” Check out their website to find out more -

Bulembu will be distributing the food not only to our community, but to other child care organizations within Swaziland. This is to ensure that the number of children reached is maximized. In the past, Stop Hunger Now has experienced that the food has at times been handed out to schools that already provided hot meals to their children at lunch, whereas that food could have been given to children who were in a greater need of food to survive.

Two of the childcare centers that Bulembu will be sharing the food packs with is the ‘Lighthouse Care Centre’ and ‘Teen challenge Swaziland’ – both which were founded by Bulembu board member Kevin Ward. Their mission is to reach out to the youth of Swaziland that have become victims of substance abuse and HIV AIDS, leaving children destitute and needing to fend for themselves. Bulembu is also looking to partner with a primary school in a small community in the eastern part of the country, Sisteki.