An Evening in a Swati Homestead

Friday night we went to the homestead of Welile.  She is the lead shepherd for the Mkhombokati.  She works for AIM and has been doing this job for just over three months.  She is 24 years old but started going to the care point when she was young.  She can be stern when called for and quick with a smile.  I’ve seen her be open with her insecurities and confident in her role.  She and her ‘Go-Go” (grandmother) invited us to their homestead for a meal.  Homesteads are a series of buildings that they live in.

We arrived as the sun was low in the sky and it was magical.  The view was beautiful of the surrounding hills.  There were goats and cows nearby and bats flying around.  They had a beautiful kraal where they keep the animals at night.  I wish I could describe a kraal adequately.  It’s a series of branches, or big sticks set into the ground vertically to make a fence.  They have been made the same way for generations, are very simple, and very beautiful.

We were invited into Go-Go’s hut.  It was round with a cement floor and a beautiful wood ceiling.  Woven mats covered the floor.  It was perhaps 15 feet in diameter and had no furniture except for the table the food was on.  36 of us sat on the floor and ate a wonderful dinner of stew, rice, chicken, beet salad and green salad.  We talked about our day, we asked questions and we laughed.  There were spears hanging on the wall and I wish I knew something about them.

The grace with which we were greeted and treated will be something I remember forever.  These ladies were kind and generous with us.  Even using a translator, I felt close to these women.  I believe loving Jesus truly does make us sisters and brothers.  We came to Eswatini to do what it we’re told to do in Romans 12:13 “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.”  But they were the ones to show us Jesus’ love and make us feel welcome.  I’ll never forget this night or this time in Eswatini.

-Jennifer Dudley

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