Getting ready for Africa.

In a little over a week, I will be travelling with nurse/wife back to eSwatini for my second visit. I am excited and anxious.

We will be staying primarily at the El Shaddai Children’s Home to take care of business and see our kids. With Cynthia  being director of Compassionate Life, and Compassionate Life being the primary fund provider for El Shaddai, most of our trip will be spent there.

However, Cynthia decided we would take a short break during or time in Africa and visit Hlane Royal National Park, where she signed us up to run a 5K. . . . yes, she signed us up to run a 5K through an African big game preserve . . . .

Now, I don’t run. Cynthia doesn’t run. . . . but for some reason, she felt it was a good idea to sign us up to run 5 Kilometers. . . . through wild animal infested wilderness. Do the losers get eaten?!!! Because I’m a fifty year old guy who hasn’t run a total of 5K in his life. . . I think I’m  going to sneak sleeping pills into Cynthia’s coffee that morning. If anyone is going to get eaten by some African beast, it should be the person who thought it was a good idea in the first place 🙂

El Shaddai Children’s Home could use Your Help.

Pictured above is a “Jojo” or water tank that stores the water supply that the El Shaddai Children’s Home relies on. These Jojos are filled from water that is pumped from a bore hole located on the neighboring mountain.

Last week, heavy rains and wind caused an electric wire to short at the El Shaddai Orphanage resulting in a small fire and destroying the water pump and breaker panel that supplies the orphanage with water as well as two refrigerators. Repair costs are estimated to exceed $4000.

Please be in prayer for resolution to this problem as El Shaddai has been without water since the storm. Donations to help address this unexpected problem can be made at www.james127.org Or on the Compassionate Life Facebook Page and are greatly appreciated.

The El Shaddai Children’s Home is home to over sixty orphans left in the wake of Swaziland’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. This small country in southern Africa currently has the highest rate of HIV and AIDS in the world creating a staggering number of children left with no parents or family. Many of the children who have found a home at the orphanage were rescued from homelessness and near starvation.

 

Free for Imperfect Parents and Spouses.

Attention all imperfect parents and spouses! Don’t miss your chance to download my just-short-of-world-famous Ebook for FREE! Single Family Asylum is now free to download on several platforms below. Unfortunately, Amazon will not allow me to offer it for free, so you can get the book nearly anywhere except from Amazon. Amazon sucks.

If you find the stories entertaining, leave a review on whichever site you downloaded it from! If you hated the book . . . . ummm . . . just forget you read it.

Stories from the book have been featured here on my blog, as well as on many other sites such as Mamalode, Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, Sweatpants and Coffee, and Parent Co.

Get the book on your phone from either the iBook’s app for Apple, or from Google Play Books on Android by searching on the title. You can also download from these sites:

Nook/Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/single-family-asylum-jon-ziegler/1123454991?ean=2940155078418

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/764903

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/single-family-asylum

For those of you who enjoyed the book so intensely that you feel compelled to pay something for it, instead of paying me, make a donation to Compassionate Life Foundation!

My wife recently took over as Executive Director of The Compassionate Life Foundation. CLF is a small non-profit that provides funding for the El Shaddai Orphanage and CLF Student Center in Swaziland, Africa. The CLF Directors and board members are 100% volunteer, so no one here in the U.S. is getting any part of donations received. We do pay some Swazi employees at the Orphanage and the care center, but their monthly income is less than most fast food workers make in a week. If you are like me, you have always wondered how much of your donated money actually makes it to the people you are trying to help. I can tell you first hand that other than money spent on office supplies and what is spent on fundraisers, all CLF donations go towards food, tuition, uniforms, maintenance on the orphanage and paying Swazi staff.

Interested? Go here: https://james127.org/

Adjusting to My Life of Privilege.

SONY DSC

 

I could see it on some of the faces I met. It was that look of bewilderment or possibly even a mild disgust. The look conveyed an inability to understand my life of extravagance. It was a look that I knew all too well. . . . not from seeing it . . it was a look I had worn myself at times.

I’m not a rich person, not here in America. My income is well short of breaking into six digits. I’m like everyone else I know who looks at the Bill Gates of the world and can’t understand why anyone would need to accumulate that much wealth. I can reason that Bill Gates has earned his money and does, in fact, give away vast amounts of it. But despite my best efforts, I catch myself in moments of resentment over him having it. Sometimes I catch myself complaining that I don’t have enough. Now, as I stood in Swaziland, Africa, I found myself being viewed with that same look of not understanding my wealth . . . I had suddenly become Bill Gates.

I own seven pairs of shoes. There are two pairs of sneakers (One normal and one pair of Chuck Taylor’s), work boots, a pair of hiking boots, my funeral/wedding shiny shoes, my winter boots, and a pair of flip flops. I don’t think my shoe owning is excessive. By many people’s standards here in the US, my shoe collection is quite modest. Bill Gates probably owns a hundred pairs of shoes. Now I found myself standing before people who owned a single pair of shoes that left their toes visible through holes worn from years of use . . . or people who owned no shoes at all.

My house is small and crappy. We barely have places to keep all our stuff. Yet, when I compared my house to the one I was invited into in Manzini, my house seemed like a palace. I had running water in my house, and a flushing toilet, heat, air conditioning, kitchen appliances. I realized that I had been taking mundane things like carpet, socks, paper towel and my seven pairs of shoes for granted. Most people here have none of these luxuries.

SONY DSC

Houses here in Swaziland are simple concrete or block structures, often without windows . . . unless you are visiting a shanty town, and then they are made of garbage. Most don’t have running water, or electricity. Many don’t have a stove to cook on.

SONY DSC

As Americans, we’ve all said, or nodded in agreement, how fortunate we are to live where we live and have what we have. For me, I don’t think I really knew what that meant until I was in Africa. I was now looking at what these statements really mean, with my own eyes. I now had a new definition for the term “life of privilege”.

I’m not going to tell anyone they should change their opinions on the Bill Gates of the world. Like I’ve said, I’ve had those thoughts myself at times. What I am saying is that we should at least be consistent with our opinions of wealthy people. If you want to hold contempt for someone who owns a hundred pair of shoes instead of seven, please feel free, but don’t turn around and take offense to someone with no shoes finding the same lack of understanding for someone who owns seven pairs. If I’m going to suggest that there is something wrong with Mr. Gates net worth, I have to accept that through the eyes of others, there is something wrong with mine. I might not be a billionaire, but there are plenty of places in the world where I can go to be considered filthy rich.

 

. . . . .

Compassionate Life Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides funding for the El Shaddai Orphanage, and CLF student center in Swaziland.

SONY DSC