I went to Swaziland for 5 days with another missionary Laura to rest.  We stayed at a little B & B in a chalet overlooking a field.  It was quiet and peaceful and extremely restful.
There was a giant pineapple field across the road from where we were staying.  Apparently that's how they grow.  Who knew??  Not I.

Mostly we rested.  I read books, watched TV (real TV from South Africa with American movies and TV shows), listened to sermons, played games, and slept.  

We also did a little shopping at some of the amazing craft centers they have in Swaziland as a way to sustainably live.  Last time I was in Swazi I went to a glassblowing factory where they make glass from all recycled glass products they collect, melt them down, and then recreate all kinds of things.  It's pretty amazing.  This time, Laura and I visited the candle making factory, where they handmake and form all kinds of different candles.  It is incredible to watch them.  I had a guy make me a hippo. He has been doing this for 10 years.  Here's how they do it:

I picked out the color slabs I wanted for my hippo....then it was warmed in the oven to make the wax pliable. When it was ready, he took out a small ball of wax.

Then he added the color slabs and formed it around the ball.

Next he started molding the ball into a hippo body.

He used little wooden dowels to help him at times make the eyes and ears or simply press something back.
Then he cut out the legs and molded the color around it.
Then came more shaping.
After carefully examining it from all angles and mending and molding and smoothing.....he determined it worthy.
And then he put it in cold water to cool and set.
When it was done setting, he polished it and stuck a wick in it!  Beautiful.  I loved watching him do it from beginning to end.

Laura and I went to several places where they were hand making things....I ended up coming away with several things.  It's funny, but I've been here for almost 2 years and I NEVER buy anything for myself.  I suddenly realized that I could leave here and not have a single thing (besides photos and memories) to remember this beautiful continent by.  So I picked up somethings to help me...of course the hippo.  But also, a hand made and glazed bowl and mug, a few pieces of handcrafted jewlry (earrings, bracelet, and necklace), and the best one:  Noah's ark!  It's a small handmade wooden arc.  You lift the wood and inside are lots of african animals two by two.  Except for the girraffe....somehow the 2nd girraffe is missing.  Clearly (cause I've seen them with my own eyes), the 2 made it off the arc safely and had babies, but perhaps it got lost in translation, or more likely, in packing.  Sad.  But i still LOVE it!  I would love to have kids some day to play with it and ask me about it and I could share an amazing God story of creation, salvation, and Africa with them.    I hope to post a pic of this soon, but I just haven't taken one yet!

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