August 11

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Swazi Diaries- New Beginnings

While I was getting ready to leave for Swaziland, every time I was asked where are you going, after I would answer there would be standard 2 responses I would get which is “ WOW SWITZERLAND” or with an unknown look “ So where is that again?”. Swaziland is a small landlocked country sharing borders with SA & Mozambique.

Swaziland, has been a breath of fresh air in true sense. Along with beautiful weather and comfortable winter temperatures of 15 to 20 degrees Celsius, it has made me a lot more active in terms of physical activities. I basically have got an after work routine in place where I go to a bootcamp on Monday, running on Tuesday and freesbie with the Orphan kids on Wednesdays. Along with this as part of my personal development I have enrolled in learning the French Language. Well, in such a less time this country has enchanted me with its beauty, culture and people to say the least.

As part of my assignment at CHAI, I’m seconded to sit within the procurement unit of the MOH. In the 4 weeks of work at MOH I can say that my most important learning is building “RELATIONSHIPS” with people.If you can establish the initial trust & understanding; then working on achieving your objectives can become much simpler. With the team at the MOH I have solely followed the rule of GEMBA. I was observing their styles of working, how they manage roles & responsibilities, mapping the process with timelines and establishing a rapport with them. I feel a lot more in control than I was a few weeks back and you see them getting more receptive to ideas & changes you initiate.

Within the first week of being in Swazi, I had the opportunity to attend a FAST TRACK event. The main objective is to encourage people from the constituency to come in & test for HIV for free. To lighten the spirits of the people attending, the day is spent with a line up of cultural dances and singing. What I learnt is that the songs are all based on HIV. The FAST TRACK is a collaborative initiative by CHAI & MOH to help test & treat more people and educate them on prevention measures.

Below are few pictures clicked at the cultural event where I dressed in their traditional outfit and got a chance to experience my first authentic Swazi meal. The staple Swazi meals would consist of maize meal called as Pap, spinach, butternut squash and meat. I’m lucky to be here during winters as we have the best avocados grown here.

More to be updated soon..:)

GEMBA – Process mapping

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Iftar organized during Ramadan for kids in a school

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Cultural dance performed by unmarried ladies

 

 

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Swazi married women traditionally wear their hair in a beehive style known as “sicolo”.Sidziya – originally made from dark and long haired goat skin, is combed to a shine and set to cover the upper arm. Umhelwane – although fashion has made inroads with silky like shiny materials taking over, in essence, the original red, maroon, orange and blue lihiya still looks best, especially when worn in uniform.

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translates to: My Life in My hands, worn by the people at FAST TRACK

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My First hike at Milwane

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My Manager at CHAI: Caroline:)