We set off this morning from Johannesburg to launch our first big Lifelight project in a largely unknown part of South Africa – the Nkomazi district, an area bordering Swaziland and Mozambique. US intern, Tina Bigley and I (with a bit of help) packed up a VW Kombi, aka mini-bus taxi (more like a Winnebago to me!) loading it with 400 Lifelights & solar panels & Lifeline radios to distribute to child-headed and other vulnerable families.

Loading Lifelights at the Johannesburg office

Loading Lifelights at the Johannesburg office

Along the road lots people put their thumbs out thinking we were a taxi until they saw me at the wheel!

Kristine Pearson in a traditional Swazi reed and thatch hut at the Swazi Matsamo Cultural Centre

Kristine Pearson                 in a traditional Swazi reed and thatch hut

As we drove from the Highveld (high plains) to the Lowveld, a long, but pleasant eight hour journey it became progressively more lush and humid. It was reassuring to see that the rains have been good so far this season since South Africa is a major food grower.

Our local partner is Thembalethu Home Based Care, which does amazing work by providing support and care in an area with upwards of 50% HIV/AIDS. We dropped off the Lifelights at their office in Schoemansdal with the distributions to start in the morning. After dark we arrive at the Jeppe’s Reef Border Post to stay in a traditional Swazi reed and thatch hut at the Swazi Matsamo Cultural Centre.