We’ve moved to a pineapple farm!
OK, so it is in the process of becoming an ex-pineapple farm, but man, these plants are stubborn and don’t want to leave!
A few months ago, a ministry partner bought a farm here in Swaziland with the intention of letting AIM use the fields for ministry projects and programs. In January, we were asked if we could move to the land the very next month to be the caretakers during the planning and building processes. There’s a nice house on the land where the previous owners lived, and we are staying in a cottage next to it where they used to house guests.
Moving here has been a huge change for us- we’re sad the other missionaries are no longer our neighbors, and in fact, our closest neighbors now aren’t even within shouting distance! We are about 30 minutes away from our last home in Manzini, where our office is. (We’re still deeply involved with the office and we’ve only poured more into our jobs and coworkers since our last update, we just have a longer commute now.) It’s usually very quiet at our new home –except for the occasional monkeys playing on our roof. We’ve noticed more geckos, lizards, birds and mosquitoes in the countryside, but thankfully we haven’t seen a snake yet.
There’s a bit of a learning curve here as our water is from a well (or as the locals say, a borehole). As the property’s caretakers, it’s our responsibility to make sure the well and property are all as they should be. There are also more power outages here, about 2-4 a week and our internet isn’t as strong. Between those things and finally needing to invest in mosquito nets over our beds, the reminder that we live in Africa has been refreshed!
The farm section of the property used to be leased to a local cannery and they left thousands of pineapple plants behind. Every day, three hired tractors continue the work of plowing the fields under to get it ready for development. We (AIM) have many dreams of what will happen on the land, but nothing is set yet. It’s exciting to see the land transform week by week, though baby pineapple plants keep popping up- who knew they are so resilient?
We’re grateful for the timing of the move, because even though it was a surprise, we had a full month to pack and clean out our old house. We also should have enough time to finish settling in- baby is still (hopefully) five weeks away! We found out around Christmas that we are having a girl and we are so excited for the chance to raise a daughter along with our son. Zach informed us a whole month before we found out that he thought he was getting a sister- we love that he was right!
Melinda’s mom will be flying in a few days before the scheduled c-section. We’ve already registered with our South African hospital (here you must prepay for all medical) and found lodging for the family. It’s a blessing to know our delivery day so we are not trying to drive across the border (a 3-hour drive) during labor or at the last minute. We would appreciate prayers for her not to decide to come out early!
In other news
We’ve scheduled our next trip to the states!
We’ll be flying to Utah for our furlough the first week of July and returning to Eswatini/Swaziland after the first week of October. We look forward to catching up with all of you- especially dearly missed family and close friends. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year and a half since our last trip home. Zach was not quite three then, so it will be interesting to see if he has a different reaction this time now that he understands more.
Thank you all for your support and prayers, please let us know how we can be praying for YOU!
Please, let us know if will be around Salt Lake City during our trip dates so we can connect.
Brandon is still heading the Partner Relations department and helping with computer labs.
Our closest new neighbor: Actually when I (Brandon) first encountered this lizard, something else big landed on my shoulder and jumped off before I could see it -maybe a protective big brother?
Here is a video from last November, before we had a clue we’d be the caretakers in a few months time…
Pat RileyApril 1, 2019 at 4:20 PM So nice to hear from you, especially the baby news. Congratulations! it’s the first we heard. You all look so strong and healthy, our prayers are with you.
Pat, Shelley, Paul, Riley