Dreams and hope in Swaziland

“Start doing things you love” is one of my favorite lines from the Holstee Manifesto.


This old copy of the manifesto has hung in many bedrooms in many locations over the years.

It is one of the reasons why I am here in Swaziland in the first place.

When I graduated with an MPH, I really wanted to do work that mattered, that wasn’t just another job in another cubicle, where I had little interaction with the people whose health I wanted to work to improve.

One of my professors who had organized both of the research trips to Ghana I participated in suggested the Peace Corps as a way to get more of the on-the-ground, grassroots experience I so craved (his words involved “running through fields somewhere in Africa”).

I had hoped that following my dreams (and the Holstee Manifesto) to live and work abroad serving other people would be the right path for me, and it has been.

Working as a Peace Corps Voluteer in Swaziland has been everything I want it to be. Being at peace with life, even with all the struggles I see and face every day as a Volunteer in the country with the highest per capita rate of HIV in the world, gives me hope that I will be successful here. Having realistic ideas of what success looks like helps too.

Every day I see how much bogogo (grandmothers) do for their families when they should be resting and being cared for by their children. But there is a missing generation in Swaziland because the people who should be 30 or 40 or 50 years old have died from AIDS, and there is little but increasing knowledge about family planning. This means that gogo often rears her grandchildren too.

Bogogo give me hope, too, when I see how much they will do for their families and for me as I now am part of one.

So go forth and have hope that the world will be an increasingly better and healthier place.


The back of my door in Swaziland is decorated with the Holstee Manifesto and photos from some of my favorite places and memories.

And remember the final lines of the Holstee Manifesto:

“Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them so go out and start creating. Life is short. Live your dream, and wear your passion. ”


This post is part of Blogging Abroad’s 2017 New Years Blog Challenge, week four: Change and Hope.







And you can find my BloggingAbroad.org profile here.


This entry was posted in Africa, Peace Corps, Swaziland and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Dreams and hope in Swaziland

  1. The world needs a lot of hope these days and I am happy that you can find some in Swaziland

  2. Susan Kemp says:

    I am glad that you are doing something that matters to you.

  3. Janette Wagner says:

    What an interesting post. Thanks for sharing the Manfesto….I love it! We pray for you often.

  4. I am sure you are doing a well needed job

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