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Swaziland is dying – here are the facts

Sometimes, it seems melodramatic to say it, but there is no escaping the fact that Swaziland is dying. The official numbers show a relentless pandemic sweeping through the countryside, leaving a trail of orphans in its wake. When I first arrived in 2004, there were 80,000 orphans. With…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Sometimes, it seems melodramatic to say it, but there is no escaping the fact that Swaziland is dying.

The official numbers show a relentless pandemic sweeping through the countryside, leaving a trail of orphans in its wake.

When I first arrived in 2004, there were 80,000 orphans. Within six years, that number will have more than tripled. This is absurd.

Simultaneously, the Swazi men are systematically raping and abusing the women. It’s horrific stuff.

My team is there in the worst part of it with a front row seat. We’re coping with the aftermath, seeing helpless babies die from a disease that they didn’t ask for. It’s hard to hope with these kinds of stories.

Here are the facts in a recent article:

One in three Swazi women have suffered some form of
sexual abuse as a child; one in four experienced physical violence, a new
United Nations survey revealed.

The study by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the
first of its kind conducted in a country where anecdotal evidence suggests an
alarming number of female children are victims of abuse. More disconcertingly
still, the mushrooming population of orphans and vulnerable children in Swaziland
provide yet more opportunities for sexual exploitation to occur.

In two years, 200,000 Swazi children will have been
orphaned by AIDS – more than one-fifth of the current population, according to
UNICEF. With HIV prevalence at 33.4 percent among people aged between 15 and
49, the country has the world’s highest infection rate. As a result, life
expectancy has halved from nearly 60 years in the 1990s to just over 30 years
today.

Read the rest of the article here.

And I want to know, in light of what you know, and in light of what the Bible says about true religion, what are you prepared to do about this? Your options are:

  1. To go there and hold some orphans. I can help arrange that.
  2. To give your life away and live amongst the orphans as a mom or a dad.
  3. To give money to support those who are doing something.
  4. To care for orphans in some other place like India or Kenya that has a similar need.

Comments (9)

  • I laid awake from 3-4am two nights ago thinking of Swaziland. The situation on the ground is beyond tragic. My family and I will get there and love those precious children if it’s the last thing we do. Keep sounding the trumpet, Seth.

  • Us too…we want our family to go too! Definitely keep letting everyone know about the situation there…truly HORRIBLE!!!

  • I am reading Alan Whiteside’s HIV/AIDS – A Very Short Introduction and it has two statistics that I had not heard before, in all our efforts and research on Swazi leading up to waiting on God to provide to get us there:

    1. Southern Africa, “has the largest number of people living with HIV: two thirds (64%) of people and three quarters of all infected women live here.” This is an area that covers 2% of the world land mass.

    2. A Swazi Girl has an 80% chance of dying of AIDS.

    Swazi needs mothers and fathers who will bring the Faithfulness, righteousness, and Justice of God to live among them!

  • Angi (WR Oct ’08)

    As a future World Racer, I take option 1 and likely option 4 too. If the Lord tells me to, I will take options 2 and/or 3 as well. In short, I agree. Something must be done to stop these senseless deaths. We as Americans often enjoy a sense of complacency when it comes to the rest of the world. As Christians though, we can’t. Or at least, I can’t. I can’t ignore the pains of the world any longer. I have to act. Thank you for creating the World Race and giving me an opportunity to serve the world in the name of Christ, one country at a time.

  • Quite frankly I don’t like any of those options Seth, I like option 0. Do nothing, ignore you, turn on TV and watch Criminal Intent and see bad guys get put in jail in one hour start to finish.

    I have a hard time with the whole set of decisions, cultural, world view, and otherwise, decisions that got/get Swazi to where it is. And so I say what’s the point?

    And then I read Mathew 25. I’m going to come to find Jesus there at least I hope.

  • I am a Swazi living in the UK. Due to the situation back home I have founded a children’s charity. Precious Children of Swaziland (PCS) Trust. It brakes my heart to see how my people are suffering, but it also warms my heart that such people as yourselfs have taken an active interest.
    God bless you all and pray that we can all keep up the great work.

    Thank you.
    Lulu

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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