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Jul 22nd
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Tzu Chi Foundation Holds Winter Distribution in Swaziland

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Tzu Chi South Africa Office held winter aid distribution to Hhohho area in Northern Swaziland joined by 252 volunteers. Two distributions were held in Mbasheni Primary School and Mhlangatance Inkundla Community Center for 4,000 families, to benefit a total 14,000 local residents. The relief items were a bag of rice, sugar, red bean and blanket.

On July 29, the first Tzu Chi volunteer group joined by 17 volunteers from South Africa Office arrived Swaziland in advance to arrange the distribution of aid goods, the progress of distribution and job assigning.

At 4:30am in the next early morning, the second group of Tzu Chi volunteers left Johannesburg and Pretoria for Swaziland. They arrived at the Mbasheni Primary School at 10:30am, where were already crowded by the local residents. Tzu Chi volunteers interacted with locals by singing "Amitabha" with hand exercises.

The volunteers introduced and interpreted the history of Tzu Chi for locals to know more about Tzu Chi. The director of Tzu Chi South Africa Office, Hong-Qi Shi also shared the reasons for this relief distribution; the main reason is that Tzu Chi volunteers do not wish to see the drought caused poor harvest in Swaziland. Both ambassador of Republic of China in Swaziland and minister of Foreign Affairs showed their appreciation for Tzu Chi helping the needy going through this draught winter without suffering any hunger.

During the distribution, volunteers helped the elders walked with canes, children, or women carrying the heavy relief goods and every recipient smiled happily to thank the volunteers. One grandma came for the distribution with her deformed bare feet, volunteers feeling sad by seeing her deformed feet which might have no chance to put a pair of shoes on in her entire life. However after receiving the aid goods, grandma finally contented smiled through her winkled face.

Finished the first distribution in Mbasheni Primary School, volunteers had their dinner and a meeting in Taiwan Technical Mission restaurant. There were 60 managerial level attendees in Tex Ray Industrial CO., Ltd. also joined this meeting.

In the meeting, volunteers introduced Tzu Chi bamboo bank era, the establishment of Tzu Chi South Africa office, news of "On This Day", the books wrote by Dharma Master Cheng Yen, such as Jin Si Aphorism…etc. The president of Tex Ray Industrial, Mr. Lin and the director of Tzu Chi South Africa Office, Hong-Qi Shi agreed to have the general manager, Kuan-Ji Xu to be the contact person of Tzu Chi in Swaziland, which makes Mr. Xu the first Tzu Chi seed in Swaziland. Some volunteers who never helped distribution before shared their feelings and some planned to join volunteering when return to Taiwan. After the sharing, many of them decided joining Tzu Chi member and want to keep the bamboo bank for collecting donation money. Tzu Chi volunteers were touched and felt gratitude by all these actions, and then winded up the meeting by singing "We are One Family" with sign language.

On July 31, when the sunshine of the early morning came out, the distribution vehicles followed the mountain road. After one and half hours driving, Tzu Chi volunteers arrived in Mhlangatane Inkhundla Community Center for the second relief distribution. Young and strong volunteers form Tex Ray Industrial unloaded the relief goods by passing one to another to form a line of supply. Even the president of the company, Mr. Lin participated in unloading goods; the female volunteers also helped out.

One volunteer noticed that there was a child in tears, along the distribution line because he didn't have any identity documents to receive the relief goods. The volunteer felt the need in him and then comforted him by hugging gently; furthermore the volunteers helped this child. After receiving the heavy relief goods, he left with a big smile.

By the end of the second distribution, volunteers instantly taught the local children about recycling and invited them cleaning up the Community Center as environmental protection.

Translated by Gloria Chou


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