Saturday, February 09, 2008

facts about swaziland

i am planning to go visit a convent in swaziland this summer - god willing. my plan is to use my tax refund (amount still unknown until i get my butt to my accountant) to pay for the trip. it's seriously expensive. no cheap flights to africa, i can tell you. they don't have those good relations with the middle east and their oil. and they can't invade like we did to get affordable gas.
i went to the cia world factbook to find out info about swaziland and this is what i found:
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2007 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 40.3% (male 230,238/female 226,184)
15-64 years: 56.1% (male 304,899/female 331,036)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 15,870/female 24,839) (2007 est.)

Population growth rate:
-0.337% (2007 est.)

Birth rate:
26.98 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:
30.35 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

the fact that their death rate exceeds their birth rate is a shocker. i can't imagine what i will find when i go there. i have lived in europe and asia, and those were eye opening experiences for me (americans are so isolated). but, i've never been to the african continent, let alone sub-saharan africa.

the convent i'm visiting is a branch of the order of the holy paraclete whose mother house is in york, england. i went there a few years ago and felt ... odd, other. first of all it's freakin' cold there! i had my heater on in august. and the nuns, who are great, all had these posh accents so the daily office sounded like, "oh lohd, heayah ouwah prayah." all soft vowels and no final r's. when we drop our final r on the east coast of the u.s. it's a whole different thing.
the convent in swaziland have recently moved to a village called bulembu where they are running a girl's orphanage. i am very interested in that, and in teaching.
we'll see.

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