For the fifth time, the Diocese of Manzini has welcomed a delegation of Taiwanese "Goodwill ambassadors" from the Diocese of Taichung. Some are teenagers. Some are married couples. Only three of them have been here every year and few of them are in fact... Catholics! But they all come under the Diocese of Taichung for a one week or two week service to the people of the Kingdom of Swaziland guided by "Caritas Swaziland".
I happened to meet them the very day they arrived. They were in one of our offices unpacking and opening the many boxes they had brought. They had a long journey but they did not really look tired. Then, like in the previous years, we had supper with the Ambassador of Taiwan in Swaziland.
The team would have an outreach program in the operational areas of Caritas Swaziland. They will visit a number of NCPs (Neighborhood Care Point Centers Feeding Program) in the Lubombo and Manzini Regions. They would offer medical assistance to vulnerable communities working jointly but under the supervision of the doctors of the "Good Shepherd Hospital" in Siteki. They had also planned to spend some time visiting various tourist attraction sites within the Kingdom.
Before part of the group would go back to Taiwan, we met for a couple of hours to share on their experience. I was very impressed at how well they spoke English. They all were given the chance to do it in their mother tongue and ask someone to translate but there was no need for that.
Together with the fact of enjoying the Swazi weather (at a time when Taiwan seems to be very hot and humid) they enjoyed the warmth and kindness of the Swazi people, something that they experienced from the very first day (they had mentioned it at our first meeting).
Though they were here to serve both at the level of health and education, they felt they were the ones doing the "learning". They were touched by the will of the children and youth to learn. They felt that some young people in Taiwan have many more opportunities than the Swazi people but do not appreciate them.
When it was my turn I thanked them for their presence among us, aware that they had personally saved the money for the journey. I was also touched by the generosity of their service and their constant joy. They come from different parts of Taiwan but they seem to have bonded together very well.
Their support to the children, the elderly, in matters of health is the support to the most "fragile" of our society, to those who need it most. Their support to the youth builds the present and future of our country.
I thanked them for the many gifts they brought. Together with financial support to some of our projects, they sent thousands of pairs of shoes!
Finally I "appointed" them, Swazi Goodwill Ambassadors in Taiwan as, back home, they will certainly share their experience with their families and friends.