We awoke, soggy and groggy, on the morning after the flood (see Part 2). It was still raining. We picked up Zandi, our Swazi colleague from the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and headed out of town. We were going to see Zanele and her two-year-old daughter, Phiwa. Zanele has HIV, but Phiwa is HIV-negative because Zanele received medicines that prevented her from transmitting HIV to her daughter.
I was ambitious in thinking I could tell this story in three parts. I’m expanding it to four.
Our stay in Swaziland began peacefully. We crossed the border at Bulembu, a tiny town northeast of the busier border crossing at Oshoek. Rather than jostling around in long lines and dealing with surly immigration officials, we sauntered into a one-room building and chatted with the three women behind the counter. They crochet lace to pass the time – I bought a piece for R100. They stamped our passports with a smile (no paperwork required) and we were off.
Joe and I recently returned from a trip to Swaziland, where we worked on a story for World AIDS Day. It was an eventful trip so I’m dividing my account of it into three parts. We left for Swaziland a day early so we could visit the Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Eden, a nature reserve for rescued chimps near the town of Nelspruit, about four hours from Joburg. Joe wanted to investigate a potential story and I wanted to see the chimps. It was also a good opportunity to see another part of South Africa. Nelspruit is a popular jumping-off point for people visiting Kruger National Park. It’s in the Lowveld, which means it’s lower elevation than the Highveld, where Joburg is. It’s also much hotter and damper. The town is bordered by rainforest.