Revisiting the lovely Juliet of Swaziland

I’m riding in the front of a van cascading through the hills of rural Swaziland and finally have a free moment to think a bit about blogging. This fall was chock full of photo sessions, and surprisingly a lot of graphic design. A few days ago I joined up with the lovely folks over at the Thirst Project in Atlanta, Georgia to commence our trip to Swaziland, Africa. The Thirst Project is an organization focused on sustainable clean water initiatives all over the world. They have chosen to audaciously take on the task of working with the Swazi government to provide access to clean drinking water for all of Swaziland in 10 years time. I’ve been working with them from the beginning and have the honor to document their work and spend time with some really incredibly resilient people who continue to teach me about what is valuable in life and demonstrate the joy is found in the most unlikely of places.

After causing the plane to be held yesterday (surprise, we were running late), we landed in the capital of Swaziland, took a few hours break, and per usual hit the ground running. We went for a visit to one of the nearby villages that we’ve spent time in before – a place we visited a few years ago. As I was trying to not fall asleep standing up, I looked over and saw a familiar face, one of my favorite faces ever – the lovely Juliet.

I met Juliet just over two years ago when I first came to Swaziland with the Thirst Project and have a hard time explaining it, but she has this light and love that pour out of her. After listening to her story, knowing that she had lost her husband and two sons to HIV/AIDS, she was joyfully raising her grandsons. She showed me around her house and we chatted for a bit.

So, as one could imagine, seeing her yesterday was a little bit like heaven. I walked over to her to say hello and she absolutely burst out in laughter and shock because she could not believe that I remembered her name. We got to chat and catch up and she said that her family was doing well and she had been planting a lot of maize but the cows kept eating it.

When we went to her house, she kept apologizing for the mess (hahaha, why do women everywhere do that?) and showed me her grandsons’ room, and I told her that it looked like they needed to clean it or be grounded.

I was so happy to see her and get to spend a bit of time with her – I snapped a few photos, and even snapped some polaroids for her to keep (GOD BLESS POLAROID CAMERAS.).

Here are a few snapshots from yesterday and getting to see the lovely Juliet.