Here in the sunny Kingdom of Eswatini we think very fondly of the celebration you will all be having for Atle’s 60th birthday, probably in much colder conditions. However cold the weather, I’m sure there are some very warm hearts! We know without doubt that Atle has a warm heart. Wow, 60 years! That is quite something – and from what I can gather it has been an adventure filled and inspiring 60 years!
For me it is sometimes hard to believe that someone in Norway, so far from our tiny kingdom of Eswatini, can care enough about people here to make personal sacrifices in order to improve the lives of people so far way. It gives me hope and faith in humanity.
For me Eswatini is a magical place. It is home. It is the land of my birth. It is a place of sunshine, of singing and dancing, of the expressive siSwati language and smiling brown faces. It is a place of proud culture interconnected with natural heritage, of exploring mountains and rivers, of wildlife and farming. It is a place brooding with youth and development but somehow still connected to the timeless ways of old. It is a place of acceptance and community, where a businessman can wear a traditional loin cloth and sandles or a suit, where a stick and mud hut can be next to a modern house.
But Eswatini is also a place grappling with challenges. It has the highest HIV infection rate of any country in the world, 63% of people live below the poverty line and most people are younger than 21. At All Out Africa we try to make small interventions to help address some of these challenges. It is not enough but it is something, and if we can even change one life for the better then it is a victory. Atle, you and your friends have already made a world of difference to All Out Africa and the children we can assist and for that we are eternally grateful. Thanks to you and others we are able to feed 241 vulnerable children two meals a day and give them a decent early childhood education. We know that this stage in a child’s development is key to their future success. You are helping us create a brighter future for the Kingdom of Eswatini.
We thank you for your care and support and we wish you a very happy birthday and many more to come.
All the best