Mormon Newsroom
News Release

Swaziland Utilizes Helping Hands to Build Much Needed Bridge

Joining with other churches and the community, Mormon Helping Hands works to make the dream of a new bridge in the community of Somnjalose Swaziland a reality.

August 17th, 2013 in the Kingdom of Swaziland, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints participated in Mormon Helping Hands projects, along with other members of the Church throughout Africa. Excitement was in the air as projects were chosen and volunteers donned their yellow Helping Hands vests to participate in Swaziland's community service projects.  

Members of the Church from Ezulwini, Mbabane and Manzini Branches, along with full-time missionaries and other local churches and community members gathered together to begin constructing a bridge at Somnjalose. It was expected that this community service project would help improve the living conditions for the people in this neighbourhood. Swaziland’s rural and peri-urban communities are generally hard hit with difficult living situations.

The construction of the bridge was a joint project, involving the local churches and community members. The people of Somnjalose long realized the need for the bridge and embarked on low-cost structures that have since fallen and pose a potential danger to children and residents.

The community of Somnjalose has a fully operational Social and Development Committee that looks at the social welfare affairs and development issues of the community. The committee collectively selected the construction of the bridge after they were asked to prioritize possible community projects. The matter was further taken to the people in a general community meeting. Those at the meeting agreed that the conditions of the bridge stall development in the area, because without the use of the bridge, they have to travel long distances to essential services.

A technician skilled in bridge construction suggested the use of a ‘rock-hard’ bridge that could withstand the weather conditions of the area. Solid concrete pipes were sought through the LaBomba constituency who approached a local construction company and submitted a donation request. Additional needed support included infrastructure in the form of 20 bags of cement, eight concrete wire meshes and 15 ring forces.

The Mormon Helping Hands Project included 145 people from the Church and community, as well as other churches. Mormon Helping Hands workers mostly wore the yellow vests and they could be seen everywhere in this vast project.

While some people were digging trenches, others were putting the dirt in bags to be used later and a long line was formed with people passing rocks from up above to the area they were reinforcing. Women carrying cement on their heads was a common sight. Men, women and children pulling bags full of dirt or rocks dotted the hillside. Many thought this project too big for the community, but the people didn’t agree and took it on wholeheartedly.

It was a long day of hard work. Everyone was tired but satisfied that the proper foundation for the bridge had been laid. They knew that there was much more work to be done, but this day, they had made a statement - they were going to have a new bridge.

Upon completion of this service project, a local business person, Mr. Mndzebele who donated 20 bags of cement to the project, was invited to give a keynote address to the congregation. He gave a motivational talk directed to the youth, while the Church's Swaziland National Public Affairs Director, Jermone Shongwe provided drinks and refreshments to this group of people that worked so hard all day.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.