Renee Duncan with Her Royal Highness Queen Angel and Her Royal Highness Queen Cindy in Swaziland during the women's convention for the nation.
Renee Duncan of the Peninsula Christian Center in Soldotna recently returned from a mission to Swaziland, the country with the distinction of having the last ruling monarch on planet earth. “I went on a faith-based mission to do humanitarian aid and relief. We went into the prisons and orphanages and also had the opportunity to meet with the king and his royal family,” Duncan told the Dispatch.
According to Duncan, Swaziland is a beautiful country with wonderful people that unfortunately is facing an AIDS epidemic of staggering proportions. “Right now they say that approximately fifty percent of the population is dying of HIV and AIDS, but according to the people we talked with who live there, it’s more like nine out of ten people. I’ve actually heard projections that if things don’t change in the next thirty years it could become a nation that is extinct,” said Duncan. She says that polygamy commonly is practiced in Swaziland and that many believe that having sexual relations with a virgin is a cure for the HIV virus, “These are the manner of things that could be changed without destroying the Swazi culture yet would slow the spreading of the HIV virus. The government has put some mandates in place that deal with the spreading of HIV and AIDS and how not to spread the disease. I believe that information deals in part with abstinence and not having multiple partners,” said Duncan.
Renee Duncan speaks with women at the "Golden Mile" in Mbabane, Swaziland.
While in Swaziland, Duncan conducted conferences for women, men and youth. “In our conferences we do deal with some of these cultural issues, but we try to encourage them and bring them hope through a faith-based initiative. I’m planning on returning in February in the hopes that we can expand even more the work that we are doing,” said Duncan. She says that she has been doing this type of work for 25 years and has traveled to 14 different countries but that Swaziland has taken a special place in her heart. “It’s very sad and hard to see what these people are having to deal with. I have seen some very difficult circumstances in the hospitals, but this last trip I have seen some improvement and that encourages me. But it touches me and I’m thankful that I’m an American and that I have the opportunity to travel there and make a difference one person at a time. I started at the bottom and now I’ve met with the top and I hope that the two will come together and make a change for the nation,” said Duncan. Anyone wishing to learn more about Renee Duncan’s work in Swaziland may call 262-7416.
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