My Name is Philile Mazulo

In Swaziland, or maybe just as a Peace Corps volunteer you get renamed. The first day I met my gogo (grandmother) she said “Ginger” once, and then referred to me as Philile. It took me 2 days to realize this was my new name. My 9 year old sisi (sister) told me it means strong queen. My older sisi tells me it means healthy. Gogo says its means healthy build- which could just mean fat- but I think it refers to height. I figured maybe this new name business was just a way for families to ensure they could pronounce our names for 9 weeks. Or maybe it was part of the Peace Corps plan to intergrate us into the community. This is not the case. I go to town and people ask my name, if I say “Ginger” they look at me funny and say “no, no, no swazi name!”. People are also very curious about my surname, which is now Mazulo by the way. Nearly everyone here is in some way related to royalty, so your last name is a kind of ranking system. Extended families are HUGE here too, so chances are anyone you meet, knows someone in your family.


Things on the homestead are going really well, even after a week. I’m starting to feel more at home, and am establishing a routine which is helpful. My family is more awesome everyday. It has become routine to bring my itunes to dinner and we all dance and sing while we cook (I even rapped to lil wanye with gogo last night!). Sundays we eat a big lunch, so for dinner I impressed them all by making popcorn on the stove (thanks mom 🙂 and we played Uno for 3 hours on the kitchen floor. The younger girls were very quick learners with the game, I only won twice, although it was funny when they called “UNO” it changed from “MMO” to UMMMTO” to “LUUMO” it made me laugh every time. I also taught the younger kids how to play duck duck goose last night, which turned into “BUTT, BUTT, BOOSE”- which was extremely cute.


The kids here are awesome. Its hard to talk to them, since most of them speak no english, but they prefer to stare at me anyway. My 9 year sisi amazes me with her maturity and responsibility in the house. We have gotten really close despite the communication difficulties. She waits at the end of the drive for me everyday after school, and wants to play right away. We play until dinner and then dance during dinner and then she gets tired out and falls asleep on my lap. She is a little peanut.


Family will be happy to know I am eating well here. I have coffee for breakfast (via of course). For lunch I typically have an avacado sandwhich, which is delicious. We have 4 avacado trees on our property, and the other night they were talking about what to do with them all, I mentioned how much I love them- so now I have an entire bucket full of softball- to melon size avacado in my room. YUM. For dinner we all eat together for a big meal. We always have chicken (i’m hoping one day soon for roaster- preferable the roaster that starts sound off around 3am). We always have coleslaw, which is pretty yummy. And the main course is either lipashi (corn-flour and water (looks like mashed potatoes)) or mashed potatoes. Sometimes they even throw in butter nut squash- which is a personal favorite.


I would love recipes from anyone. MOM I really want to know how to make the dough for homemade noodles- I know its super easy, and would be primo here. Also if anyone knows a good pizza dough/flat bread receipe that would be awesome. OH! Also, I know there is a way to make tortilla chips, even if its from kayle- who knows it? I have a ton of avacado and spices to make a killer gaucamole, but nothing to put it on! Until next time! Sala Hamba! (stay well)


1 thought on “My Name is Philile Mazulo

  1. Dear Philile,
    Thank you for the update. I felt like I was there with you as it was written so well. Regarding the mobiles, it took me over month to find I cannot get the original copper paper so I have some other paper being shipped which I am hoping will have similar qualities. Bobbi is having the ceiling fan taken down to make room. keep lovin’ those kids!
    Jake, Dar Grant

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s