Friday, July 03, 2009

Thule's Time in Iowa ~ A Beautiful Honeymoon ~ by Melody Rockwell

The Rev. Charles Kunene returned from Swaziland in mid-June 2009 to the three Episcopal parishes he serves in southwest Iowa. Charles has an extra big smile on his face these days, because he didn't return alone to his Iowa home in Red Oak. Charles' wife Thule has joined him for three weeks in Iowa... to see the sights, renew acquaintances with companions she'd previously met in Swaziland, and make new friends throughout our state.

Thule, who works as a supervisor in the maternity ward at the hospital in Mbabane, Swaziland, describes her sojourn in Iowa, as "a beautiful honeymoon." Thule says, "The people here in Iowa are very welcoming and kind." She has found Iowa to be "a nice place... very clean." But, she's also been surprised by a few things.

"The prices in the shops," Thule exclaims, "are so much cheaper here." She did note that the one thing she couldn't find in the Iowa stores was bar soap to do laundry. Charles explained that in Swaziland, they do all their laundry by hand and traditionally use bar soap for that process.

Thule said, "Another surprise for me is that your roads are so well-marked! You have no excuse for getting lost here in Iowa, though it takes some getting used to driving on the right side of the road. Oh, and the toilets that automatically flush! And the organs that are programmed to play automatically! Those were nice surprises."

"And, there are many houses here made with planks of wood, which is so different from Swaziland, where we mainly use concrete blocks," Thule said. "It was surprising to me that double-story houses made of planks would be strong enough to stay standing." Thule commented that she was also surprised by the high humidity in Iowa. "We have hot days in Swaziland, but it is dry heat, not so humid as here."

Thule expressed genuine enjoyment visiting many different parishes and communities in Iowa, meeting the friendly people and being an honored guest at many welcoming parties. Thule said that an extra special treat were first rides ever on boats: on Spirit Lake and on the Mississippi River near Burlington. "It was so beautiful," she sighed happily. "It has been a good honeymoon for Charles and me."

Welcome Thule... Iowa has been blessed with your presence!