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Published: November 14th 2008
Rick & Alafati
Here is our child that we Sponsor, he is 3 yrs old, lives with his Aunt, both of his parents have died due to AIDS. He has a brother, a sister and 4 cousins living together with him.
Thursday Nov 13 2008
A much better day, we managed to get many of the kids done today. As it turns out we only have Friday to get the remaining kids done and I think we shall be OK. Its amazing how excited the kids get over the pictures and the letter writing. They get all giggly and begin to fix their clothes and try to look as nice as they can. Some of the kids can write others we’ve either had Sam do them or in some cases a sibling or other relative. It seems that AIDS has forced a number of grandparents into becoming parents all over again. The grandparents have to become the guardians, but that’s OK, I think it gives them a feeling of need at an elderly age and it allows them to stay directly connected with the family. For some of the older folks we’ve seen, they live a funny life of what seems like a disconnect with a lot more solitude.
I received a gift yesterday, we had to go to this same home a second time since one of the kids could not be found yesterday. When we arrived I was given a chair from within the house to sit on. I took the pictures and began playing with the kids, the normal routine while visiting these folks. The mother disappeared for a few minutes and returned with a goose, yes a live goose. Apparently this is huge honour since they have very little and a goose represents many other geese with offspring and of course it would be a meal for many days for them. I asked the guys I was with what I should do … “take the goose and thank her”. So I now own a goose!! We decided to sell the goose and some how filter the money back to her and her family.
On our last stop of the day I met a young girl who lost both parents and now lives with her “bibi” (grandmother). The grandmother is not that old, I would guess in her late 60’s and she is taking care of 5 or 6 kids from 2 of her children. The oldest looks about early 20’s. Like any community there are a number of communities with differing levels of income, this area is likely near the bottom. On Tuesday when we were in this area, I saw a number of piles of stone stacked all over the place. It turns out this is used for construction. It is granite and it is broken in small gravel sized pieces using a hammer. The big pieces are broken off a boulder that was unburied from a side hill near the house. Other family members carry the big rocks to one spot and broken into smaller pieces, these smaller ones are then carried to another spot where the girl I said was in her 20’s was sitting on the ground. She had the head of a sledge hammer with a stick for a handle that stuck out too far beyond the head. She was smashing the rocks with the hammer on another rock then sorting out the pieces according to size. She was using rags that were rolled together and tied with rope into a donut shape to stop the rocks from flying all around. Once she had a pile built she would take it near the street to “her” pile, then in a few days a truck will come along and shovel the rocks into a truck. This is their primary source of income!! Truly a family business.
I passed out one more soccer ball today, it went to the family that gave me the goose. They were really appreciative, the kids just howled!
There are a number of kids who need our help. When we fuel up kids come from everywhere asking for money, these are kids who should be in school, but they can’t afford the $60 a year for secondary school. I know as a result of this we will no doubt sponsor another child, if you feel compelled check out www.SaveAfricaNow.org … believe me, these kids could us it.
Because this was a “modified” trip, we’ve decided to come home a bit earlier then originally planned. On Sunday we leave for the Serengeti, on Monday morning at 6:00 we leave on our Safari. Tuesday AM we fly to Dar Es Salaam and then to Amsterdam on Wednesday. Looks like Thursday I will be home. I am excited; it’s been a long trip and emotionally draining. Most situations numb you after a while but this has not done that to me. The smells are the only thing that I have become tolerant of. Each time we go to a different home there’s something unique that tugs at your heart …
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