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Published: November 15th 2008
Friday Nov 14 2008
I keep saying each day that there’s something new and amazing that catches my eye, well today was no different. I am almost glad that we are done visiting children’s homes. The desperate situations they live in, the lack of food, the poor housing, clothes that are worn and torn and dirty … its amazing.
We went to a town called Inala, it’s about 11 kms East of Tabora (the town we are in). Once we got to the edge of town we turned South and drove another 2 kms … so picture this, we leave town on a road that is worse then any dirt road we’ve ever seen, and we turn off of that road onto one that is even worse then that. This road was nothing more than a field rod on some farm. At the end of the journey we stopped at a school … it had 5 classrooms and 3 teachers. One of them is also the Principal. We were to see 6 kids who attend that school, of the 100 or so kids none of them were in attendance. Farming comes first and since the rainy season has just begun, the work has just begun. When we drove in there was field after field of people using these diggers that look like a big garden hoe, they turn the soil over from one ridge to another. They will then plant the maize or both themselves and for selling. The principal was so helpful, he gave us direction to 4 of the kids and then sent tow of the students to get the other two, they came up empty handed. While speaking to the principal I asked the guys to ask him if he would like a Soccer ball for his school. He said he would love to have one since the school does not have any at all. I left them in Tabora this morning, but before we could suggest arrangements he said I will come to Tabora and meet you at 4:00. So we left to meet the 4 kids.
Fortunately we only had to go to one house, 2 children lived here, one across the road and one down a bit. When we got to the house two kids were pounding maize, using stick they pounded the maize in wooden hand carved bowls that stood about 20 inches high. One of the children, Juma, was our first child to get a letter from, sadly though he can’t write because he’s only just started school as a result of his very recent sponsorship, he is 12. His sister was pounding at another bowl, it turned out she is about 18 yrs old. We were then greeted by the grandmother who is caring for the 7 children that were in front of us. Her husband died many years ago. Six of the kids are from one set of parents who are both dead due to AIDS, the 7th child is the 18 yr olds. We did not find out about the dad of this child. The other child, Tatu, a girl, is 10, she was helping her mother hoe the field. Juma had shorts on that were too big they were tied with around his waste by a string, the zipper was broken and they torn in the front, so his privates were not even covered as he spoke to us and as he worked. Tatu had on what I would call one of those cotton pyjama shirts the girls wear to bed. It was worn and ripped from one shoulder down across her chest. And none of them wore shoes, we sometimes see sandals or flip flops, but these kids had nothing on their feet.
As we chatted a crowd gathered, in the end we probably had 20 people gather from around the area. I took pictures and we chatted with them for about 45 minutes. The kids and the adults just love to see their pictures after I take them. So as I took a shot, I showed them which simply made the crowd around me that much bigger. We brought a few minutes of happiness to some families that had nothing. Sadly I left all my goodies back at the Centre so I had nothing to leave them. I just can’t get this out of my head, it is nothing more then incredible that these people can live like this.
We left there and went to see another child, Pili she is sponsored by Bill & Pat Shaw from Red Deer Alberta, Bill is here with us as well. He was a city planner before retirement, he is now the Lead on building the Salama Project which is an entire complex that Save Africa Now is beginning to develop. When we arrived at her house her “bibi” grandmother greeted us and thanks Bill so much for helping her and her grandchildren. Pili was sick today, she has Malaria, so Bill took her to the clinic where she was tested. They found out she was quite sick with a bad strain. Bill then paid for her to see the Doctor and to get her medication. The grandmother was so happy. The joy on Bill’s face as he saw her for the first time was really neat. Pili was just as excited to receive her gifts and to see her sponsor as well.
I had one more stop to make, I wanted to give Alafati’s sisters each a dress that Denise and the girls had sent along. These dresses were special so special kids needed to get them. I arrived and once Alafati saw me he couldn’t get to me fast enough. I picked him up and carried him across the yard. His sisters came out and I presented each of them with the right dress … the smiles were endless! I asked them to put them on to see if they fit and to get some pictures. They fit perfectly … it was so cool to see. We got a video and a bunch of stills of them wearing them, then I had them thank Lindsay and Leanne on tape. A moment that brought a tear. Alafati didn’t want to be outdone, so he ran inside and got his soccer ball and posed beside the girls … he didn’t need any prompting!
Now back to the Principal … he told the other guys that he would bike into Tabora to get the ball. At least 13 kms by bike in 30 deg weather to get a soccer ball. He was to meet us at 4:00. The guys took me to meet him, I handed him the ball and the rest of the goodies I had, which was not that many. He had a tear in his eye as he accepted the gift, and using both hands in the prayer position he began bowing to me and Thanking me “asanta sauna” he keep repeating. We got a picture of the two of us and off he went back to the school!
What a day … tomorrow we are gathering all of the kids we met over the last few days to hand out some food and to greet them in a more formal setting, then we go to the market. The market is quite the place; all kinds of “stuff” for sale, meat (fresh, laid out on table for you to cut and buy), fresh chicken (still in cages), dried fish smelts (by the bag full), geese, ducks, fruits, vegetables, trinkets, clothes, shoes … you name it! Sunday we begin our travels to the Serengeti.
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