November 15 2008

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November 16th 2008
Published: November 16th 2008
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Saturday November 16 2008

Well the journey as it was to be is now over, the events are now stories, the pictures are the reminders and the experience will forever embrace me. I can’t imagine that what I have seen and experienced will ever leave me. The faces, the smells, the scenery, the challenges, the events are too real now … they aren’t from a TV documentary these are real.
As I now reflect I wonder what the future holds … will I ever get back here again? Will I ever see Alafati and his family again? Will I ever feel the pain and agony of the people I saw?

This morning we organized all the kids to come to the church in Tabora. It poured rain beginning early in the morning and never quite until about 9:30. We got to the church and of the 34 kids we expected we had 30, plus caregivers. Amazing, what a tunout! Here’s story for you, the idea behind the gathering was to 1) finish the letters, and 2) hand some items to the kids. Remember I was telling you abut Inala? Well one lady walked the 13 kms to be with us! She arrived at 7:00 AM, the event wasn’t to begin until 9:00 … but she wanted to be sure to get there on time. Her kids were working in the field so they couldn’t make it, so she came on their behalf. I could not believe it … she obviously came during the rain storm so she must have left at 3:00 in the morning!!!

The sponsorship program asked Sponsors to donate to their kids a little extra for food, mosquito nets, school supplies and clothing. This afternoon we distributed these items to the kids we had already seen previously throughout the week. Each one was so happy to get the 10 kgs of rice, 5 kgs of beans, the clothes and some school supplies. The girls and mothers/guardians bowed when they thanked us. It was a great ending to a great week!!

So my last visit with Alafati … well, that wasn’t so good! When I arrived at the church I was video taping, the caregivers were on the sides and the kids were in the middle. As soon as Alafati saw me, he came right over and held tightly onto my finger. He never left my side the entire time! Then we sat and listened to David speak, he sat on my lap. We handed out the nets and he went with me and stayed by my side. His Aunt and Sam and I sat and chatted with Alafati … I told him that we will send hi the pictures I took, and that someday we would try to get back to see him. I said that maybe Denise and I would be able to come see him when he’s a little older. Either way we would always stay in touch. It broke my heart to say good bye … I hated to put him down and send him on his way. I’ve said it a number of times, he is very cute!

We are off to Serengeti on Sunday … I hope that everyone has enjoyed the stories. This has been an amazing experience … you keep looking for the hope, the opportunities, the ability to rise above where these people are to something better, but the sad reality is its just not there, at least not any time soon. The adults are where they are and won’t likely see any difference in lifetime. The kids may have something to look forward to but it will take a huge effort and an incredible amount of commitment and dedication to making a difference. The organization I travelled with have plans and they are big. The thing that attracted me to them was the desire to “empower children to become the future leaders of Africa”. The people have to want to make the change and then need to make it happen, but they need our help. I am so encouraged to see that the dollars that are invested in these kids actually gets into their mouths!

I pray I will be able to come back here some day, and I hope that I will see a difference when I do return.

An incredibly emotional day!! One I won’t soon forget!


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