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Published: June 14th 2016
I know I just wrote a blog not too long ago but a lot has happened in the past couple of days that deserved attention of their own.
On Sunday Carrie, Brooklyn and I spent several hours at the House of Love Africa which is an orphanage close by that houses mostly children born with HIV. Previous to going to the orphanage I tried to learn as much as I could about how children end up there. Here in Africa abortions are illegal and because of this children are born that are not wanted. What some parents do is try to give birth in a health center or hospital not in their district so when they flee from the hospital they are hard to find. These abandoned children end up in the orphanages. Sometimes parents also abandon their newborns in a ditch or on the steps of orphanages or health facilities. Children will also end up in orphanages here if the mother passes away during child birth and the father or other family members are not found or cannot support the child. Sadly, I discovered that parents who have an HIV positive child at birth are more likely
to abandon them due to the stigma surrounding their status as HIV positive.
Places like House of Love are crucial to the survival to these children and I honestly thought it would be a very sad experience but I was blown away. These children had so much love for each other and their director Agnes was so positive, happy, and loving. These children really got the second chance they deserved! All of the kids greeted us at the gate and either shook our hands or gave us a big hug. They also all danced and sang for us and I was moved to tears. Despite everything they have been through these kids were just the happiest children I have ever met. They were not fighting, complaining, or being exclusionary. Everyone was welcome to do as they pleased, everything was shared, and everyone cared for each other.
Agnes also has a wonderful team of 7 other members that help her run House of Love. The other two main characters we met were Moreen and Irene. Both of these cats were hilarious! Always playing jokes with the kids, and they arranged several games for us to play everyone. I have
not laughed so hard in a long time! I really hope to see them again before we leave. We also had a chance to pick up some knick knacks at their craft shop. All of the children on their breaks from school help make a variety of crafts to sell. All of the proceeds go back to clothing the children, feeding the children, or for other things like buying items for their garden or for school. I am happy to say I am coming home with several keepsakes from there that I am just so happy to own. Going back to Canada and seeing these pieces in my home will always remind me of how special the House of Love really is and how good I have it.
Today at the Health Centre was also a day that made my heart full. We donated several bags worth of medical supplies to the health centre that will be put to good use! We gave items like blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, gauze, cleaning supplies, and any other item we thought they could use! Right now the health centre has about 2 blood pressure cuffs, and 2 thermometers so we
know these will be greatly appreciated! Micheal, the medical officer here, was so excited to see everything we got. I think he was a bit overwhelmed! He does such an amazing job and cares for his patients so much it was wonderful to give back. He deserves the best!
Also today Martha, Brooklyn and I along with a team of men from the Health Centre also got the new pediatric ward up and running! When we first came to the health centre Micheal had mentioned it has been their dream for a long time to organize that ward so they could take on more children from the villages instead of referring them to other centers. The shortage though was manpower willing to put in the time to go through the boxes, build the beds, organize the space, and sweep it out. I made it a personal goal right then and there to make sure I got most of that done before I left. Crossed that item off the list today! We swept, sweated, and built all of the beds that could fit with our little team. It made me soooooo happy to see everything together at the end of
our few hours of hard work. Amos, Micheal and some other doctors and community members from around the area came to see what we were doing and their faces instantly lit up on seeing our progress! Even our little team did a cheer at the end of it all. I really hope to see some patients in there soon!
That is all for now! Felt that I had to write this feel good stuff down now and I know some of you back in Canada would like to hear of some of our successes!
Sending love from Africa!
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