Sunday, November 15, 2009

My sweet African children

I just wanted to post some pictures of all the kids that I live with at the farm and include a few details about how they came to stay with us at Mothers Without Borders.

These are the three smallest of the bunch. From left to right: Blessing age 3 (F), Abby age 4 (M), Alice age 5 (F).

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Blessing is the daughter to Faith and George who are caretakers. Abby is the grandson of Fagness and Boxen who are also caretakers. I mentioned Alice in my previous post. She’s only been with us for a few months and came to us as a favor for the AIDS organization we work with.

Next comes Emmanuel age 7 (M) and Kennedy age 8 (M).

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These two little morsels, both in Grade 1, are connected at the hip. Emmanuel has been with us since 2006. I was here the day they brought him, his brother Charles, and sister Exildah to the orphanage. I remember standing outside the closet-sized home where the kids were staying with their grandpa, listening to the social worker tell us about how the kids were being abused and only receiving one meal a day and had no education and on and on and on. It was only the third day that I had been in Africa and after we left the home I just lost it. I couldn't believe these beautiful children were being treated so badly. Since then, I have visited many more homes like this, and heard even more similar stories to that of Emmanuel, Charles, and Exildah. It never gets easier and sometimes I just want to shut my eyes, plug my ears and make it all go away.

Kennedy came to us sometime in 2007 with his other siblings Bwalya and Bridget. They had another brother, Moses, come in 2008 but he is no longer with us. Kennedy and his siblings are double orphans, meaning that both parents have passed away. Their older sister was trying to earn money, by being a prostitute, so she could care for her many younger siblings. This happens to too many young girls here. They have no other alternative; their parents are dead, siblings are hungry, so they turn to prostitution to help pay for food and shelter.

This next bunch of boys are fairly new to Mothers Without Borders (MWB): Gift age 9 (M), Lovemore age 9 (M), Harrison age 10 (M).

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All these boys were street kids before they came to us. There are many of these sweet little kids that become orphans and are then forced to live on the streets and fight for their lives. All three of these boys were picked up from the streets and sent to a transit home. The transit home then contacts MWB and asks if we can take them in. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to inherit these handsome boys. Street boys come to us with a lot of anger and a desire to fight for everything but I’ve found that a little love can go a long way with these kids and now that they are receiving proper food and shelter we can start working on mending the wounds of their heart.

This next group of boys are all in grade 3. They are bright, happy, active boys. Bwalya age 11 (M), Makupa age 9 (M), Charles age 10 (M), and Lucky age 12 (M).

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I’ve already told you a bit about Bwalya and Charles, and Kupa is George and Faith’s (caretakers) son. Lucky came to us some time at the beginning of this year. He’s a double orphan who was living with the grandmother. One day, a few years ago, she left to visit another city and never returned. Lucky was forced to stay with his sixteen yr old brother. He was found by social welfare and they sent him to us. He’s probably the best student I have. He works so hard.

Bridget and Diana are two peas in a pod. Diana age 12 (F), Bridget age 13 (F).

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Bridget is Kennedy’s sister and came in 2007. Diana came to MWB in July of 2008. I was living at the CRC the day she came. I remember walking home from school with the kids and they were all talking about the new girl that was coming to live with us that day. That was the first I’d heard of it and sure enough when we got home there was sweet little shy quiet Diana who couldn’t speak a lick of English. I can’t even begin to tell you the progress she’s made in the last year. She’s now the one who translates for me when I don’t understand what the little kids are saying. She is also reading a few words and doing very well in school. Before she came she was living at Julius Village and had a huge problem with her eyes. Although not perfect, her eyes are much better than they used to be. Both she and Bridget are such a delight…they are always telling some kind of exciting story that happened that day.

Choolwe age 13 (M) has been with MWB for more than five years now.

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He was living at the house with his four other siblings when I arrived the first time in 2006. Every year another one of his siblings leaves for one reason or another so now Choolwe is the last remaining of his family at the CRC. I miss his siblings as I’m sure he does as well. I talked about his story before coming to MWB in my blog last year (What Do You When You're Hungry? August 2008) Besides the caretakers children, Choolwe is the only child that has been at the CRC from the first time I met all the kids. This boy is dear to my heart.

Ethel age 14 (F) has been with us for almost two years now.

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She took care of her sick mother up until the day that she died. She was left with nothing and no one. She was living with a friend but was kicked out and sent to live on the streets. A friend of Josephine’s (MWB staff) had told us about Ethel and we found her and brought her to MWB. She has the best voice of all the kids. I love to listen to her sing.

Josephine age 18 (F) has been with us for a few years.

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She’s a cousin to another girl that used to stay with us. She is so so sweet and very mature. She’s leaving us this December because she’s 18 and it’s government policy that when they become an adult these kids are no longer allowed to stay at the orphanage. She hardly feels like an adult to me and it makes me sad to see her go. I will miss her dearly.

Raymond age 11 (M) and Chanda age 7 (F) are, along with Makupa and Blessing, George and Faith’s children. DSCN0817

Raymond is the smartest out of all the kids. He’s always asking me a million questions that I never have the answers for. However, just this week we had a wonderful man from the states come and bring us a whole brand spanking new set of Encyclopedia Britannica's. I was so happy when I saw them I started crying. Who knew that one day I would cry over receiving a set of encyclopedias? Now I can give Raymond the answers he’s always searching for. Thank you Val Stokes.

Chanda hasn’t lived with us for long. I’m not sure where she was staying before but I’m happy she’s with us now. She’s a feisty girl who won’t be pushed around but somehow she always finds my hand during our evening prayer. She’s beautiful with a wonderful smile and she’s always by my side to give me the love that I need.

Victor age 15 (M), Vincent age 15 (M) (they are twins), and Chola (he’s the one on the left in the picture at the bottom) age 13 (M) are Boxen and Fagness’ children.

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Victor is quite the preacher and is always telling the kids to be good and speak English and clean the dishes and all this other good stuff. He always says it in the most kind and gentle manner. All three of these boys are so very polite. They treat me like gold.

There are so many others who have come and gone. A few that I will gratefully see again and others that I must wait until the next life to see. Life here is never constant. You never know when another child will come or when another will go. I’m learning to never miss an opportunity to kiss, hug, and tell these beautiful children how much I love them. I’ve learned that with love comes pain but the blessings that come from loving these children far outweigh the pain when they’re no longer around to hug.

7 comments:

Aplanalps said...

I hear we have a mutual friend. Funny that he lives in my parent's backyard. It really is a small world! I really am hoping to come over and visit you next spring....really, I'm not just saying that ;)

Lady Fox said...

What wonderful children you associate with. They are so lucky to have you as they are to have you. Keep up the good work. We are praying for you always.

haylie said...

I love the names of these kids, Heather. Lucky. Gift. Blessing. Lovemore. I'm so glad you can be there to help them feel like their names. We love you and miss you and think about you often.

WYOGIRL said...

Beautiful, Heather!! Thanks for sharing. I think about you often, especially when I drive through Sherwood. Keep the posts coming!

Stephanie said...

This really is a great post. You were smart to spend so much time on it. Now whenever you talk about someone, I can pull it up and see who it is. I love to know as much about my African family as I can. I love you

Robin said...

hi heduh. bye heduh.

Heidi said...

Thank you so much for this post! I loved seeing pictures of the kids. So fun to see how they had grown from last year, especially Blessing, and to see new faces. Loved it. What sweet kids. Sometime I want you to do a post on the adults. I would love to see their faces again as well.