We visited 4 children in their homesteads who attend
The first homestead was of a family of 4 children living alone. The mother and father have both deserted the children. There is a girl about 16 but she is no longer living in the homestead. She is living with a “boyfriend.” The children living in the homestead are a boy 14 years old and three girls, the youngest in 1st grade. These children basically survive on handouts from their neighbors and in fear of when their father does come home. The boy is not going to school because his school fees weren’t paid up las t year and so the school wouldn’t give him results for his final exams from 7th grade. These are required before the child can enroll in High School. He had a sponsor last year, but since he couldn’t get his grades, he couldn’t go to school. He sits at home all day. The three younger children seem to do above average in school. One of these children’s school fees is sponsored by World Vision.
The second homestead was that of grandparents who are taking care of 7 of their grandchildren. Two of them are double orphans. The grandmother must use crutches in order to walk. Grandparents are amazing everywhere, but especially in
The third homestead was that of two motherless families (one with 5 children and the other with 6) living on the same homestead. We actually went to visit the youngest child in one of the families who is sick a lot. He is in the first grade but hasn’t been attending school because he was hit by a car a few months ago and his leg was fractured in two places. The child started ARTs five months ago. The father is currently working at night as a security guard at a construction site in Manzini and comes home as he is able during the day. He wasn’t home yesterday. The father of the other family works in the tree farms near the
The fourth homestead was that of a child who is living with his gogo. Both of his parents are deceased. You could see the love on her face for her child. In
I got just a little bit of each of the families stories because most of the conversations where in SiSwait. The hardest part for me, indeed any missionary, is to resist the temptation to pull out my wallet and give each person a bundle of cash for one thing or another. But that is not the answer and for each homestead we visited there are thousands more just like these or even worse. When the population of the country is approximately 1 million and 70 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, you can imagine the level of need across the country. The volunteers have already started talking about how they can help the families emotionally and spiritually as well as take care of some of their physical needs. We will meet next week and discuss what the best course of care might be to assist and enable the families to meet their needs.
It was an overwhelming, long day. This first visit was just the start of future work. As always, we are going to learn as we go and take it one step at a time. But we all agree that we have to start somewhere and we have to assess what the different situations really are and what the best way to help might be. The family that takes care of 7 grandchildren, might only need some help providing shoes for their grandchildren, whereas another family might need help with food, school fees, medical care, etc. Our volunteers will visit the homesteads at least once a month to provide that emotional support, the gift of love and hope and assess if needs have changed. Even now, 24 hours after our visits, all I can really do is take a deep breath and pray for God’s help and guidance.
The pictures below are in the order of the homesteads we visited. The woman in all of the pictures that has the lavender dress on is the Rural Health Motivator. The woman in black is Albertinah. In the last picture, the three other ladies are the volunteers – Thoko, Phindile and Gladys.