I've really missed this place! I'm sitting here in my home office at 10:30 on a Sunday night. The house is quiet, the electricity is on, and I have some time to pray, "Direct my thoughts, Lord. What should I share?" Well, it's impossible to write about all that's gone on in the past six months so I guess I'll just share a story that's been on my heart for the past week.
We started our school last week. For the first time we invited children from the community to enroll. Prior to this, we have only worked with the orphans and vulnerable children we know through the ministry. Last Monday I took a few minutes to interview each new child to get some basic information.
As I was asking one young boy some questions, I realized that he couldn't really pay attention to me. Perhaps some of it was a language barrier, but I instinctively knew that he was hungry.
I asked his older brother if they had eaten that morning. No.
"When did you last eat?"
"The day before yesterday."
"I'm sure you had pap* for breakfast yesterday." Nope.
"I'm sure you had tea yesterday." Yes.
"I'm sure you had bread with your tea." Nope.
I take a closer look at the boy sitting before me. His brother says he's 9, but he looks 5.
They tell me more of their story:
Dad is dead.
Mom is dead.
Step-mom is dead. (Dad had two wives.)
Their older siblings try to feed them when they can, but food is not steady.
What kind of childhood is this?
The three youngest children have come to our school. They haven't been to school for a number of years. They are 16, 13, and 9, and none of them can read. That will be the first item on our agenda--after we fill their bellies.
*corn is soaked for 3 days, using fresh water every day, then ground, and then cooked into a porridge.