Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Home Visit

Today a friend and I visited the hungry boys in their home. From Bezer Home, we trekked along muddy paths, crossed a small stream, and then meandered on various paths as we followed the boys to their home.

They live in a decent home by local standards. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it. Their father built the home before he died, and it is now owned by the children.
But as we visited further, we realized that the boys and their two older siblings and a baby all share one room of the house while the other rooms are rented out to tenants. The problem is that the tenants are not current with paying their rent. They are blatantly taking advantage of these young orphans and their inexperience.

For the first time, I heard the whole story of the eight children left behind. The 16 -old was able to tell us the exact dates when their parents died. Almost three years ago their parents died within three weeks of each other. While on his deathbed, the father begged his children to get an education, as that was the only way they could get ahead in life.

But how do you get an education when you don’t have money to pay school fees and your main concern is how to feed yourself every day?

The boys shared that every day they look for small jobs in their community so they can earn some small change to put something in their bellies. Many times they pack sand from the stream and sell it to people who are building houses. I shared another small job opportunity with the boys and asked them to tell me by tomorrow if that is something they want to do. They are eager to work and eager to learn.

Their older sister just joined the sewing program at Bezer Home. We are hopeful that in a few months she will be earning some money to help her siblings.

I asked them, “What’s your biggest problem right now that you need help with?” Fully expecting the answer to be ‘food,’ I was quite surprised when the eldest said, “My education.”

I said, “Well, we’ve got that taken care of for now. I hope you understand why I had to put you in 3rd grade. I don’t want you to feel bad about that.”

He said, “I finished 6th grade, but I couldn’t read or write so I know you had to put me in a lower level.”

I continued, “I hope you boys won’t run away from the school.” They shook their heads and laughed quietly. I could see there was no chance of that happening.

We left some raw food ingredients with them as well as promises to see how we can help them solve some of their immediate problems.  Our goal is to help this family figure out how to sustain themselves. We want to be careful that we don’t create an unhealthy dependency.