The Saturday morning project is a time of worship, play and crafts for the sponsored children. We joined them for worship and were then entertained as they sang a song they had written especially for us.
Letters and gifts from sponsors were distributed to those who were lucky enough to have been sent one, and then we received gifts from the children.
As the children were taken out to be given porridge we gathered the tennis balls and inflatable beach balls we had bought with us; time to CHI (Cause Havoc Intentionally). You would not believe how excited these children can become over a few balls. The cricket set and parachute we bought on our last visit came out and a wonderful time of play, fun and havoc ensued. For these children, whose lives and circumstances are so hard opportunities to simply be children are few and far between.
Then back inside as some of the older children were taught tailoring skills on the sewing machines purchased by CHI, and the younger ones showed us how they could weave mats and make beaded items.
As the children left we were given lunch, then it was into the car to visit the homes of some of the children.
When we receive details of the children requiring sponsorship the information is fairly standard, poor home, unable to support the family, etc. The reality we see when we visit these homes makes us realise just how inadequate word are to describe the lives these children live.
We visited eight homes of children sponsored and awaiting sponsorship today, and more than once we were almost bought to tears. The poverty is unimaginable, one room homes no more than 7ft square, accommodating families of 5, with a scrap of cloth for a door and no windows. Sick or disabled parents, unable to work to provide food for their hungry children. Emmanuel’s home was one of these. Emmanuel is an only child, his mother abandoned the family when he was a baby, his father has cared for him but is now bed ridden with a broken leg, he is probably around 60 but looks 80+ and, we suspect, may not be around much longer. Emmanuel does all the chores and cares for his father, but they have no means of income. He is a happy smiley boy, and yet he has so little to smile about, and we cannot help but be concerned for his future. Sponsorship ensures he has an education, attends the Saturday project where he receives a breakfast of porridge, learns crafts which may one day enable him to earn some money, and has the opportunity to simply be a child, most importantly he learns that God loves him and has a plan for his life. We doubt his home has an address but if it did it might go something like this; off the main road, past the tip, down the mud track, the house on the end with the boarded up window. Beyond sponsorship we are at a loss to know what we can do to help, just heartbreaking.
Despite the challenges these people face we were welcomed, invited in (it was a squeeze), hugged, and given gifts. We sat on the floor on woven mats laid down just for us, and could offer nothing but a prayer that by some miracle their lives could be improved.
By the time we returned home we were all emotionally drained, certainly a day of two halves