Monday started bright and early with another trip to Ana ndi Atu to bring more items (teach aids) for the Amays to teach the children. As soon as we drove up children started running behind the truck and the orphans started singing and welcoming us. It was a beautiful sight and was wonderful to make another surprise but short visit.
Guard Family #2 Visit
Nixon and his wife have 5 children. Their 18 yr old daughter is pregnant with her boyfriend’s baby, their son Steven (14 yrs) needs an operation for a painful swelling on of his testicles (boy I bet that word caught your attention), called Hydrocele. He has had the problem for 3 years and is scheduled for surgery on Wednesday. The family is very scared. Hospitals here are equated with death - so many needless deaths that just simply wouldn’t happen in Canada. They also have fear that Steven will loose his manhood and not be able to father children. Nixon explored the topic of traditional medicine with Andre. They trust him and value his advice. To complete our visit we brought gifts from Canada and clothing for Nixon and his family.
At the time of writing this, Nixon did not take his son for the surgery. He said he was too tired and didn't have the funds to take him. Health care is free here so I think the funds were for other expenses. I think food for Nixon or something.
Last stop of the day and there to bring soccer balls (or as in Malawi, footballs) and whistles. Last year the school was provided with Malawian footballs which didn’t last very long so bringing them good North American soccer balls was a hit. The headmaster made a point of introducing us to every class and pointing out Sydney, how old she was and what grade she was in, for the purpose of encouraging girls to stay in school and not get married. Village life has a tendency to force girls into early marriage simply because it is one less mouth to feed (she then becomes her husband’s responsibility), or because she is the one who does the basic care-giving chores like fetching water. By-the-time she’ completes those tasks, she is often late for school and then a lot of girls don’t bother in going. After the students played a game of handball and football, it was time for speeches. The headmaster made a speech and then I was required to make a speech. I encouraged the children (ages 6-16) to stay in school and informed them that Sydney’s father and I would not allow Sydney to get married until she has finished school.
Simeon Orphan Care and Misangu School and Guard Visit #3
Simeon Orphan Care had about 18 children that morning. They have a new facility and are truly geared for learning. In the classroom the had different stations where the children could learn specific things such as numbers, letters or sciences. These stations do not look like the brightly coloured classrooms Canadian children get to enjoy. They are just scraps of paper with information written on them and put on the wall. We were able to bring brightly coloured teaching aids for hanging up on the wall. We gave all the children the same things as the other centres but gave the extra clothing. Andre showed me that they still had the few teddy bears right there on the mats for the children from when his mom and dad brought them last September.
The school has a wopping 2,047 students. Okay remember my sign earlier about people always complain ... well these teachers have everything to complain about. Poor working conditions, huge classrooms and terrible living quarters. The standard 1 classroom had 400 children sitting on the floor right up to the chalk board. There was barely room for the teacher to walk back and forth as she taught. Andre has been working with other organizations here to provide latrines for the school. They had 3 before for over 2,000 students and now 18 are being constructed. Unfortunately, everything takes so long. The teachers live on site and really are doing sacrificial work here. You would be shocked if you could see where they were living.
Guard Visit #3 - Musa
Jealousy is an ugly monster here and people will do others physical harm or make life difficult because of it. Musa is one such individual and has made life challenging for the other two guards and Alex and Andre as they try to effectively navigate through ongoing conflict. The result is that we had to make sure we visited all of the guards in their homes and brought them gifts. I think it is good in sense these people who have been seeing us bring all of this stuff to the children will themselves also be blessed by Jesus. I thiink this is particularly important with Musa. Out of all of the other guards, he is the most surly and difficult at times.
That's all for now.