Another massive day! Today we went to see the homes of Wycliffe and Shamim, and then went to the Lightwayschool to see our ‘big kids’.
We started off with Wycliffe and Shamimu at the centre, and we all had tea and some g-nuts. I made the children some very sweet chai (they could use a few calories, even empty ones) and we asked them a few questions. Being young, their English is not so good, so they often just answer “yes”.
Soon we all got in the van, and drove off to Wycliffe’s house. It was quite a way, and I asked if Shamim’s house was as far. “Further,” was the answer.
Wycliffe lives with his mother, Zerahida, with 5 of his 6 siblings (the oldest girl ran away) and two cousins. The mother is HIV positive, but Wycliff, the youngest, is negative. The remaining children are all in school (aside from the two girl cousins, who are both too young).
The house is quite small, especially for so many people – about the size of my bedroom, which most people think is small. They don’t sleep inside, but outside. All of them share one old blanket, and try to get the biggest share. They have chickens and try to raise a crop of maize and beans to provide some cash.
Next we went to Shamim’s. Esther, who does a lot of road cycling, estimates that it is 15-20km away from Bushikori – so she walks that distance twice a day. (I later found out that with shortcuts across people’s farms it ends up being about 12kms each way.)
Shamim lives with her Jaja (grandmother) and 8 cousins. Jaja is the only adult. They have 2 small houses and they all sleep in one of them. Shamim’s parents are both deceased, most likely of HIV/AIDS. They both had all the symptoms, but weren’t tested, so it can’t be certain. They are doing all right, except when the harvest is nearly but not quite ready. Jaja has several chickens, two goats and a cow. She trades her way up as she can. The animals are mostly kept in enclosures off the ground so that they stay clean. They had beans drying from the roof of the house and on the ground.
I was actually quite pleased with Shamim’s house. It’s very poor conditions, absolutely, but her Jaja is working hard to make a better life for all of her grandchildren. Their isn’t despair or lethargy, but a determination that the future will be better than the past.
Jaja was so thankful for all that I have done. School fees here are not cheap – sponsorship is $320 a year, which is a lot when you only make a few dollars a day. Multiply by each child. I was just happy to see that my sponsorship makes a difference.
Next stop was the lady who was burnt. She has been locked out of her brother’s house and is also pregnant. It is an extremely tough case. Her children are all young, mostly below school age, and their conditions are very bad. Thankfully, being children, they are happy in spite of all the difficult circumstances they are in.
We headed back to Bushikori for lunch, then went back out, this time to Lightway School to see our ‘big kids’.