Today started and ended with a smile from one of the happiest people I have ever met, Yuca. She greeted us this morning with a smile and a hug and kindly hosted us in her home for dinner. It was such a fun evening especially for Zach. The family decided on the nickname of Rhino for him…and they gave me…wait for it…Dung Beetle!
We spent time touring the hospital here in Lwala that the people who support Blood Water Mission helped to start. We went into a room with sick kids and out of respect were not going to take any pictures, but one of the mothers asked us too, and it made both the kids and the moms feel better if even for a minute.
Things are different here. Can you imagine having your baby in this room. The Women of Lwalla are lucky to be able to do so. Because of the care they the practice of women not naming their kids till they are 5 years old because of the high infant mortality rate is changing.
We then went to a school and met this incredible young man named Evans. I was so impressed by him, I told him he had permission to marry my daughter. He smiled big, and when I showed him a picture of Haille his whole head was swallowed by his smile. Evans is part of the agriculture program at his school, and he even helps teach local adults how to farm. Education is the key to change here and Evans will be a man who will help lead that charge. Evan’s school has rain tanks from the generous support of people with Blood Water Mission so they have clean water. This school is even implementing a feeding program with the food that he and his class are growing. Sadly, the reason for this is so that they know kids at school will get at least one meal that day. His school is progressive and is a model for others to aspire too. Unfortunately, not every school is in such good shape.
This school is not as well off. One latrine is supposed to service 27 kids. Right now one latrine is supporting 107 boys alone. The girls latrine fills with water in the rainy season making it unusable and is next to the road with now doors. The metal buildings that resemble cages are for preschool children. There are no Mickey Mouse murals, or educational toys, just a box to hold kids. We would never let our kids go to a school in this condition. In fact, we would not even let our pets stay at a place like this if we left town.
However, there were two good things that I experienced here. Next to the sound of my daughter laughing as a child, the song the kids sang for us was one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard. Also, I will never forget the words of the school Director, Rose, before she prayed, and oh yeah it was nice to be in a public school where the teachers prayed, maybe we could learn something from Africa, but I digress. Rose said, “A problem shared is a problem half solved,” and that is why we are here and sharing their stories with you, so that together we can come up with a solution for these amazing people.
By the way the school was not even in session today and all of these kids showed up on their own, dressed in their uniforms because they were honored we were there to meet them. I can say beyond the shadow of any doubt that it was is who were honored to be there.
As I write this the sitting on a deck with the most amazing view I am snapped back to reality by the sounds of children crying in the hospital behind me. The day might be done, but the work isn’t.