The previous post was the "Happy" one. This is the "back to reality" one.
(And since I know that some kids read the blog, I want to say first check with your parents before reading on).
Unfortunately and very sadly, though Saturday was happy it was also cloudy by hard realities.
As I mentioned, I was told that many of the kids were not attending the Sunday School classes. This is discouraging since the kids are supported and all that is asked of them is to attend Sunday School or church.
The church in Ndola has continued to meet for the class sending 2 women on a rotation to teach the kids. Other kids from the area come but only about a third of the sponsored orphans attend.
Last time I was there as we visited the homes, we encouraged the kids to attend. Sometimes we were told the guardians will have work for them to do, or hinder them in some way from coming.
Then the comment made about breakfast. Well I took it in stride as they were telling me, but came home so saddened by that. I know it is a reality. I read about that before I came, that often it is "which meal will I eat today?" and not what will we eat for breakfast? But still to hear it said and know it is true for even maybe some of these kids.
A couple of the older boys, have been "in trouble" a few times. When you look at the home situation you can't help but say that is a large part of the reason, but still.
As I arrived on Saturday I greeted each kid and said their names. I got more than half of them right.
As I looked at them, I felt an "ownership" of these kids.
I have been looking at their pictures, finding sponsors for them and talking about them for the last 3 months. And here I was to spend some time with them and talk to them.
And then my heart became burdened and heavy for them again.
After the kids left I asked one of the women that works in the ministry from the church, about a specific girl.
Last time we were there the mother told us she was HIV positive. So we were surprised to hear that she was not on any treatments yet or had been to the clinic.
I have asked about her a couple times over the past months to see if treatment began or how she was doing. But even from one city to the next in Zambia communication doesn't seem to flow very easily.
So I was face to face and able to ask about her.
Well evidently she is not positive but negative. The mother is positive and possibly made that up so she could get some extra funds or food channeled that way. ( I will say this is my theory anyway. Sadly she is not a good influence on her kids and the home)
But the reason this information came out I was told is because the girl was "defiled" last month. She was then taken to the hospital for testing and treatment of other STDS.
The wicked man was a neighbor who was not taken into custody but rather is currently on the run. She is 11 years old.
I asked if she has received any counseling from the church and was told no, but soon she should go to the hospital for some counseling.
My heart breaks.
I think this blow hit even harder because within the same week, last week as we delivered the things to the kids here locally we heard some sad news there as well.
One of the teenage girls was working for a man as house help. He was a friend of the family and it came out recently that for several months he was "taking advantage of her".
Now we just found out that she is 4 months pregnant. She is in her last year of high school and now she is pregnant. He was taken into police custody.
One great question then becomes, does she now have the disease? Will she get a test? Will she give this baby a chance at a healthy life by taking an HIV test to see if she can then gets Medicines to prevent the transmission if she does have it. Even I mentioned something about would she have access to prenatal vitamins. I was told yes they give them out at the clinics but there is a suspicion about them that they cause birth defects in children.
From what I have been told, It is so hard to ask people to get tested. They often will not and are offended and maybe even more so scared to find out. So my prayer for this one is that she will open up to us and we can help her.
You know you can read about Africa and HIV/AIDS and orphans and domestic abuse and sexual abuse and witchcraft, charms, demonic activity and the like. In fact I did before I came.
And your heart might even been pulled at and torn by reading those things. Mine was.
You can try to think of how hard that would be to see and encounter those things. I did.
But it is not something you can be prepared for. When it happens to those you now know and your heart is already going out to, and you are already trying to help...the burden becomes even greater.
When I was reading the life of Amy Carmichael, she wrote a book titled, "Things as they are". It was the honest telling of what really was going on in the work she was doing. Early on she sought to tell others of what was going on in her work, not just the good and prospering but the real life bad things too. Unfortunately the missionary society or board at that time only wanted her to report the "successes" and the good things. So many of her descriptions and stories were published at a later time because of it.
When I was talking to James Saturday night and not able to sleep because my heart was heavy for these kids, we remembered her title. And he said, that's what you need to write and people need to hear.
So these are the things as they really are.