Saturday, March 24, 2012
One of those GOOD Kabanana Days
Sometimes I go to Kabanana and it is a hard day. Emotionally exhausting, confusing and wondering where do we go from here.
Having to talk to guardians about serious life things. Having to listen to sad circumstances. Seeing homes in such a mess because of life consequences, or just such a physical mess. No toilets, rats infesting homes, seeing kids with sores from bed bugs. Talking through, arguing through the need to see a child put on life saving ARV's, only to be told NO again for the 10th time. Sometimes I come bearing bad news. --We are removing your kid from the program. Or another case, Your child has been lying and not attending church even though you send them out the door and expect that they are there and tears start flowing from the mother and children literally BEGGING for another chance. It can be alot of heavy stuff. But not always...
Today was one of those, GOOD Kabanana days. Mostly just a fun day.
This was the first time I saw all of them together since November.
I have been in Kabanana a few times already and have seen some of the kids. The first day I drove up to Fanny’s house and Morgan and Kelley were there and both had huge smiles on their face. Then when we went to one of the schools to pay for a field trip for the kids and saw them all on break time and that was fun to see them all too.
We started our meeting with them singing some of their favorite songs which thankfully I know most of them now. Though couldn’t translate them. Several of the ones we sing at Ibex hill and that maureen taught my kids when she worked at our home.
Then we passed out a snack for the kids. A mealie drink called super shake and then a roll and an apple. I had planned to get bananas but then saw the apples and knew those were more of a treat, since they cost more than bananas. They all seemed happy with that.
Then we introduced Peggy White, an older woman from a church in Mebane, North Carolina that is visiting for the weekend. As we introduced her it dawned on me that her last name is white and she is white and how that might be funny to the kids. (It was! ) She then taught a very animated lesson of the fall of man in Eden and the cross and Christ dying and being resurrected. The kids all listened very well and attentively. ( except for a couple that I had to sit between and get them to focus rather than playing with their super shake bottle). It was great though she so clearly presented the gospel to the children, and they were listening.
Kelley and Morgan talking with Peggy
Peggy had brought a craft for the kids so the boys colored ball caps and the girls made a beaded jewelry pin. They always enjoy making things, from the oldest to the youngest.
Francis and Emmanuel
Geofrey and Kaumba
It continues to surprise me how much these older kids like doing the crafts and "younger " kid things. These young men were carefully coloring the hats and then asking for specific colors...Does anyone have a "led" (red). Can I get a brown please???
I know they didn't get to color and do crafty things when they were younger so to see them now makes me sad sometimes when I think about it, but also makes me think well better late then never.
This one boy in particular, Geofrey is actually a man, he is 21 and still trying to finish up secondary school. We just started supporting him last year as he has been out of school trying to work and raise money to pay for school. He is a double orphan living with his sister. He has a couple more years before he can finish.
James and Frank
He was so embarrassed and hid his mouth with a sweater the whole time. He has developed some severe sores most likely in conjunction with the HIV. When all the kids got their snack he went over by himself to a window and sat facing the window looking out. I felt so bad for him but tried to put him at ease and went over to talk to him, just about school, his family etc.
We then passed out shoes that were donated by a group of children in a church in California. I explained to them how the children collected their money to send to them and thats why we needed to take pictures so I could send it back and they could see what their ‘change’ had bought. They have a program called change for change, its a pretty neat thing.
When Peggy had started speaking to the kids she said she had seen all their pictures and what a blessing it was to see them in person. That is something I have been so thankful for is the ability to connect people across the world with our kids here and what is going on in their lives!
They were excited with the shoes. We buy them school shoes but then they wear them out and wear them down when they are playing. So I gave the “speech” as any mother does, don’t use your good shoes for playing. We will see! ha.
Philip testing out his shoes, he was jumping up and down in them!
I then told them I had brought them back something from America and passed out new clothes. I hit a JCPenney sale right before we came back and found beautiful dresses for the young girls for $3 each . And t-shirts for the younger boys and button collared shirts for the older boys, also ranging from $2 - $4. I thought they probably have not had many NEW clothes before so I left the “tags” on though tore off the price. They were very happy.
Next we celebrated the kids birthdays from January, February and March.
We had the kids come to the front and we sang to them and surprised them with a birthday cake. That was a hit! Sarah Catherine made the cakes and they all commented on how delicious they were. They all came back for second helpings and Morgan even thirds. I must say it was good cake and even the other Americans who were with us Peggy White and Jacky Lewis agreeded.
We then closed the meeting with reminding them about attending school and meetings and church. Unfortunately we had an example in one of the kids, Barbara who is no longer part of the program. She failed her exams for the second year in a row and can not progress on to the next grade. The difficulty was that free tutoring was given to her and she several times was not serious about coming and did not put forth the effort that she needed, as well as trying to just get the answers from other kids work at school. Katryn had worked with her and given her many hours and she seemed not to care, knowing that this was her last chance. A few weeks ago I went with Maureen and Fanny to tell them. The mother was very understanding and saw that we had helped and done what we could, Katryn especially. Barbara was upset with us and when we saw her later that day she did not even wave to us. Hopefully the kids will heed the warning and example that they have seen.
The kids will be going on school break in April. It often means some of them don’t come to church, so I emphasized that a break from school is not a break from church. We don’t ever need to stop learning about God!
We left after singing the song, Takwaba. Which is the first song I learned in Bemba with the movements and all. We had to give it a try about 3 times because the kids were clapping so loudly and all over the place that Maureen stopped them to try again and again. Later I heard that she told them, because they had eaten so much cake and good food they should sing very well and clap very well. I guess they had to prove a point and were extra animated and silly so we could not even hear them singing.
I took new profile pictures of all the kids, so over the next few months we can be sending out updated profiles and reports on the kids to their sponsors.
I am thankful to be back here in Zambia, working with the kids in Kabanana. I enjoy the work and am glad to be a part of it.
It was a good day.