DAYS 17 & 18
Our last 2 days and my how the time has flown! Yesterday was the day we all dread: tying up all the accounts and final admin. It’s all very boring but very necessary stuff so the day was spent in Chipata buried in reports or receipts. It was most definitely ice cream and double quinine day!! Big discovery though: even here in Chipata you CAN get pizza delivered – filed for future reference!
Today has been our final day out in the bush trying to catch up with all the children we missed at school and if we haven’t been able to find them at home, we’ve found them walking home along the road. Thank You Lord!
So it’s either been joyous meetings, more ‘you’re on your final warning’ meetings or ‘you must be pulling my leg’ meetings! The reasons given for changes in circumstance/location/why children have not been at school etc are wonderfully inventive, however, Stephen knows the families way too well for much to slip past him. Producing the children’s school reports tended to cut a few conversations short! However, on the whole these little families can only be admired for their resilience and perserverance.
Kesias, another of our HIV orphans, had walked the 20 Km to Gonda Barracks to get his medicine accompanied by his stick-thin elderly granny. He has not been well so between them they couldn’t manage the return journey in one day and had had to ask for somewhere to sleep along the way yesterday. How happy we were to find them on the road home (granny with a very heavy bag on her head) and give them a lift.
Two of our most cheeky little chappies are also looked after by a stick-thin granny. From an early age grannies have had to carry water (I can’t pick up the buckets they carry never mind trying to put it on my head!), pound maize, work in the field and look after the children all in the knowledge that those children will then care for them. When those children die they then find themselves in the position of having to care for their grandchildren, thus, for them, the hard work has never lessened. God bless the grannies!
And just a word of warning if you ever want to pick up one of those beautiful babies – to them, if you have white skin, you are nothing less than totally scary! Sorry little Ali-nes – hope you’ve stopped crying now!
As ever, we are always sorry to have to say good-bye but John will be back in November and I will be back in a couple of years by which time – God willing – the land we walked with Mr and Mrs Kunga this morning will be covered with more cultivated fields and an extended nursery school.
Hopefully the trip home will be less exciting than the one out here!