Today has been a very special day for us. We had a day off from Village of Hope work today.
About a month ago, a friend of ours here got into some trouble with the international organisation supporting the orphanage that he has been running for a number of years. There have been what appear to us some very big misunderstandings and unfortunately this friend has been treated badly, including a weekend of imprisonment and has had his vehicles impounded and is still required to report daily to the police station and to wait around there for as long as the police wish.
This has made it impossible for him to continue to provide food for the children in the orphanage, which is over an hours drive from the place where he, and us, live. No worries you might say, the international organisation that has been supporting his orphanage, and who collects sponsorship for a number of the children in that orphanage, would ensure that the children in that orphanage continue to be fed. WRONG! The only visits that have been made to the orphanage by people working for that international organisation have been to remove a number of goats, and to remove a pump and pipes attached to the bore to allow the crops to be watered.
In fact it is our understanding that the only food that has been taken to the 40 or so children in this orphanage over the last month, has been taken there by us, with some financial help from some friends at home. When we arrived today at about 12:30, we asked how long ago was their last meal. They replied that they had not eaten for one and a half days. Despite this, the children were incredibly patient, helped us to unload the food, and waited while Anne prepared Posho and Beans for the first time.
After lunch we were taken on a tour of the property by several of the older children. What they do have is a large crop of pineapples, as well as significant plantations of maize, cassava, matooke, sugar cane and coffee. None of these are ready for harvest yet though so they don’t help with the food shortage.
After the tour, some of the children performed a number of songs for us, welcoming us to their home and thanking us for what we had done. These kids are holding up amazingly well. They are a little bewildered, not knowing the situation exactly, and unsure as to why their food supply has become less reliable, but they have no bitterness in them and they continue to thank God for what He is doing for them. We felt very privileged to be in this place at this time and to be able to help in our small way. Times like this make it hard to think how we are going to fit back in to our 'western' life at the end of the year.
Clearly this is not a good situation, and we will continue to monitor what is happening there and do what we can to help. Please pray for our friend to be “released” and for him to have all of the things that belong to him and his orphanage returned to them, and for the children at the orphanage to be looked after.
Unloading the food from the car
As I said, today we had a day off. The comments in this post are purely mine, and have no connection to Hopebuilders or the Village of Hope who we are here working with. This is not because Hopebuilders have an issue with what we did today, but purely to say that this is a private concern of ours. I expect that individually we have the support of all of our friends involved with Hopebuilders for our actions today, but I can in no way implicate any of them in any way of supporting the suggestions that I have made about improper treatment of our friend.