Issues come, issues go and fortunately God sustains us. This week is a bit like we are back into the swing of life here and people have found us. There are so many needs amongst those we know and love as well as others who come seeking help. So many are not just after a hand out, they are prepared to work but what work. Sometimes it is like someone taps you on the shoulder and says help this one, your heart is moved and you know that this person really needs your help. Other times, it is like should we or not, how do we handle this problem.
This week we have had these sorts of situations happening daily. For example, a lady came and wanted some work. She came with three children who I would have thought were about 8,10 and 12 maximum and very thin. With some interpretation I was able to ascertain that it was two days since they had eaten. Being the astute one(?) I thought it better to give them food and then they could come back the next day to do the work, so I did that. They did return, first thing the next morning, first workers on site and were so happy to have eaten such lovely beans. They took turns to slash the grass and I found out that the children were all older and their growth presumably had been stunted by malnutrition. Their legs were so thin. They were able to get it done by lunchtime and we were happy that they could share the great food that our cook prepared for the workers, before being paid and leaving. Help given but for how long?
We are very determined that we do not want to be people that make people dependent on us or have a spirit of poverty that means that they will always be in poverty but how do you change things. Another lady came to register children and had been sent by a lady at YWAM who we trust. She has five children, her husband died when she was pregnant with the last one. She was seeking sponsored places at the school for two of the children. Thanks to the generosity of people we were able to do so and to see those children in their new uniform was fantastic! Sorry, unfortunately in teaching the bursar to use the little camera, she managed to delete the photos of them so I will need to take others. This family survives by being fed by the lady at YWAM and the generosity of others. Tonight she came seeking help in the form of foods they had not eaten since morning and the little one year old was crying for food, and of course had no understanding why there was none. Fortunately we have a big bag of posho and beans for the workers and so it is eaten into when people come like this. This lady is desperate for any work that we could give her.
The list goes on, and at times we have to say no. This is so hard. We know that technically we have the money to give but feel that "no" is the right thing to say (notably this is never no to some posho and beans), this too leaves one thinking, questioning, was that the right decision? What are the consequences? We try to be in the place where we can listen to the still small voice and know, we pray that we don't make mistakes, especially where lives are at risk. It is so much easier to say no to the can shaker raising money for a good cause outside the supermarket.
We are so thankful for people who are supporting the work here. The payment of school fees is such a huge concern for people and to be able to give assistance is such a significant thing. Life is so different without social security. You can want to work as much as you like but if there are no jobs what do you do?