Tuesday, 31 January 2012

First day in Hluvukhani, Bush Buck Ridge- 31 Jan- Rose Westwood

Hluvukhani is the group of villages which the Link 4 Life Project teams from Great Wyrley have visited in 2010 & 2011. We spent most of today walking alongside care workers as they made home visits to orphaned and vulnerable children in the Hluvukhani area. Andrew and I walked with Linah and Leonkie. We walked along sandy roads and narrow paths lined with hedges of unfamiliar shrubs. We walked into compounds with one or two tiny breeze block houses. Sometimes there was a crop of maize or a mango tree. The stories of the children were very concerning. K is a 16 year old orphan who lives with a mentally ill and sometimes violent grandmother and her three older brothers. There was music coming from a nearby “Shabeen” (stall) where people can buy alcohol. She is clearly at risk. Two families had four or five children and an unemployed mother. There was no father around any more. The parents were refugees from Mozambique with no ID and so access to education and health care is very difficult if not impossible. Each family depends on the kindness and generosity of neighbours for food and clothes. I was struck by the fact that the careworkers have large numbers of children on their lists who need visits. These children live in their own communities. They work every day for no pay and come home tired. What must it be like to go to bed knowing that so many of the orphaned and vulnerable children you care for are going to bed hungry? … And any food you share with them, you are taking off your own children.

I felt extremely helpless in the face of such need, but even the little that is being done is making a difference to the children.  We need to work out how we can best play our part in supporting those who are giving the care to these children. It is complicated, but we can do something.