Tuesday, November 15, 2005

On the road to Nhlangano

We were on our way to Nhlangano today to meet with the Rural Health Motivators regarding children for the CarePoint we are starting there.

The drive down is breathtaking in places. So picturesque. Swaziland is an absolutely beautiful country. From a comfortable distance. From the passenger seat I could concentrate on the task at hand and didn't have to worry about the cows and goats wondering across the road.

The task. It was a surreal conversation about a task that struck me as totally absurd in the extreme. I can’t picture ever having this conversation in the USA. I can’t picture the reality of what we were really talking about.

We had a list of 270 orphaned and vulnerable children compiled by the RHM’s for their four areas that surround the location of this CarePoint. 270 OVC’s in a radius of 5 miles. Average age is 8. Of these, 62 are double orphans, 170 are single orphans, and 38 are vulnerable.

We were discussing how to whittle the list down to a “comfortable” 200-230 that the sponsoring group can accommodate. As I was paging through the list, and considering what we were trying to do, it struck me just how absurd, strange, surreal, tragic, ????? it was. We were literally talking about children locked in a struggle for their life. Its not just numbers we are dealing with. It is small children who are forced by the actions of their parents, their society, their customs, to have to struggle for everyday survival. How many know what it is to be tucked into bed at night or even going to bed at night without a real care?

I know I can’t help everyone. I know Teresa and I are limited in how much we can give of ourselves: emotionally, physically, materially. But it is heart rending to still have to make decisions based on numbers when you have to look at their faces.