Thursday, June 26, 2008

10 Year Old Caregiver - June 15

There are so many children that are raising themselves. It is very common that the mom and dad die, and the younger ones are raised by the older siblings. Then the older sibling has children of their own and they are being taken care of by the younger siblings. In many cases, the older sibling is working and the younger sibling is raising their children. So, you have an 11 year old taking care of a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a 1 year old. This 11 year old girl brought these little ones in to see me at one of the clinics. They all had scabies from poor hygiene. They also had infected sores from where they had been scratching. I can’t imagine my 10 ½ year old being capable of taking care of 3 little ones 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I’m sure that this little girl doesn’t get to go to school since she is the care giver for these little ones while their real mother works, or does nothing, whatever the case may be. She doesn’t have much choice in the matter, if she wants to eat; she has to take care of them. I’m sure that she needs to be tested for HIV herself, but she really has no caretaker to be responsible for her. I sent our counselor out to talk to this family about testing. I have not heard how it went yet. This is one of the many difficult situations that we deal with here in Swaziland, only God has the answers to them all!
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