Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wordful Wednesday

Esmé's Mommy here.

Today's posts are long. I won't apologize for that.

I promised the story behind the story today - it was supposed to be a story of an AIDS orphan center that we visited last Friday. I'll get there.

But first I have to share yesterday's story.

Last year we loaned $40 to a Maranatha worker who needed to pay for his little one's coffin. Yesterday my husband found out this same worker had a baby who was dying. Determined to do something, he took the baby to Sommerschield Clinic, one of the best medical facilities in Maputo.

The baby is 14 months old, but only weighs 13 pounds. Developmentally normal, just small and sickly. He started out healthy, but at about 3 months of age his growth slowed down. Lately he has been throwing up whatever he manages to eat.

Diagnosis? Probably HIV/AIDS. We're running a test to confirm, but because of the baby's age, it has to be done in South Africa. His mother is HIV positive, so the doctor's suspicion is that he was born HIV negative, but contracted HIV during the first two months when he was breastfeeding.

If that's the case, this sweet baby boy is dying. Because of his age, we're told the available AIDS medications are of no use to him. We're crying here. The statistics are no longer just statistics.

Backtrack to Friday. In late August, Maranatha was approached by a Mozambican gentleman, Mr. Macamo, about drilling a well for his organization, AACOSIDA (the direct translation is "Association of Friends of Children Orphaned by AIDS," or something like that). That well has now been drilled at their orphan center, and on Friday several of us went there to deliver used clothing for the children there. You can see many of the photos from this trip in our Wordless Wednesday post, and it also inspired Monday's story.

Mr. Macamo and his wife decided to foster some children from their church who had been orphaned by AIDS. Many church members pitched in to help. This got the couple thinking. There are so many others who could use help, and the government and expat charities can't do it all. How about organizing local villagers and getting local businesses to donate to assisting these orphans?

The organization now has 50 volunteer members. They've acquired 10 hectares of land - 9 being used for growing maize, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and cabbages for distribution. And they've built a center on the remaining hectare, which is still very much unfinished but already in use as a distribution and feeding center.

Their statistics indicate that they are helping 2,059 orphans. Most live with older brothers and sisters, cousins or extended relatives, and 624 have been placed with "substitute" families. These families are providing housing and care, but most are unable to provide much in the way of food and other material goods.

Mr. Macamo has not asked us for money. As he puts it, "Money just complicates things." At one stage the organization attempted to assist the families fostering the orphans with cash, but quickly realized that the cash wasn't always used as intended. But he does approach organizations and people to help with goods.

When we arrived on Friday during school hours, there were over 60 children getting lunch. A few of them were obviously sick and not feeling well, but for the most part they looked healthy and well-fed.

Here are a couple of photos of Esmé making friends and teaching them how to high-five!

24 comments:

Pregnantly Plump said...

That sounds like such a great organization. It's wonderful that they are able to help so many.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

It's so overwhelming to read these posts. I'm glad someone is helping.

SarahHub said...

I am praying for these kids, and for all of you who are there to help them.

ispeakbeanish said...

I love that he has organized others to help. What a sense of accomplishment they must feel knowing the lives that are being touched. I think God smiles when He sees things like this.

Debra said...

Esme,

I love that you gave them a high five and a smile. :)

I have read your posts and have been moved beyond coherent words at what and how to make things better...and I see the love of a child has accomplished so much!

I will be praying for you and for your community sweet one.

Damselfly said...

Your blog is mending hearts where you live, but breaking hearts here.

Robin said...

So heartbreaking. We in the west take so very much for granted.

La Donna Welter said...

Sending love and prayers.

Weeksie50 said...

Prays are being said..

mommaof4wife2r said...

i am just so overtaken with anger in some ways about how little is being done to help those poor kids and families with HIV and AIDS. i love that there are peeps there taking kiddos in and i htink mr. m might be right that sometimes money complicates things...

dani said...

j, esme is going to have such a big heart and loving perspective as she grows because she will have been so blessed with such a GOD mission-minded family!!!
love and prayers,
dani

katemcdonald said...

I always leave your blog feeling inspired...thanks for sharing with those of us who only watch the world from the news on our TV. May God richly bless the work you are doing and give you even a wider scope to share your stories !

Sarah said...

Sometimes I forget how very blessed I am.

Praying for these people...

angie said...

I'm not sure how I feel. So sad that so many children are orphans, battling with AIDS/HIV or so glad that organizations are around that help them, and that amazing people administer to them.....thank you for sharing this with us.

Sandra said...

Oh this is heartbreaking, truly heartbreaking. :(

Jennifer said...

Someday I want to take my children to a place where they can see and not just believe that they are blessed beyond belief...

and that "blessings" come in different forms...

and that the Church is bigger than we know and looks different than we may think.

This year we have "adopted" 2 girls in 2 orphanages - one in India, one in Uganda - and I see their pictures daily, wondering what they are doing and if they are hungry. God bless all these little ones and their caretakers - sick siblings, and grieving parents. We're not so different, are we?

Kori said...

That last photos of the black and white hands clasping made tears well up-rarely have I seen something more beautiful or poignant.

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

wow - amazing!

Summer said...

How can you stand in living in a place with so much heart break? How much I wish I could do, how little I have to offer.

avtcoach said...

Although I want to smile at the work you are doing, it is also with a heavy heart that there is the need at all. We don't have any idea here in the US just what is occuring there. Thank you for this post to keep us aware.

ZJ said...

I think this is a good effort - that someone from the community itself initiates the activities and mobilising the community to address the problem themselves, of course, with the help of others who have resources. That's community participation!! It's one thing that we are encouraging here in Cambodia, for communities to help themselves.

Retiredandcrazy said...

It's a different world! Here we worry about the credit crunch! You bought it all into perspective.

perilloparodies said...

i am sending you an email...

perilloparodies said...

You have been linked at... http://perilloparodies.blogspot.com/2008/10/i-have-no-words-shocking-isnt-it.html