Mzee Boazi extends a compassionate hand to sweet Wickliff. Boazi cares for his son’s 10 children. Boazi finds himself caring for toddlers again. Boazi is 78 years old.
To follow up with the PRID (Poverty Reduction Initiative and Development) and the current coffee project, today at the rooster’s call we left for Kimaluli to sit in on a PRID meeting. Kelly, Miriam from the CURE Hospital, John and his wife Gertrude and I piled into a mini-van taxi that John found for hire. When we arrived, we parked and moseyed down a path toward the coffee plants which had been started nearly one year ago.
Miriam displays a fresh pod of beans. These beans beat canned kidney beans anyday.
A short, pudgy and cute young boy appeared from around one of the bends in the path, and I heard Kelly shout his name in her excited voice. “Wycliffe!” He cautiously walked toward us with his grandmother, Alice, behind him. Wycliffe is the young boy that Kelly and John met last year, when he was dying from malnourishment and anemia. John hurried him to medical assistance, and he survived.
Wycliffe is four years old, and looks like he is two.
Wycliffe enjoys a ride on Colin’s shoulders.
He doesn’t speak much, but he loved the fact that I carried him all day. In fact, he clung to me, and this was among the few times I saw him smile.
Wycliffe is caught smiling and playing with pals during the PRID meeting.
We made our way to a church, where the PRID meetings are held, and where Mzee Dasan is the pastor. Kelly rolled out a soccer ball and the more than 50 children in attendance went nuts. The meeting began with everyone, including children, introducing themselves. John then explained to the orphaned children and village members that PRID was beginning a new and invigorated coffee project that would have long-term benefits to the community. HIV/AIDS is a problem here, and one of the main reasons that children are orphaned, and one of the concerns is how will children raise coffee without parents.
Alice is Wycliffe’s grandmother and sole caregiver. She tries her hardest to care for Wycliffe and his older brother, but aging bones and diminished energy levels seem to get in the way.
One of the mzees, Dasan, reassured boardmembers that PRID will not simply act as cash crop, but as a way for children to receive guidance. “If parents died from HIV the clan will not perish,” he said. “The father will die, the mother will die, but the children will inherit this land. We can be the guardians of these children.”
PRID: a community based organization!
It is completely obvious that the boardmembers of PRID have their soul invested in what they are doing. They have made a life’s effort to care and love for impoverished children. Mzee Boaz is raising 10 of his grandchildren orphaned by AIDS, so he can empathize with the plight of the villagers. Mzee Dasan also has taken responsibility for many of the village’s orphans.
Peter tells Miriam and Colin that his favorite school subject is English; his superb command of the English language, and his wide vocabulary make it obvious.
During the meeting, Peter, one of Kelly’s efforts last year, came in wearing a giant smile. Last year, Peter – who John said will someday be “king of the village” because of his incredible intelligence – missed months of school because of an infection on his leg that prevented him from movement.
Colin teaches Peter about the harmonica.
Kelly and John saw to it that his leg be healed and he received medical treatment. He now is the fourth in class rank for his amazing grades. Kelly gave him some gifts, including a harmonica, and he received them with grace and appreciation.
Wycliffe is introduced at the meeting as a potential PRID beneficiary and a dear friend of the visitors (Kelly, Colin, and Miriam).
It is children like Wycliffe and Peter who will benefit from PRID and the coffee projects. There are 10,000 coffee plant seedlings, ready to be planted to assist some needy families. PRID is investigating the purchase of land – for a headquarters and demonstration farm to plant coffee seedlings, before being given to needy families. Kelly and I hope to provide some assistance to PRID, which includes the land purchase of an acre; quality top soil; bicycles and additional coffee plants.
John Busoolo exhibits the premium potting soil destined for use in the coffee project.
We will do our best to help getting the project off the ground. “At PRID, we thought we had to do something,” John said during the meeting. “We are fighting poverty, but we are also helping these children’s minds – PRID fights by planning ahead.”
June 2nd, 2007