14 August 2008 (Day 4)
The Angura family is a true child-headed home, meaning they have no other family members (aunts, uncles, or grandparents) to help with basic needs, such as clothing, food, shelter, education and transportation.
The 5 brothers have been getting by to the best of their ability. They are maintaining their health, trying to attend school, and farming their land for food. However, they suffered a great loss when their youngest brother James, who was six years old, passed away last year.
Their lives are so much different from anything I have ever known. Aside from the periodic visits to/from TASO counselors, their mental health goes largely unnoticed. They are together with each other, they smile and laugh like children should, but in the same breath they are dealing with extreme poverty, chronic malnutrition, and the traumatic loss of two parents and a sibling.
When the brothers led us to James’s grave, we could do nothing but bow our heads as we stood in silence. There in the middle of the garden, rests sweet little James. His brothers have lovingly carved his name into the stone and placed him alongside their mother and father.
After going to the villages, we were given a break and a chance to connect with some of the TASO clients back at the main office. While Joe spent the morning with Peter, I stayed with the female clients in the skill-building class for HIV+ women. There are about 15 women enrolled, most of them are in their 30’s, with children and have had very little education. TASO has created a program for these women in order to teach them a skill and empower them to start their own businesses – or at least sell what they make in the markets. The craft they are learning is raffia and sisal weaving. I may need some extra time skill-building, I was unable to make much more than semi-braided/deformed raffia stick.
Deena weaves a colorful raffia basket at TASO’s skill-building program.
Shamim stopped by to color, but found looking at pictures of Kelly more exciting.
Shamim happily looking at Kelly and Colin’s wedding album.
Christine Acan is the aunt and caregiver to 6 children, including Faith, who is 9 years old and the original participant in the Poultry Project. Christine is single and chose to remain unmarried in favor of raising her brother and sister’s children after they and their spouses passed away due to HIV/AIDS. With the lively Christine stepping up and taking over the poultry rearing, Faith and the other children are able to attend school and are improving. Ben is the eldest and is preparing to apply for college in November – he is also among the top students in his class of 400.
Joe, Ben, Emily, and peanuts.
From the original 4 female chickens and 1 male cock, they have acquired 5 goats and more than 20 chickens. Christine gave us a small bag of peanuts to show her appreciation.
Faith (left), Aunt Christine and brothers show off their new goats.
August 17th, 2008
14 August 2008 (Day 4)