So, last week I continued on my journey to look for other orphanages. First of all because we think we are going to have to look for a different orphanage to adopt from, but also because we want to find ways to help orphans here in the Bukavu area. There aren't any other "registered" orphanages in the city of Bukavu, or closer than 3 hours out. We have heard of two others at this point. One on an island on lake Kivu, and one three hours outside of the city. We are working on looking at these two. Meanwhile, I went with Sue last week to visit some programs that did orphan care here in the city. We followed a random lead I had (from searching on-line). It led us to the local nazarene church. The pastor of this church took us for a trip last tuesday where we visited their center and then to another center that was in the city. I will share about this second center.
It was started in 2004-05 by a congolese woman who wanted to help all the displaced people, specifically orphans, after the war. She started an association to do so. Right now she has 3600 members who all pay dues (less than 50 cents a month) to contribute to 6 centers in and around Bukavu. There are probably 400 orphans who participate. Every tuesday and friday the children come to the center and get a meal of porridge. They are also given some type of schooling, since most do not go to school. They live with families, some are relatives, some are association members who take them in. One center has 3 teachers who volunteer to teach 105 kids 6 days a week. They are not paid (like most teachers here!). We first visited the center in Bukavu, which is on the property of Mama Dorcas (the woman who started this association). Wow! Compared to the Katana orphanage where Moses lives, these kids really have nothing. Some walk 2 hours to get to this place 2 times a week. There they get one meal of porridge and some schooling. They meet in the small mud church building. Her house, which is a really poor simple dwelling, is next to the church. They have taken in 4 orphans, so 13 people live in their house. We noticed a boy of about 4 years old with an obvious cataract in one eye. Here is his story.
One day this woman and her sister were walking and saw a sack moving in the ditch. It was raining. They figured it was cats. They needed a cat so they picked it up. It was this little boy. The umbilical cord and placenta where still attached. Somehow he was still alive. The sister took him in. We wonder if his vision can be saved.
Now we are praying about how to help. How do we give in the best way to really help these kids? I like that they have done all of this on their own. They have no outside help. In fact, we were the first mzungu (white people, foreigners) visitors. The need is great here. At this point we are thinking of perhaps purchasing some sewing machines because they want to start a sewing project with the older orphans and buying a huge bale of clothes (these are sold here, they are used clothes from all over the world vacuum packed into HUGE bales!!). We are praying.