Our DTS students spent 3 nights last week staying in Kabokweni (one of the communities we work in) with African families. Some child headed homes, some with grannies taking care of their grandchildren, some with families who are not only caring for their own children but also for other orphans. The purpose of this was to expose them to what life is like for these kids. To see how they live and truly experience it by actually living with them. Yesterday we debriefed with them and got feedback.
I was so blessed to hear their experiences. Hard. Good. Sad. Surprising. All of the above. For some it was hard to imagine that these kids didn’t have parents. To see 16 year olds with way too much responsibility. To sleep in one room with 5 other people. To trudge to the outside bathroom in the dark (most opted to hold it). To see such joy on faces even though life is extremely hard for them. To only make the equivalent of $200 a month and try to support not only your family but orphans who you have taken in. As a gogo (granny) working all day and even some nights gathering wood only to make $100 a month. It’s so hard for our American minds to understand this reality. The students experienced it for a few days but this is life for so many.
I asked the students to think of words to describe their experience and then to put images to those words. Then they were given a blank canvas and a paintbrush (I know I posted on how this would so frustrate me and I did it to them!) As a thank you gift for their families, they painted their experience. It was so cool to see how different everyone’s picture was, just like how different each of their experiences were.