Today was a mixed day… and for those that know me well, it will be no surprise to hear that I don’t always have the best delivery. [Ed: LOL]
We met the widows and children at the CWOSUP Niawara centre. I was surprised to see only 20 kids were members, but they put on a lovely display of singing, dancing and poems and as usual, they were all happy and smiling.
They meet every Saturday to play and have some food via the feeding program provided by CWOSUP. The widows also meet and are part of a micro finance scheme ran by CWOSUP, which basically funds loans as a reward for saving a little money. So the kids did their little display and we got to chat to the widows, we heard from the chief of the area who seems to be a very wise man and also very charitable, we met him at KOBAT yesterday and he came today in full regalia, which is quite similar to regimental army dress, very smart.
He has actually donated the land the buildings that this group use. We also heard from the chief of the group, another older gentleman. As standard, we were told what funding was needed. I was really surprised that the most important thing needed was uniforms?? This group just meets on a Saturday. Kids have to have them to go to school and it’s a cost that has to be covered by the carers and this is hard enough, but I can’t think that it is necessary for this group before other much (IMHO) more needed things. The reason given was that if something happens to the child on the way to the centre, then they will be easily identifiable. … in a lot of cases, not just here, there is a mentality that your organization must look successful on the outside for it to be deemed as successful and I
believe that this is the case… We listened to each of the widow’s talk about themselves and their circumstances. Almost all added at the end that “we need uniforms”.
I was asked to comment at the end.
I asked out of the 10 widows here, how many had rooves that leaked?
8 hands went up.
I asked, if CWOSUP received funds, would they rather it go to uniforms or to widow’s rooves?
A lot of chatter debate and nodding of heads followed.
The chief of the group was raising his voice at a few of the women; the women with solid rooves were arguing the uniform case still.
We suggested wrist bands for the kids, which seemed acceptable …but more raised voices. I asked to go and see some of the houses that were leaking and was told next week.
I asked why not now, most places we go to are very ready for us and I wanted to see how
it really was. So we found out who was near and arranged to go to the houses after playtime with the kids, which incidentally we’d already eaten into.
Alec had made a sharp exit at probably the raised voices point, I also decided I’d leave the widows chatting and being shouted at by the chief, and I’d go to play with the kids.
This was great fun.
Alec and I had bought a plastic baseball kit and a football (soccer ball for you Americans) Baseball was really funny, we ended up with 10 kids all just running around the posts having no idea where or when to stop, but they all had a bat and we laughed a lot. We had a penalty shoot out for lollies and then a game. We then ate with the children, we had rice and beans, then handed out some balloons.
Much fun was had, but I was feeling quite bad about causing such a debate with the widows. We went to see actually only 1 of the widows whose roof was leaking and it really was in a bad way. She had tried her best with carrier bags and bits of plastic and sticks to try and stop the leaks, but some areas were just falling apart. She has been saving bit by bit and has actually bought 3 iron sheets as she plans to build a new house when she can afford to. You can see she is really making an effort by herself planting vegetables and expanding her banana trees. Alec had a look around the place and has devised a plan
to do a quick cheap fix which will hopefully hold up for her until she can save enough to get her new home. We will be going there on the 14th, with tarpaulin and some other bits and pieces to see what we can do.
Hopefully some of the others will take a look and will be able to repeat what we do.
I know this is so small a thing to do in the big picture, especially if no one else tries it, but at least this widow and her children will be dry.