It's hard to describe the day today - it was so packed seeing different things and so eye opening in so many ways. We began the day at the village health works clinic. We got there around 8:30- patients had been lined up since 5am waiting to be seen. We saw about 100 women mainly with children checking in with doctors, waiting to be seen. They were all beautifully dresed with babies on their backs. Dziwe, one of the doctors here, took us around and explained very care ally the symptoms to look for- in almost every case the main cause if illness was malnutrition. Despite their illnesses, every person managed a smile for our cameras and delighted in seeing the image on the digital camera. Many live without mirrors and especially the children laughed like crazy at the sight if themselves shown immediately. My dad, especially, was a jokster with the camera and had many children around him at every encounter.
I was able to give out pajamas to children which was so touching. They are really need here, and it was a rainy, cool day, and it was so nice to be able to cuddly up the tiny babies in warm pajamas. Hard to articulate hi touching the whole encounter was, but I hope the photos will illustrate. For all of you who gave pajamas, you have done a wonderful thing. I am more certain of that than ever now that I have seen things.
We then went to the local elementary school which was shocking. Dirt floors, no electricity and s classroom where the teacher had failed to show up. The students sat there obediently waiting. I handed ut the notes from Oliver and charlotte's schools, and you would not believe how moving it was to see the joy n these children's faces. They wrote notes back which I have been transating to share with the children here. They are so moving, and many children asked if they could continue writing to each other.
Perhaps the most shocking part of the day were the home visits we did, we went to see several families- with 7-9 children sand single mothers, living in abject poverty. Unfortunately the norm here. Huts with non electricity or water, dirt floors, and two rooms for these large families. In some casses no windows. Very sick children, and so difficult to see.
My words do not do any of this justice, but I hope the photos will. We head tomorrow to Bujumbura and then Wednesday morning back to Johannesburg on our way back to New York. More tomorrow...