Life has its downs – and UPS!
Stephano Tebulo was already a teenager when his mother passed away 3 years ago, but his newborn baby sister was only 3 days old! Their small house just behind the Kogoya Hope Center kitchen was just big enough for him, his sister and his grandmother who moved in to take care of the baby. In the big picture, things were going along well enough, however. Stephano was reaping the rewards of working hard in school. Because of his good grades, he had been chosen to attend a boarding high school – one of the best in the area! But then the flooding rains of January, 2015, came and finished off his already fragile house. (It became the pile of rubble you see in the foreground of the family picture.) Despite the fact that his mother had nearly completed a new house for the family, the expensive task of constructing the roof had been left undone. With no resources to complete this project, he and his household were compelled to squeeze in with relatives nearby.
However, this story has a very happy ending! Thanks to the generous flood relief donations of many, as well as Kogoya Director Raymond’s vision to train interested children in bricklaying and carpentry, the two young men pictured and a few of their friends, were able to make the house habitable by finishing the interior walls and constructing a roof. Now the Tebulo family lives comfortably in the new home Mom planned for them!
Currently, it seems, the Lord has highlighted this family for us again. As Mercy, Kogoya’s Program Manager, observed baby Violet, now 2 years old and in our preschool, she noticed her hair had an orange-ish tint, a recognized indication of malnutrition. She prescribed a daily dose of “Power (vitamin infused) Peanut Butter” as we fondly call it, as well as the same nutritious lunch the rest of the children receive. This program will continue until we can see that Violet is healthy and there is once again food available in the villages – hopefully by harvest time in March or April. What a blessing to be able to support this little family once again!
Welcome to our Thuchila Hope Center “Newbies”!
As our Hope Center children age and move on to their adult lives, we are privileged to be able to recruit new children into our program. Nearly two years ago, we began offering newly recruited children to our Kogoya sponsors and at the end of last year, we interviewed over 100 kids for eligibility to join the crew at Thuchila.
Normal procedure says that the “newbies” must be sponsored before we invite them to the Hope Center. However, as in the aftermath of last year’s floods, there are so many struggling with hunger again this year, our Thuchila staff made the decision to bring in 10 children right away as they felt their health and wellbeing were in immediate danger.
Four of the children belong to a family, half of whom have been with us since Thuchila’s beginnings. Their mother, Gladys, has been taking care of a total of 7 children for the past 11 years – 4 of her own and 3 who were left in her care when her sister died birthing a set of twins. As a single mother at that time, Gladys was already overwhelmed with the care of her own children, but what could she do when her sister’s toddler and newborn twins were left alone? She did what so many Malawian women do and stopped breast feeding her own 1 year old son and began nursing the twins instead.
After struggling all these years to work her small farm and find piece work to feed all those mouths, last year Gladys decided to move into town and seek employment there, leaving the children to care for themselves. This is not uncommon in developing countries where so many adults die young and there are too many children for the grandparents and other relatives to care for. In this case, Gladys’ 17 year old daughter has been acting as the head of the household for all the children, but though her 3 cousins have been fed daily at the Center, she and her own siblings have been struggling to find enough food to eat even once a day. The money their mother brings them monthly is just not enough to go around. We are pleased that we can now include this entire family at the Miqlat lunch table!