We finished the house on Thursday.
A few months ago Zawadi could barely move. She was sleeping on the mud floor of her uncle’s house and missing school.
Thanks to the work of Sister Veronica’s team she is now receiving regular Anti Retro Viral drug treatment to keep her HIV under control and she is expected to lead a long life. She has a proper bed to sleep on, goes to school regularly and will move into her new home this weekend.
I’m here for another week and hope to be spending time in schools trying to get an understanding of the education system, but phase one of my adventure is almost at an end.
I hope that you have enjoyed these occasional missives and, if nothing more, that they have raised awareness of something most of us winners of the ‘Lottery of Life’ had no real understanding of.
For me the learnings are:
* The drugs do work – if we can get them to the right people at the right time.
* The cycle of HIV infection, especially from mothers to their unborn children, can be stoped with early testing and medication.
* Communities, even very poor ones, will help themselves if they are given a chance.
* There are no perfect solutions and all of them require a degree of compromise, trade off and risk taking.
* Even in the most dire of situations people can still find humour and the ability to smile.
So to return to my original ‘trepidations’ about this project:
1. Liberal minded ‘do gooders’ we might have been, but we made a difference, touched some lives and shattered a few stereotypes of our own and of the people we worked with.
2. Staggered by the poverty, we certainly were. Some of us had seen similar elsewhere but coupled with the devastating impact of HIV, especially on the young children, it seemed much harsher.
3. Inspired to find a way to do more – absolutely. I am meeting various people from the British High Commission later this week to explore some options and will update you on the outcome.
In the meantime, Sister Veronica tells me that $2,000 (£1,300) will provide enough materials to build another house for an orphan like Zawadi.
Now I know that I am not as funny as Lenny Henry and I hope I am not as rude as Bob Geldof, but you know what I need you to do now, and you can do it HERE
It’s anonymous so I won’t know if you did or if you didn’t, although Sister Veronica might be able to tap into ‘higher sources’ to find out!
If we get to the target I’ll release a video clip of a ‘ tired and emotional’ white man dressed as a Masai Warrior dancing with a nun that I found on my phone the morning after the end of build party. Now if that wont make you cough up – nothing will!
Many thanks to those of you that sent message of support.