Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sometimes it is difficult

Over the years I’ve learned to harden myself to the poverty in the villages we visit. Everyone is poor and everyone is in need, but occasionally we come across someone whose conditions are so wretched that it’s difficult to remain detached.

This woman is the sole support of her four grandchildren.  Her daughter abandoned the kids to run off somewhere with a man. She hasn’t heard from her and can’t understand why she did that. Three of the kids attend the Conchucos primary school. An older girl refuses to attend school and won’t leave the house. The woman says the girl is “rebellious”. She doesn’t know what to do about her.

The woman comes to the school every weekday for free government food that is supposed to be cooked at the school for the kid’s lunch. We were told the villagers ‘look the other way’ when she takes small amounts for home.

Her frame is too thin….her tattered and stained clothing hangs on her. She was obviously self-conscious about her appearance and yet judging by the way she sat erect and looked all of us in the eye when speaking there is still some strength of character remaining.

I didn’t ask the woman’s name because I don’t want to know it. I don’t know where she lives…it’s not in the village, and I don’t want to see whatever it is she and her wards call home. And yet I can’t help but imagine what it must look like.

Her three grandchildren registered in school will be receiving school supplies and t-shirts. That seems like a pathetic gesture given her circumstances, but there isn’t anything we can do to meaningfully improve her and the kid’s lives. I hate that.

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