December 2. Joy Valley. Famined orphans.

After a good night’s sleep, we start right away, sensitizing in an orphanage called Joy Valley in a slum called Soweto after the South African province. What is the difference between a slum and the house I am living here, at walking distance from Soweto? Slums have semi-permanent buildings made of iron plates, no electricity, no water, no sewerage, in some cases like the infamous Kibera slum “flying toilets”. Where I live there is a toilet and one of the neighbours even has a tap so stocking up the water supply means only a 150m walk. And we have a tv so we can follow the news.

We walk to the orphanage, and I see real poverty there. The children have not eaten for two days, the dormitories are not plastered and I see a rat in one of the beds, the common room is not larger than a Western toolshed, they cook on woodfires since they can’t afford stoves or paraffine. The director guides me around the orphanage (see
http://charitytravel.blogspot.com/2009/12/joy-valley-orphanage.html)

From my donation they prepare chapati bread, which comes as a big surprise for the children. Of course I want to do something more sustainable than just feeding those kids on one occasion. And I hope that we can achieve just that with our sensitizing program and the publicity I can give them through my project.

When we are done telling the children about their rights, we invite them to watch a movie, which is a great success. 87 Children fit in the small community room, where I build up my pocket projector and start the movie Ice Age 3. The kids love it! A friend translates parts into Swahili and relates the action on the screen to the fundamental values we have told them about. I think we might have created a lasting memory for the kids. We have done so for ourselves, that much is true. Doing this is so rewarding!

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