This group of children represent two different families under the care of their grandmother. Both of the grandmother's daughters have died of AIDS (along with the fathers of the children). So the grandmother is raising all of her grandchildren on her own in basically two small reed huts.
It was mind-numbing to bear witness to this. I honestly had a hard time wrapping my arms around this emotionally or practically. I can't imagine how hard of a struggle it is for this woman having to raise 8 grandchildren by herself without any resources whatsoever.
I was able to observe Reencontro gathering all of their information so they could be put into the system so that help could be provided as soon as possible.
The trip to the Gaza Province was really grueling. The roads in the villages in Xai Xai were treacherous and at times almost impossible to travel on (especially given the non-stop rain.) My back was aching from all of the dirt road driving. I have never experience car sickness in my life but I was nauseous from the hours of this driving. The lodge that we stayed in was uncomfortable and impossible to sleep in. I was physically and emotionally drained.
I emailed a friend of mine this morning and described the trip. I said that I never wanted to go back to the Gaza province again. I did my work and would continue to provide whatever resources I could - now that I have been there I know what the enormous needs are.
But then I realized that the truth is: I can't NOT go back. I really feel that I need to continue to check in and help these children. It's like it's my responsibility now that is beyond anything I "want" to do. One can't stand in front of this poverty and suffering and not always remember and not feel a sense of duty. I did not enjoy the trip but that wasn't the point now, was it?