Today was a CiCA day.  We decided that we would set up “office” in the garden at Lunzuwa under the shade of the ornamental cherry tree. Bana Keela had made a bucket load of doughnuts, enough for everyone who would come and there were drinks in the fridge ready. People started arriving soon after 9:30am and the last of our visitors left around 4:00pm. 

There was so much hustle and bustle and lively chatter. Some of the children made themselves busy picking guavas from the tree, others played on the old climbing frame that we had cemented into the ground some 15 years ago that our boys used to play on. And one by one we sat with each family, each child, discovering all that was going on in their lives. 

These occasions are always bitter sweet. For most of our children today we had the privilege of congratulating them on their exam achievements, we spent time remarking and wondering at how much they have grown and how well they looked. All of our children come from very challenging situations and so it is great to see them doing so well. But we always have those who cause us ongoing concern and worry.  For some it feels like there is so much stacked against them – that life is such a battle. And sometimes we can feel like the battles are unwinnable. It is those situations that leave me emotionally drained at the end of the day – what do we do for the best? 

I am grateful that we are a family. That people feel they can come and not only share their practical needs but their emotional struggles and challenges too. The team take time to listen. I cried as I listened to the story from one young Mum facing very difficult and dangerous challenges at home. All the time praying under my breath that God would give us wisdom and grace in how to handle that situation well. 

We have children that are struggling with HIV. For some of our young people it is the challenge of the stigma attached to it, coming to terms with their status can be distressing and scary. We had one young lady today struggling with that. For some of our children it is the battle with HIV itself – some of our youngest children just struggle to thrive, those are particularly hard. The attack on the immune system causes all sorts of horrible ailments. 

One young man visited today, he has a continuous struggle with hydrocephalus – a situation that is affecting his speech, hearing and sadly now his eyesight. He came with pictures he has created out of seeds and rice (they are stunning by the way and we are selling them for himJ) It’s always a delight to see him, but it weighs heavy on my heart. 

Charles, one of our higher education students, arrived in his student nurse uniform. He looked so smart. Higher Education is beyond most young people’s ability to afford, so it’s always exciting when we are able to give someone the opportunity – we know that education is a step out of poverty. 

Some people travelled to pick up their reading glasses they had been told they would be receiving. That was fun as people tried on the different styles to see which suited them the best. 

The many doughnuts were passed around and drinks were shared, photographs were taken and hugs exchanged and slowly the garden office emptied of all its’ activity. 

That was my CiCA day, and tonight I will go to bed knowing that tomorrow’s agenda will be  entirely different…and I pray for those whose day will look exactly as it has always looked. I pray for change. 

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