I am not posting this update to upset anyone; as many of you know I came here to see first hand what the Mawuvios Outreach Programme is all about. I came to learn, understand, experience, see, feel, taste, and live somewhat the life of the children, the teachers, Kwame and Renee. I am staying in Kissemah purposely to be part as much as I can of all that goes on.
Yesteday when I was helping pass out the lunch, I noticed that Matilda's right eye was swollen pretty bad. I immediately thought that Alice's pink eye was spreading. I was certainly going to check with Renee later. She knows the condition of every child, their history, family, medical, it is amazing. After the children ate their lunch and were on break, we went back to Cece's kitchen area to have our midday pineapple and drinks of water, water, water.
Matilda who is an orphan is Cece's special friend and comes to the kitchen area every to visit with her. While we were there I noticed that Matilda and Cece were having a serious, detailed conversation in Ewe. I imagined it was about her eye. Finally I asked and Cece said that when Matilda goes home, she has to sell vegetables around the village in the afternoon. The day before when she took her tray of vegetables to sell she got confused somehow (these are the details we will never know) and basically she sold the vegetables for 2 pesaws instead of 5. So when she got back to the place where she is staying and reported her sales, someone older in the house beat her. She took some kind of hit on the side of her face, close to the edge of her eye, and it was swollen bad. As it is custom in Ghana, stories are repeated, so Cece gave us the facts she knew 2 or three times, herself very upset about what she was being told.
I had to sit back on the bench, look up to the sky and ask for strength to not break down and cry right there infront of all. I got courage in my heart and went and sat next to Matilda and Cece, and said I also wanted to be Cece's friend, like Matilda. I took hold of Matilda's hand and told her that she has goodness in her heart that no one can take away from her, that every ime her heart beats the goodness is stronger and more and no one, no matter what happens in life can take the goodness in her heart from her. I pointed to my heart and repeated this again and slow so she could understand. I got tears in my eyes and Cece said... Mati... do you hear what madam is saying... so i repeated myself again and Cece said AMEN. I told her I would check on her today. I have not seen Matilda yet, I don't want to single her out or make her feel bad. We had another eye injury I was tending to, Sherriff got popped in the eye about 20 minutes ago during recess, boys playing rough.
I excused myself from the lunch area and went to my room and had a good cry for about 5 minutes. While I realize that children all over the world are mistreated and hurt, I am sure many in Atlanta, I had never seen the results of this up close and personal. And yes ...as they say in Ghana... IT PAINED MY HEART.
This is one of the many many reasons why the school Renee and Kwame are building will help so much. The children will board there, it is 50 miles outside of Accra, almost in a country like setting. Children wont have to go home and sell vegetables or carry goods at the market or take care of younger siblings or be idle. While they will have chores at the school, and after school activities, it will not be anything like what they experience today.
And not all children have the same experience as Matilda, at the same time Renee says this type of treatment of the children happens often. I prayed especially for Matilda last night, I prayed that God assign a special angel to her so she does not have to experience the cruelty she did a few days ago.