At the end of our teaching sessions, half of the group had the opportunity to do home visits, to discuss the lives of the women and their children that are living in the Acholi shanty towns. The rest of the team had some free play time with the children and will do home visits tomorrow. These are two of the stories we heard:
Rosie: Today I had the opportunity to meet a woman called Mary who lives in the Acholi shanty town. When I went into the building that she considered as her house, there was nothing but two mattresses on the floor and a wooden bench, with wet clothes draining from the roof and jerry cans that contained water. When talking to Mary, she explained to us how she doesn’t work and has little money for food and water to provide for her and her 6 children, because her husband had left her and her kids a long time ago. We discovered that Mary has 6 children, with 20yrs being the eldest and four being the youngest, but only one child, called Rose, has had the opportunity to go school.
As their home only had two mattresses, Mary and her 6 children had to share the two mattresses between them at night when they were going to sleep. The experience of meeting Mary was a real eye opener because even though she was miserable and not happy living in Acholi and doesn’t have any family or friends to help support her, she still had a smile and cared well for her children to the best of her ability, considering she had hardly any food or water.
Sydney: I had the opportunity to meet a woman called Grace and her five children. When I went to her shanty home in the village, she had two mattresses with mosquito nets with holes in them, jerry cans and pans hanging from the ceiling with a wooden, broken bench. It was extremely cramped and could just about fit us all in the room. Grace also has to walk several miles up a hill just to get water.
When talking with Grace, she explained that she works all day in the stone quarry doing back-breaking labour for less than a pound a day. She also said how she has a heart and lung disease from all the dust at the quarry with no money to pay for health care.
Her husband left her and refuses to support her children, she has no other family except for her elderly mother, but her eldest daughter has moved in with her to help care for the children whilst she is at work.
When asking about food, Grace explained that she often goes without any food and water or even light as candles and food are so expensive in the dry season. None of her children have the opportunity to go to school but her 7 year old daughter is in one of our teaching groups, meaning her daughter no longer cries watching other children leave for school. I did find it a very emotional conversation but refused to cry in front of Grace, as this is her life everyday.
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