lessons from the equator
Thursday, December 16, 2010
The second child we are focusing on helping this season is Lucy. I promise, I’m not being biased because of her great name ; )
Lucy lives, by far, the furthest from Ttega of all the kids who walk to school. When we escort the children home, she’s the only one who we don’t walk all the way. Annie has shown me how far Lucy walks to and from school everyday, and I would say it’s at least a few miles. Lucy is 4 or 5, and I’m glad that the sun always rises so early here, so that she isn’t walking to school in the dark. The first thing I noticed about Lucy, besides her name, is how sad she was to go home. She drops her head half-way while we walk her home, and the rest of the way once we let her go and she continues walking down the road. The teachers will call out to her trying to cheer her up but she doesn’t even look back at us, much less smile. It’s almost as if she’s upset with us for sending her home.
We don’t know as much about Lucy and her home life, except that her mother isn’t around and her father is a medicine man. Here in Uganda, step mothers are notorious for being cruel to their stepchildren, and fathers are known to more or less ‘choose’ their new wives over their own children. Maybe this is because it’s so rare for children to stay with only their father. If a couple separates, the children become the woman’s responsibility. So, one reason the children might be living with their father is if their mother died giving childbirth, or otherwise some time early on. We aren’t sure about Lucy’s mother, but she does have a stepmother and a father who seem to fit the norm for Uganda.
Lucy is happy at school. She and the other kids quarrel over who gets to hold my hand during the walk home, but eventually she learned that since she was the last child to leave us heading home, that she would always get a chance to hold my hand once the other kids had left. Cherryl will be heading out to buy Lucy’s family food (there’s kind of no way around providing for the parents too, otherwise a smaller amount of food given just for her might not make it to her own plate) and with the donations to my PayPal she is going to have something to cheer her up and keep her healthy during her tough months at home.
Thanks again, and a photo of Lucy is also coming soon!
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