Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will know that my father and stepmother have relocated to Livingstone, Zambia where they are creating a musical theatre program to employ local performers and generate revenue for the community [Webpage / Blog / RSS]. I am very pleased to note that they are now at the point of performing the show.
As a side project, they have also been raising money to help support the Linda West Basic School. This includes installing toilets, painting, drilling a new well, and opening a library. In addition, they have been raising donations to cover uniform and school fees for orphaned kids. What I like most about this is that they are actually there and they know these kids, plus the fact that 100% of the money goes directly to the intended recipient. Along those lines, I thought I’d share an email that my Dad sent to me a couple of days ago.
Warning: may bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face.
I’m so pleased to finally introduce you to the young students who are now enrolled in Linda West Basic School in Livingstone, thanks to your sponsorship. I’m meeting next week to select some older kids and will let you know about the other two you are helping as soon as I meet up with them.
In any event, yesterday, I met all the kids being sponsored at Linda West and we handed out new school uniforms and books, pens, etc. to each child. The girls each received two dresses and the boys each got two shirts, one pair of shorts, and one pair of pants. Next week we will outfit them with shoes.
[JS] is a real sweetheart and she was thrilled to get her new dress. Notice how she is holding it out in the picture. She was eager to ask how this was all possible and couldn’t believe that she would be returning to school. I think “friends in Canada” is something she did figure out but maybe didn’t even know she had any friends in Canada until now.
[JS] is 12 years old and in Grade 5. She is what is termed a “double orphan” because both her parents have died. She currently lives with her grandfather who has been unable to pay the school fees and uniform costs. She just kept coming to school anyway and eventually the teachers just let her sit in class. Still, it isn’t the same when you don’t dress the same as the others and know you might not be able to continue. She said she likes to sing and play games. When she grows up, she wants to be a teacher or a “business lady”.
[MK] never stopped smiling after he put on his new shorts and shirt. What a beautiful face he has. How can this 11 year old be so spirited after losing both his parents at such a young age? He lives with his grandmother in Linda Compound which is close to where we live so I will see if I can find out more about his living arrangement. Most of the buildings in Linda Compound are one room cement structure often housing several children and adults. That’s the Compound where I donated soccer balls and uniforms and now see about 100 kids playing on the field every weekend.
[MK]’s teachers said he was a “keener’ and loved to read when he was in school before. I’m sure he’ll like the new library we’re opening at the end this month at Linda West. He told me he likes gymnastics and wants to be a soldier or policeman when he grows up. I’ll have to see if his dad was a cop or something.
If you write to either of these kids Marilyn and I will deliver your correspondence. If you have any specific questions about either child just let us know and we’ll find out the answers.
Thanks again for your wonderful gift.
Love you. Miss you.
DAD & Marilyn
Love you and miss you too.