I'm not sure what came over me, but I found the last couple of weeks out here really difficult. The thing that bothered me the most was internal though, rather than a particular event. I'm 'back in the black' as far as positivity is related.
Hearing the children's stories out here is a pretty difficult exercise in itself. The stories of abuse and neglect are so much more severe and graphic out here than what you hear about day-to-day at home, that they soon become the 'norm.' What really brought it home to me was during a skype meeting with our supporters from Trent Vineyard, their faces showed the shock and disbelief at hearing the stories that have now, to me, become commonplace.
When I decided to come out here, I did so knowing that my role would be a supporting one. I saw the difficulties that Dr. Mary and Dr. Cat faced in dealing with the corruption and abuse on a day-to-day basis, and I felt that my presence out here would help lower their workload and hopefully give them opportunity to relax more and improve their wellbeing. I think the hardest thing I have to adjust to now is knowing that my initial reasons for coming out are moot. There are so many problems and battles to fight, that my presence here is probably more an excuse to do more. So now we're all getting tired and upset together.
As you can imagine, when you take into account my reasoning for coming out here - feeling upset and drained about the whole thing wasn't really in my remit - and as such for a time I felt like I was failing. However, it's great that the selflessness of Mary and Cat has allowed us all to have the children as our #1 priority. It's great to be able to spend days just slowly improving their situation, and positively affecting the community. When visitors come and see the children, not only does it put smiles on their faces, but acts as an example to the community about how much these children are worth.
We spent Saturday afternoon at a local slum community. Whilst Dr. Mary and Dr. Cat led the Medical Students in a medical clinic, I was able to go off with Sarah (and two of the students who weren't currently seeing a patient) and play with the kids. We sang some songs, in both English and ?????? , then played tig, football, hide and seek, and other playground games. Spending time with the children like this, (even when you know their stories,) is so valuable, as it shows that despite their trials and tribulation they are still innocent children - no different from those back home in school playgrounds all over the country.
These children deserve so much better than what they have, and in not doing enough to help them we deserve so much less. I've had such a privileged upbringing - based purely on the chance that I was born where I was - and though there's no use in feeling permanently guilty, I now feel like it's my duty to make people aware of the situation and help these kids in any way possible.
I know this post gets aggregated on the Ubuntu-UK list - which is a computer-orientated site - but the Ubuntu message is so valuable when dealing with social situations too. I'll reprint it for those not aware of Ubuntu - but thanks to the community for making me aware of it.