Sadly, there are many orphaned children living in run-down rondavels with no parents or relatives to care for them. They scavenge for food. The bush is their bathroom. Termites eat away at their shelters. And, until recently, they have been shunned by their neighbors because their parents "died of AIDS," a badge of shame in a culture that does not understand.
Awareness of this situation has grown rapidly in recent years to such a degree that it has spawned a whole new acronym in the ZMP lexicon: CHH, Child-Headed Household. But things are changing. God is at work.
Albert, a teenaged orphan, had buried both parents and all his siblings, and had been living alone for several years. There were plenty of neighbors around, but Albert was living exactly as described above – ashamed and unworthy of attention – until HCOC showed up.
Suffice it to say that, because HCOC people thought Albert was worth caring for, neighbors began to see his worth. The village elder showed up and saw his worth. That lent still further credibility to the worth of this young man.
In literally a few short days, a pit had been dug for a new toilet, a new doorframe had been installed on his rondavel, the walls had been plastered with new cement inside and out, and a new thatched roof was in place. Two window frames had been installed for lighting and ventilation. And a new floor was in progress. Much of the labor was supplied by people of the village who worked right alongside HCOC workers, and right alongside Albert whose badge of shame had been replaced by a stamp of approval.
Things are changing. God is at work, changing the way people see others, opening new windows of the soul, bringing light where there is darkness. This is happening throughout the wards where HCOC is at work. Communities are getting involved and becoming a part of the solution.
And now Albert even has a job, helping out at the HCOC poultry project. For more on the poultry project, click here.