Prince Kampomo transported me to a village (don't remember the name) south of Blantyre where he has planted a church. We were warmly welcomed to the village by a series of songs. We were then ushered by the women and children of the village into a clearing underneath a large tree. After some formalities by the village elders and the revered village chief, Prince organized a session with the orphan children from the village.
Prince asked the orphans to sit down underneath a tree nearby. Unfortunately, the children misunderstood the instructions. All the children plopped down under the tree. Prince finally split the large group into orphans (one or both parents have died) and non-orphans. We stayed to speak to the orphans (see picture).
Prince introduced us and told the children that we wanted to learn about what it is like to be an orphan in this village. He selected children one by one to interview them. He asked a series of questions to each child. He asked if they went to school and if yes, what year of studies. Many orphans do not attend school because their family does not support them or they cannot afford the school uniform.
He asked the children what are the difficulties of being an orphan. The answers were the same from every child. Lack of food and clothing were the #1 and #2 struggle by each child. The responses did not vary based on age or gender. It did not appear that the kids were prompted or told to answer in such a way. It was a bit overwhelming to hear each child provide their responses.
My conclusion from the event was that these children experience real suffering. While they are surrounded by extended family and community, they still likely struggle to get their needs met each and every day. This event served to further draw my commitment to make a difference in the lives of these children.