Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Issues Affecting African Children #2- Namibian Babies and HIV/AIDS

This week, I came across an article about a Namibian project that attempted to stop the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child. Women were given a breast milk supplement to feed to their new babies, since breast milk is one of the most common ways for the disease to transfer to children. Out of 152 babies born to HIV positive mothers, only 8 tested positive for the disease at the end of 12 months.

We hear a great deal about children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS, and this is certainly a discussion for another post. Yet, more and more children are not only orphaned by the disease, they carry it as well. This project, which sadly has come to an end, may be a start to help reduce those numbers. Is it worth it to spend the money on formula so children are not infected, or is this even an avenue to pursue? Should more focus be given to Anti-Retroviral Treatments, research, or HIV/AIDS prevention? If you can, read the article and post your thoughts on these questions or the article in general.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Letters from Ghana-- The Orphans Speak

I have received a few letters, as I'm sure many of the volunteers have, over the last few years from the children at New Life International. I have transcribed a few below to show the children's personalities, and especially the love they hold for so many people.

"Dear my lovely Shally,

I am very happy to write you this letter. How are you? I hope you are fine by the grace of God almighty. Shally I am very happy you write us letter. Shally I pray for you every day. I am 12 years old and I am in class six. My favorite food is rice and chicken and my favorite colours are red, yellow, green, black, purple, and orange. My favorite game is ampa. My friend's names are Dora, Grace, Mary, Pernal, John, and Small Elizabeth. I was born on 3rd August 1996 that is my birth day. Please I want to write a song for you.

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

in the believers ear's. It soothes his sorrow

heals wounds and drives away his fear.

This is all I have for you. I love you very much.

Your Friend,

Elizabeth Mensah"

Elizabeth mends a hole in her school jumper.

"My Lovely Shalee,

I am very glad to write you this letter how are you I hope you are fine by the grace of God Almighty. I have miss you so much. I hope you are come back. Thank you very much for your letter it was very grateful. Did you have wonderful wedding on 7th May...I love you so much. Thank you for teach us song Christ Jesus Help Me! May God bless you and your family everything is going fine...God is your havenly father, he loves you and care about you to have faith in him and pray to him any time any where, he hope you will keep the coment [commandments] of Jesus Christ. He has given you the gift of the holy ghost. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Love love love from Belinda. Good lot of love. bye."

Belinda sneaks a snack of kube-- coconut.

These children have very little, but they have love unending-- especially for the Lord.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Issues # 1 Followup-- Chadian Children

I was hoping for a comment or two before I posted my thoughts, but maybe this will promote a few. :)

This is a difficult issue for many; I've read different reactions from different blogs over the last week or so. A lot of comments come around to the idea of international adoption. In and of itself, I think the situation with Zoe's Ark was completely unacceptable. I see the point that these children are in danger-- just this week, I read They Poured Fire on us From the Sky, a moving account by three of the Sudanese "Lost Boys" who survived genocide similar to that in Darfur right now. The stark reality of the situation portrayed in the book is beyond horrifying. No child, no human being, should have to endure such things-- indeed, I marveled at how many were able to. It made me realize more than ever that action must be taken, especially in regions like Darfur, Uganda, and the Congo where war is tearing lives apart. This action, however, must involve the people it affects. An army of UN soldiers can go in and help, sure. But things will not change unless the people themselves are given the opportunity and the power to change their own world.

For this reason, I cannot condone the actions of Zoe's Ark. To go in and effectually kidnap children-- many of them Chadian children with families-- to send them to a "better place" is not going to change anything. Of course, here my heart tears as I think of the children who are killed, and scarred, and maimed, and I can see how these French volunteers might have come by this idea. But snatching children from their families and shipping them in droves to a foreign country, language, and culture is never right! True change for the children and adults who remain will never take place with this approach.

That being said, let it be known that I am not opposed to legal, ethical adoption. I understand the qualms some people have about removing children from their home land; I lived in the homeland of some of these children, and came to love it. I hope most of the children there can grow to be functional, happy adults who can contribute to the betterment of their own society. They truly are the future of their land. However, I have a firm belief that children should be in a family if at all possible. Even in a place where extended family ties are strong, the enormity of the orphan crisis is overpowering many. If a few of these children can be given families, even outside their own nation, I believe it is a worthy cause.

So, there's a few thoughts for you. For even more thoughts, check out my buddy-by-blog's recent entries one and two. Anita's family was built by international adoption, and she has some interesting thoughts. If you care to add your two cents, please do-- but keep it kind, please!