Thursday, February 7, 2013

Not the right kind of orphan? ... Rural vs Urban.

Those who know me well know that it is virtually impossible to offend me. You can call me names, talk bad about me behind my back or even to my face for that matter, and I will not be offended. It might hurt my heart but I will not hold a grudge. I'm like the proverbial duck's back when the water hits it. Its just how I've learnt to deal with life. But there is one thing that does offend me. One thing that makes me rise up and fight. One thing that I can not tolerate.
When someone diminishes, trivializes, makes light of the plight of the one's to which God has called me an anger stirs in the very core of who I am. Most of the time I manage to control this anger. Most of the time I bite my tongue and give it to God and ask Him to deal with it. But today I'm going to share. I'm going to be open, frank and to the point about this issue that I'm dealing with. I ask that you all hear my heart. I am not accusing, I'm not holding a grudge, I'm not pointing fingers. I'm just going to share my heart.

9 years ago Mart and I packed our 8 suit cases and moved to South Africa. Our heart was to minister to children and families who were infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. He bought us the 1000 Hills in KZN and we decided to call it home. We had a number of people, churches and family commit to help us in the venture. It was amazing to have the support of people, people loving us and praying for us and financially supporting us. With out them we would not have made it 9 years and counting in this place.
Over the years financial support has dwindled, like I stated in my post below. There have been various reasons for this. Some have simply not been able to afford to keep supporting, some have had other financial commitments come to light that have caused them to stop funding our work. Some were supporting the ministry some were supporting us as a family. Every time supporters have pulled out we have felt the impact in a profound way. Our funders have literally been a life line for us here in the work that we have been doing.  And we have been so thankful for each of them and the support that they have been to us and the ministry.

Although when someone pulls out of funding us it hurts, we totally understand and we know that God will pick up where they have had to move on. We are not offended because we know that God loves us and He wants His ministry to continue and He will provide.
The thing however that really hurts me and makes that anger rise up is when people use the excuse "you are not working with orphans any more so we can not fund you"

It makes me angry because it is not true. I DO work with orphans. Every trip to the Shelter, every time I walk Point Road praying for the street children, every time I rush a street child to hospital and sit by his hospital bed, every time I go scouring the streets for a young girl who went out to "work" and hasn't come been seen for 4 days. I am working with orphans. My street children are orphans of the most desperate kind. Just because they are not the wide eyed, innocent, distended bellied, fly covered children that we all love to sponsor and support, doesn't mean that they are not in desperate need.
People love to sponsor the rural African child. We NEVER had any problem finding sponsors and support for our little guys who live in the valley. Man I love those little ones. They are beautiful, innocent, in need of cuddles and I always want to bring at least 10 home with me every time we go to the valley.
 I mean look at these babies. Who wouldn't want to love them? I look at these girls and my heart melts. And I'm sure that as you are reading this a part of you wants to pick them up and love them and give them only good things. Each of these girls have lost their mothers. NO child show grow up with out the love of a mother, not one. BUT these girls have been taken in by their amazing Grandmothers. These Gogo's adore their grandbabies. Will do what it takes to care for them. To feed them. To educated them. These girls will not starve. They will never be alone. They will always have the support of the adults around them because that is how it works in the Rural communities. Extended family is strong and those little ones who loose their parents will be taken care of by those around them. It is amazing and we have learnt alot from spending time with these people in their communities.
I'm not saying that these families do not need help, they really really do. I'm just helping people to understand the difference between the Rural kiddies that we work with and the Urban children who I minister to.

What I am finding is that because we have had to put the Rural side of ministry on hold for a period, people now think that we are no longer working with orphans and children who are infected/affected by HIV/AIDS. This is not true.
I feel that the orphans that I am working with, loving on and ministering to are not the "right kind"of orphans for people to support. They are not cute. They are not cuddly. They will sooner pick your pocket than give you a hug. But they are orphans just the same. I have NEVER in my life known a group of people who are more in need of support.
These children are sharp edged, all bones, skin and shoulder blades. With glue crazed eyes and sore covered skin. They are dirty and hungry and unloved. They are forgotten and ignored. They are guilty of crime and drug addiction. They lie and they steal. They are infected with STD's and HIV/AIDS.  They do not trust and can not be trusted. But they are orphans all the same. They are DESPERATE to be loved but when that loves comes they can not give or receive it. They do not know what it is like to trust an adult.
The adults in their lives hurt them. They use them. Them rape them. They control them with drugs and money. The use them to deliver drugs to clients. They use them as sex slaves to make a great profit that the child never sees.
These children have no place to call home. They spend their nights hiding in darkened doorways, sleeping in abandoned lots under cars so that the police and other predators do not find them. They are the prey of the horrors that come out to play at night.
They get picked up by men who make them promises of a better life. They are held against their will and raped over and over. NO ONE is on their side. NO ONE supports them. NO ONE stands in the gap for them. Until God sends a willing heart to fight in their corner. Until someone answers the call and will sit by their bedside in hospital. Until someone will find out when their birthday is and bake them a cake and throw a spontaneous birthday party for them, the first and probably the last that they will ever have.
These children will never be the "right kind" of orphan for people to put on their fridges at home. Never be the "right kind" of orphan for Sunday schools to sponsor. But they are orphans all the same.
They deserve love. They deserve unconditional support. They deserve to be safe. They deserve a life where they do not have to sell their bodies for a couple of slices of bread. They deserve a life where they don't have to hide from the bad guys, where they have loving arms out stretched for them to run to when ever they are afraid. They deserve to have some one tell them that they are beautiful and amazing. They deserve to have some one tell them that they have a Father who they can trust, who loves them and who wants to be close to them. How this Father will not sell them to the highest bidder. How this Father will break the drug addictions. How this Father wants only good things for them.

MY orphans deserve ALL of this. In fact MY orphans deserve even more than this. These are MY kind of orphans. And I will do what it takes to stand up for them, to speak for them and to help them. Even if I do not have the support from others I KNOW that I have the support of my Father, their Father. And our Father owns the cattle on a Thousand Hills. And even though MY orphans might not live in the Thousand Hills, they are orphans all the same. And they deserve better. Thats all.


lindsey said...

I love you xx

Danae Hudson said...

I'm starting to run into this...there are people who believe that the people I'm going to love don't deserve their homes or their places, that all the think about is killing, and that they want to destroy Israel and, from everything I've heard, all of this is far from the truth (for most of them). What you're doing is so important and we still feel bad that we had to pull out due to money. God is doing great things with you :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post.

This has educated me about something that I didn't know much about where as I have grown up with images of the Rural orphans.

I think this must be an issue of educating people and raising awareness which is what your doing, and your right to feel anger and is great reading such a passion filled post.

Thank you for explaining this and I just hope you carry on educating people and using this raw passion and God has given you.

Kave Bulambo said...

Hey Vash, great blog! Come to think of it I don't or have never looked at street children as Orphans, I think because society and media has really fed us that there is a difference and *StreetKids* are really where they are because they want to be there!I believe that if a cause is right the means will come, even though it takes time.

Vashti said...

Kave I know. Most people feel like this, but its 100% untrue. These children are victims, life on the streets is not a choice.