Mochudi Resource Centre for the Blind

     The other day I had the opportunity to accompany KuKus, Potloko and Twila to Mochudi Resource Centre for the Blind.  My first impression was that it was a school for blind children.  When we arrived, my impression was smashed.  This centre is not a school for blind children.  It is a home for unwanted blind and disabled children.  Some children were blind, some were disabled, and some were both.  I sat in the cafeteria as the children got off the bus, went to their rooms to deposit their books and then returned to the cafeteria where they ate a meal of chicken, vegetables and mase.   It is common for this meal to be eaten without cutlery, just with the hand.  I watched children with a disability lead other children who were blind, into the cafeteria.  These kids supported each other as there were little staff and their parents literally didnt want them.  
    There was no hiding their disabilities.  I looked into their eyes and saw the making or what should be a usable eye but only a replica of an eye with colourless pupils could be found.  They felt their way around touching each other to see who it was they were sitting beside.  
    The ground outside was not flat.  Bumps in the driveway and stairs everywhere, the children helped each other around and kept themselves busy with one thing or another.  While Potloko was outside teaching the older students, I went and observed.  Potloko has worked with these kids for something like 7 years now.  The children respect her very much and sat and listened as each one shared what they did over the holidays.  There were roughly 15-20 kids in here group.  A younger boy came walking, on all fours, up the car ramp I was sitting on.  His knees looked sore and raw from the obvious falls he had taken in recent days.  No one to care for his wounds but the staff of the centre.
     Many of the children were not dumb, some could also speak some English in addition to their Setswana.  From the workers that I saw, two of them were disabled themselves.  One ladies left leg seemed shorter, painful and less respondent than the other as she favoured it and aided each step with her hand.  The other had a spine that was so over bent that it looked like she was pregnant.  Her spine pushed her stomach out so much that if it were straightened, she would certainly grown 4 inches.  Yet they both served with a smile.
    Not that I want to turn this around on myself but I walked away from there a more humble man.  How blessed am I to be loved by family and friends and to be fully capable of functioning "normally" in society.  This is not the first time I have encountered unwanted children.  Twila commented to a lady, at the airport, that her children were adorable.  She responded with: "Do you want one?  No take this one, he is better".  Also Corine has been working in the Day Care centre for 5 years now.  A woman whos children have gone through the Day Care just had another child.  She asked her children what she should name the new born girl.  They said Corine, after their favourite teacher.  Corine was kind of honoured by this until she visited the family to congratulate them and to see the baby.  It was then that the mother asked if Corine wanted the child.  The mother wanted Corine to adopt the child.  I guess this is not uncommon in Canada.  Social services, foster homes, group homes and etc. are never without children.  Although I recognize that many factors make up this reality.
    I have been realizing how we view other countries as so impoverished or even sometimes inherently evil yet we fail to recognize that what is prevalent in other countries is prevalent in our own.  Take for example the issue of AID's.  I know a man in Botswana that is funded for AID's research by Harvard University.  He told me that awareness is out there.  There is no excuse to continue the behaviour.  The people of Botswana are fully aware of the risks, causes and outcomes.  Yet they continue to such a degree that the government is considering setting a date for AID's treatment to cease.  If they set the date, everyone who is previously registered as needing treatment will continue to be treated but those who contract the disease after the date will be denied.  Yes, there are many faults with this but it is a hope to shock the people into action because the financial strain on the government by AID's treatment is more than can be sustained.
    Even the head of the leading group against AID's has 2 children out of wedlock.  They promote safe sex.  Does this not sound familiar to North America?  We do exactly the same.  We promote safe sex (a wishful hope), not keeping it in your pants until your married (a gaurantee).  Our people continue in promiscuity when they have all the information just like the people of Botswana.  People are people.  North America is no better than these people, we merely have the benefit of living off the benefits of the bountiful continent that our forefathers built.  Somehow, the presence of wealth makes the perversity of a situation SEEM less grotesque.