We return to the LCCU. I was here last year. "Mapuso" some of the kids say, "do you remember me?" Some of them I do. It is wonderful to come back. Seeing the same kids grown a year older. One shy but spunky girl who keeps taping me on the shoulder and I keep pretending not to see her. She has flourished so much. 8 years now, she seems grown. The little toddlers want to be held. and it comforts me to walk around, one giggling on each hip. I play with my big colorful scarf. Dropping it over me and the kids heads. A colorful tent it changes everything. Get a shy new girl to join in the game.
The Lesotho Child Counseling Unit counsels children from the community (in Mazenod) who have been sexually abused. Often they stay at the LCCU for a period of time while a new living situation is found for them: with extended family, on their own in child run households, or at orphanages.
The stories we hear about their abuse are shocking. There is such breakdown in community and family structure with the spread of HIV/AIDS. The things that these beautiful children have suffered, impossible to wrap my mind around. The rape of a 6 year old girl by her father, the spunky 8 year old by her grandfather. Girls who arrive at the LCCU and can't walk. I don't want to know why the toddlers are there.
The children who I know from last year are still there because they haven't found another home yet. The shy and spunky 8 year old girl, will finally get placed at SOS children's village because they have agreed to take her with only a police report and a letter from the chief - her extended family wont answer the letters to approve her placement in a children's home.
Yet there is laughter and smiles all around today.
And I am proud to be there shaping it.
The LCCU is an amazing supportive family. Two rondavel houses with a kitchen in between them. The woman who runs it - Lydia - is a mother for all of the kids. They are a great bunch.
I am so glad to be returning.
I am so glad to just be playing with the kids.
learning their names.
sitting with them.
I perform with a new found investment.
The kids from the community who are not staying at the LCCU leave.
We stay and cook dinner with the LCCU kids. Share food. I play my birimbao.
We drive off in the dusk.
ENTERTAINING BEFORE THE SHOW
OUR SAPPY "CAR SPONSORSHIP" PHOTO