I was really excited about going to the Child Survival Program because I love babies and I wanted to learn more about how the CSP helps both the mothers and the babies. I knew it would be a day full of adorableness! When we got there, we were greeted by a line of mothers, babies, and also children from the attached center- BO591. Each mother was holding a little flag with one of our names on it in welcome.
The director of the CSP had a little program for us telling us more about the program and their vision and dreams for expanding the program to help more mothers and babies. They had a couple 2 year olds- Jerald and Ruth- sing songs that they had learned for us. Ruth had no problem doing that, but Jerald was shy until he saw that Ruth was singing. Cutest thing ever! After the program, the mothers had set up some stations to show us what they had learned and what their children had learned through being a part of the CSP. Some of the mothers gave us samples of bread that they had learned to make and they showed us some clothing they had sewn. Some of the little kids showed off how they had learned their shapes and colors. We also got to see one of the classrooms they have for the CSP. I’m sure that there was more to see and learn at the CSP, but I admit I was a bit distracted playing with some of the little ones!
After having lunch with the mothers, each family group went on a home visit with one of the mother’s and their child. My group went the home of 41 year old Elvira and 3 year old Raul. This was probably the most heartbreaking home visit I went on. Elvira has 8 children, 2 of which are married, and Raul is her youngest. She has to walk 2 hours, one way, to arrive at the project each week. Elvira works in construction as her husband is has diabetes and cannot work. The hardest part was hearing about the state of Elvira and her husband, Isaac’s marriage. It is pretty much in shambles. Elvira is afraid to sleep with her husband for fear of catching diabetes from him. Isaac spoke of leaving the family and finding a mining job in another city. Elvira is really the only one who takes care of the children. Isaac told us about how he goes to church, but Elvira will not go with him and such, and later Elvira whispered to us ladies that her husband is a liar. The CSP worker made it sound as if Isaac can be a violent man. It was horrifying to see. Only God can save this family and marriage.
We did get the chance to see the CSP worker in action as she taught Raul a story about Jesus and had him draw some pictures to work on his motor skills. She says that she goes to the home once a month (I think) and stays for about 2 hours. She says that she spends a very short time working with the child, and the rest of the time working with the mother on different areas of parenting and helping them with areas they need help in. We were able to make a fruit salad for the family before we left, which was good because it doesn’t sound like they ever have enough food for the family. You hear stories about this type of thing, but it doesn’t really sink in until you actually see it with your own eyes. Until you sit there in that dark, oppressive little house, and try to hold back tears as you see the hopelessness written all over the faces of people who just want to survive today.