We have found Shinyanga to be even better than we could have imagined. Travel was easy with the help of our new friends with House of Grace.
Our time here has been busy learning how House of Grace operates and the challenges that face people who are fighting leprosy. We have seen a totally new level of poverty here. In Bukoba the poverty we saw was sad, but here it seems hopeless. The people affected by leprosy are so stigmatized, and often disabled, that there is little hope of them bringing themselves out of poverty. Because of this, many people resort to begging, then their children, who never see anything else, also become beggars.
The primary goal of the program is to educate the children in these families. Because they do not have leprosy, there is no reason that the poverty cycle should continue. It costs about $96 dollars to pay for the uniform and school fees to send one child to primary school. House of Grace is currently sponsoring as many as they can, but there are many more waiting (I think it was estimated around 200 on the house of grace website).
Another goal is to educate about what leprosy actually is. It is very hard to transmit and there is a treatment when the disease is caught early enough. However, because of a lack of understanding many people go untreated until it is too late to reverse the effects.
The people here have been so welcoming to us that we have all agreed that we would like to continue working with House of Grace in the future.
Tomorrow we finish up with HOG and then we will leave for Mwanza (a slight change in the schedule to make travel a little more convenient). We will spend the night in Christmas Tree Hotel (same hotel as last time in Mwanza) and will depart early Sunday morning for Safari!
Until an Arusha update---