GBIM board member Miriam Pacheco is currently in the Central African Republic on a six-week trip to assist GBIM missionary Barb Wooler with her orphan and Pygmy ministries. Here are some excerpts from yesterday’s e-mail report from Miriam:
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15TH
Yesterday we spent relaxing some to get rid of the jet lag, and started to get some things sorted and packed for the trip into the forest. We were hoping to leave on Wednesday, but there is a conference that lasts until Friday and the Pygmy pastors are there, so we’ll wait until Thursday to go to the conference, stay the night and then take them home on Friday. We have a saying here ~ TIA, (This Is Africa) ~ and it’s loaded with meaning about how no matter what good plans you have made, they will always change. So our first stint in the forest will not be a total of two weeks, more likely 11 days, but then sometime in March we may go back and spend several more days there.
The orphan care team met today and I got to sit in on their meeting and delicious supper. They are a good group of ladies and they care a lot for the boys & girls who have been left alone after their parents’ deaths. Most of those deaths have been because of HIV/AIDS. There are millions of orphans in the continent of Africa and almost 200,000 in CAR ~ today that is. By tomorrow that number will definitely be higher! The problem is horrendous.
During March we will be visiting the orphan groups in various neighborhoods and going into additional neighborhoods to help them start groups. These groups are a support group for the children and also a help to their caregivers. The African way is for an extended family member to take them in, but the sheer numbers are so overwhelming that they are finding it very difficult to provide for so many family members.