Recent Visitors to St. Camillus

February 6, 2014 in Get Involved

This January, TLC board Vice-President Andrew Lench’s parents Frances and Andy spent a month traveling Southern Africa and made their way across the Mountain Kingdom to meet with Sister Juliana and the St. Camillus Community. Unfortunately they just missed Linda by a day, however PCV Shawna Cain (of Mountains of Hope) helped facilitate their visit in Mohale’s Hoek.

Lenches and Sr. Juliana

The Lenches with Sr. Juliana in Mohale’s Hoek – January 2014

The Lenches generously offered to carry bags of supplies from Sea-Tac Airport to St. Camillus, and thanks to efforts by TLC Secretary Aylie Millar to collect clothing from friends and family, 6 large bags were successfully delivered to Sr. Juliana and the children. Andy and Frances also stopped on their way into town to stock up on as many bags of groceries as their pickup truck could hold, which included many nutritious fresh foods not readily available to the children.

Below is an excerpt of an e-mail Shawna wrote to Frances and me after my parents’ visit describing how helpful the groceries were:

A little neighbor boy and his sister spend most of their summer break outside my house, playing with my dog and me. They have a grandfather they live with, but he is a known alcoholic and they have no other family members to take care of them. That leaves the children, the boy 7 years and his sister 9, to take care of themselves. They’re usually barefoot and their clothes are often torn. As they have no water at home, they are also typically dirty. Sister Juliana has identified them as vulnerable children in our community and tries to help them with bags of food when she can. But the last time she donated papa (corn meal) to them we found out later the grandfather had traded it for beer, leaving the kids hungry again. This is a discouraging situation, because in some ways it seems even worse to have this negligent guardian than to have no guardian at all.

The day after you guys came, this little boy knocked on my door to tell me he was hungry. I have known these kids for a year and a half and while I know they are probably always hungry, they have never asked me for food. Maybe they don’t want to be inappropriate or maybe they know I am only a volunteer, and cannot afford to feed them. So, as he mustered up the courage to knock on my door and tell me he was hungry, I knew he was really desperate, and didn’t know what to do. As a foreign volunteer, I can’t give out food to kids, because as you can imagine once word got around it would create a vicious cycle that wouldn’t be good for anyone. But, on this day, I knew exactly what to do. I knew there were apples and bananas and beans and pilchards and peanut butter across the street at the St. Camillus Center. I walked him across the street and asked one of the girls to make him a plate. St. Camillus may not be able to help all the neighbor children every day, as their first priority is with the kids that live there, but because of your donations, they were able to reach even more hungry children. I can’t tell you how nice it was to know we could help him. That meant so much to both me and the little boy!

Andy and Frances, we are so grateful for your contributions to our cause. Thank you for including a stop at St. Camillus on your journey in Southern Africa!