After settling into Windhoek, I reached out to the orphanage’s soccer team organizer to schedule a delivery of soccer balls. You may remember when I was in Zambia, two new friends, Ed and Matt, were distributing these balls in every city they visited on their trip through Africa.
Ed had raised funds from benefactors in London for the purchase of the balls, and he had brought over 100 balls to distribute to about 10 different orphanages. Earlier they had been in Windhoek, but had been unable to get the balls to the orphanage, and so left them at the hostel expecting to come back and see the kids. Their plan to come back to Namibia fell through when they decided to see the Africa Cup final match in Rwanda.
When they found out that I was planning on coming through Windhoek, they asked if I could deliver the balls to the orphanage. I was honored to have been asked.
I established contact with the soccer organizer, Peacemaker (and yes, that is his given name), and we agreed that I would come visit the orphanage on the next day. Peacemaker picked me up, and we made out way across town to the orphanage, which is located in a township that is pretty much a shantytown.
I was greeted by Greg and Sandra, two local people who have dedicated their lives to making sure the orphans get at least one good meal a day. While technically it’s a soup kitchen, they hope to expand the operation to become a refuge for kids to sleep instead of wandering the streets.
I pumped up the balls and handed out the 13 orbs to some of the kids, who were very excited to have something new to play with. Per a promise made to Ed so he could show his benefactors, I took a picture with the kids and their new balls.
They then assembled in the main room and sang me a few songs, mostly with a Christian theme.
The kids are orphans for two main reasons: either their parents have both died of disease, usually HIV, or the kids have been abandoned. It’s an awful situation for these innocents. They do, however, go to school, as mandated by the Namibian government.
It was then lunchtime, and the kids assembled around some large buckets and began washing their hands in the soapy water. I was privileged to help distribute meals to the kids. According to Peacemaker, up to 400 kids show up at the Home of Good Hope for a meal, which the day I was there consisted of a slice of bread with a small ladle of stew on top. The kids were very grateful to even have that.
As I handed the plates out to the kids ages 3 to 18 sitting on benches in the room of the soup kitchen, so many of them would look me in the eye and say, “Thank you”. They were precious.
After a couple of hours, I said goodbye to everyone, and Peacemaker and I stopped at a lodge that is run by battered women. These brave women are learning to make a living on their own and have received support from the Peace Corp in their efforts. Peacemaker and I drank a Coke overlooking a lake next to the lodge.
Peacemaker drove me back to my hostel afterwards. When I had a quiet moment to reflect on my day, I quietly sobbed thinking about those wonderful kids I met, many of whom had happy, carefree dispositions and outlooks while they have absolutely nothing but the shirt on their back. The experience really brought so much into focus for me, and I thank God for my many blessings, especially my wonderful parents.