Witnessing the harsh reality of poverty
Graham Knope is President of Eagle-Com Inc. He traveled to Malawi in March 2009 as part of an initiative to document and film Plan's work in the country.
When I first met him, Blessings didn’t want anything to do with me.
We arrived in his small village in the Mphomwa district of Northern Malawi with Plan USA early one morning in March and were introduced to Blessings (8), his sisters Chimwemwe (11) and Eva (3), and his brother Moses (6). We also met his grandmother who, at 71, was sick and going blind. The children moved in with their grandmother two years ago after their mother died and their father abandoned them. She struggles very hard each day to provide for the children.
In all my years as a fundraiser, traveling and filming children’s stories in developing countries, I have rarely met a family as desperately poor as this one. Their clothes were worn out and torn rags, their home was a mud brick structure 5’ deep by 8’ wide with a dirt floor which they all slept on. Their water source was a mud hole of murky parasite filled water and their food, when available, consisted solely of a maize mush.
Blessings, the oldest boy in the family, was not so sure that our arrival was a good thing. Maybe he was being protective of his family, maybe he had learned in his young life that he couldn’t trust or rely on anyone, or maybe he was just shy. I don’t know, but what I do know is that he didn’t want to get very close to any of us. Next >>
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