HomeMissionTanzania 2011PostsWinston and Wilbroad

Winston and Wilbroad

Yesterday Winston and Wilbroad came for their usual English lesson. These two young men I have mentioned before. They are orphans and work as carpenters for the Tumaini Fund Group here in Murgwanza. They are both lovely guys with a huge heart for God and are so appreciative of the help I am giving them. They have made several items of furniture for our house including our guest bed which Jake currently occupies. They are the ones who brought us the kuku’s last week. Both boys are from Karagwa which is a few hours north of here. Recently they went home for a week or so and brought the kuku’s back on the bus with them as gifts for us. Incidentally they lived in our house last year for a short time while their accommodation was being sorted.

Winston went home because his brother’s young child aged 2 died from illness suddenly so he went home for the funeral. Funerals in Africa are a big deal and even though they are generally held the next day or the day of death (for obvious storage issues), everyone comes from far and wide to attend and show their respect to the family. While there is no death taxes or funeral home fees it is still costly for the family as they generally need to feed all these people that come to visit during this time of mourning.

Winston and Wilbroads English was very very poor when I first met them but slowly it is improving. They need much encouragement to practice and I need to resist speaking in Swahili to them and make them speak English to me. So yesterday after some written exercises I got them to tell me about their respective trips home and who they saw and what they did etc. We did go off on a few tangents but I did learn much about their families and the sorts of lives they have come from which are fairly typical for around here. I was sharing what they had told me with Rob last night and immediately he said ‘you should blog that’ so here it is.

Wilbroad is the youngest of 5 children, he has 4 older sisters who are all married and with children. Between the four girls they have 14 children, his sisters are aged from 24-28 and Wilbroad is 22. Of the 14 nieces and nephews they are aged 1-12 and only one of them who is aged 12 attends school. She is in Standard 2 which is about Year 2. None of his sisters completed any schooling higher than standard 4(4th Class) and Wilbroad only completed to Standard 7, which is the end of primary school. While I said they are both orphans Wilbroad does have a mother. In Africa, if one parent dies then they are considered orphans, especially if the parent died from AIDS as it is often likely the other parent will die too. Wilbroads father died when he was only 1 or 2 years old. I don’t know for sure that he died from AIDS but his mother is still alive and quite old so I guess she is well. His mother, he says, is a farmer but it is hard for her as she is getting old but without her work she would have no income. His sisters husbands are all farmers so only have small incomes from the crops they sell at market. When I asked why the other kids don’t go to school (as primary schooling is almost free) he replied because there is no money for pens and uniforms and shoes etc that the kids need for school. I asked Wilbroad if he likes Karagwe and he said no because there is no education so he is now working in Murgwanza and plans to finish his carpentry certificate and teach carpentry and sewing to other orphans so he can earn some money to help send his sisters kids to school.

Then there is Winston. Winston's English was much poorer to start but he is bolder at trying to speak so is doing well now. They both still speak better than they understand, probably because I still talk too fast. Unfortunately both of them (as is the African way) say they understand when they don’t or just nod and agree even when they have no idea what I am talking about. Yesterday they arrived just as we were playing a game of spoons (a card game). I explained to them how to play - they nodded and agreed. We started playing and pretty soon it was clear they had no idea. Anyway once they did catch on it was quite fun, especially watching Winston shuffle the cards – everything in Africa is different!! Anyway, Winston is a true orphan in that both his parents died when he was only young; he doesn’t remember when they died. He has an older brother and sister and a younger sister (who had a different mother at least, families here are funny, brothers and sisters as we know it have different meanings here, they may be your cousin or even just a family friend that has been taken in and is now your sibling.) Anyway, Winston is 19. His younger sister is Pendo (which means Love). She is sixteen and married and has one child already. As with Wilbroads family, none have had any schooling higher than Standard 6 and the girls mostly only to Standard 2 or 3. Winston, while working as a carpenter with Wilbroad, actually has no formal training - just ‘village training’ and on the job experience. Next year we plan to support him to begin his formal certificate in carpentry in Karagwe. Winston said he enjoyed being home in Karagwe with his family even though the occasion was a sad one.

As I said at the beginning, these boys stories are not unique but they have touched our lives and family and so I wanted to share it with you. Every Sunday after we have studied and shared tea and played with the boys they never leave without a time of singing and prayer. These boys have never asked us for anything and are so humble about their work. Their maturity in life and in Christ is beyond their years and whenever they leave I feel like I have been the one blessed.


Time Difference

Happiness adds and multiplies as we divide it with others.~

A. Nielen
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