A sad story

19-01-2012

One of our first tasks back in Kiwangala is to catch up with our widows who we left setting up their new businesses. We were to see one of the groups today, but as ever in Africa, whatever was supposed to be happening this afternoon, could and probably will, happen some other afternoon.

The reason for the change of plans was another burial. Kiwangala is not a large village yet barely a week passes without a death being reported. Yesterday there were two. Tragically, one was a young toddler just a few doors away from us. He had drunk some paraffin.

Paraffin is used commonly here for lamps and the child's mother had kept the bottle in the corner of the bedroom. Again, as is common, the bottle once contained fruit juice. Around here there is little else and any container will do. These houses have only two rooms, so there is nowhere to keep a child out of. People have no furniture, so there is nothing to keep dangerous liquids in or on.

It isn't only malaria and AIDS that kill these people. Everyday life takes its toll as well.