Dec 4th 2012 04/12/2012

I would have hoped to have begun by saying the aid trailer had arrived safely this evening, but this morning I had a call to say there was a problem with the brakes and the drivers had had to stop and call out the police and breakdown. It turned out to be a problem with the coupling (joining tractor unit to trailer, as our trailer is British but we use a French tractor unit this is complicated by needing adapters ). Anyway the long and short of it is that the trailer will not be repaired before tomorrow so Goodbye to our plans of unloading tomorrow lunchtime. But the main thing is no injury or hurt.

Hilary and I have been out with Nelu this morning and early afternoon. We have visited 9 different homes all in need and all benefitting in some way through Mustard Seed Jersey.

We began by going to a school (residential for 100 pupils, with over 300 attending as day pupils) all with learning difficulties ages between 15-22. The hope is that by the age of 22 or younger all the young people will have found employment. Although it is state run, the government does little other than pay the salaries, there are no resources that we can see there. We went to the kitchen and were appalled at what the young people eat. The lads sang to us which was quite tuneful and they had strong voices. Nelu translated and told us that the songs they sang were all about being an orphan or deserted. We gave them some computers which had arrived on the November aid consignment.

After that we went to 7 different needy families, some were very sad, even harrowing, and really only one was uplifting. To all we gave food sent over on the November trailer, including some from Ebenezer Church's harvest.

The worst were the ones where there was bereavement, especially one of our sponsored pensioners whose wife recently died, his son had died suddenly within the last 12 months and his remaining son was dying of lung cancer - I hope somehow our visit cheered them, but it was pretty terrible.

Another depressing visit was to a pensioner going blind and very distressed because she could not see to clean and tidy her house, so we stood on the doorstep and talked to her. That was a tough visit.

We saw small rooms housing up to 12 people for living and sleeping. One had a toilet and wash basin in the entrance hall, which we knew was an improvement on the communal shed but was pretty terrible by our standards. A number of the adults are on medical pensions for various long standing complaints, but the money is not enough to survive on.

All were grateful for the food we gave. The only cheering visit was to Maria who is always cheerful. From the rest we walked away feeling saddened and drained - very thankful for where we live but challenged and shocked at e poor conditions people live in through no fault of their own.



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