Sunday, December 13, 2009


Many of our kids, though they don’t still have parents living, do still have grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings remaining in the villages where they came from. Since most of their family members barely had the means to provide for themselves, they weren’t able to then provide for additional children the way they wanted to and thus how the COZ family has come about. These kids come from all over the Caprivi Region, the 3-hour stretch of Namibia’s northeastern panhandle (see Caprivi Tiddlybits). We try to take them for visiting as often as possible but are not able to often enough. And since they have little way of contacting their families ahead of time, it’s always hit or miss who will actually be around for them to see when they arrive.

On the most recent trip, we took 10 of the kids to the farthest part of the Caprivi. It was overall a very successful trip. They didn’t all find everyone they had anticipated, but also found some people they hadn’t expected and hadn’t seen in years. The most touching to me personally is when they get to reconnect with siblings. Some of them have siblings who were not placed in COZ care with them for various reasons. Some because they were the youngest, some because they were separated at the time, and still others because their extended family could take care of some of them while not others.

My favorite story of this last trip was with one of our older boys, Nico, who had been disconnected with his younger brother until just last year. His brother was now staying with his grandmother along the way to where we were going and he wanted to pick him up for the day and take him to visit the rest of his family farther out. When we got to the his grandmothers village he went in and asked, but, since he didn’t know that language very well, the grandmother thought he wanted to take him for good and of course said no. He sullenly walked back to the van reporting the sad news when one of our staff members realized the grandmother had probably misunderstood and went to go talk to her. He quickly got things cleared up and got permission. So we went back to wait while the 2 of them got ready to go. He had brought a bag of some of his old clothes he wanted to give his brother…but we didn’t realize that the make-over was why we were suddenly waiting so long. But finally they came out and the cuteness of it was worth it. Nico had replaced his brother’s dirty and torn school uniform with a baggy tshirt and shorts down to the knees, just the way he would wear them. They came out looking like twins and he walked around the rest of the day with his arm around his new-found little brother.

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