However, I did want to report on events before Meisie's accident. A week ago today, after our usual late start, turned into a full afternoon of home visits to Nomsa’s granny clients around Soweto. Our task was to distribute donated school uniforms to seven grannies for the HIV+ children they care for, entering their homes and chatting with them for a bit. Meisie encouraged me to take photos of each granny and they seemed happy to have photos taken of them and their grandchild/grandchildren. The poverty and cleanliness of each grandmother varied quite a bit. The first granny we visited lives in a one-room tin shack; neat piles of children’s laundry covered a single bed, but the “kitchen” wall was cluttered and the space was dark and rather dismal. Margaret, the grandmother was warm towards us, though she was clearly unwell and almost emaciated. Meisie told me after we left that Margaret was “positive” but has taken no steps to deal with her illness until, maybe, recently. She told Meisie that she’s been tested, but refuses to come to support group. It’s difficult to understand the degree of denial that can squelch concerns about the children’s welfare. Who will look after her grandchildren after she dies of AIDS?
Almost every granny was doing laundry or ironing when we arrived! Nomsa gave each of them a rather hideous knitted ski hat and scarf—all donations. About three grannies were not home, but we were able to leave the uniforms either with the children or a neighbor. The uniforms are for the children who are HIV+. Donations of uniforms may make the difference in whether a child can attend school or not. Some of the kids also got shoes with their uniforms.