June 27, 2013

BBL is lucky to have so many amazing people working there. The folks that make the center run: They work endless hours. Never seem to tire. Never fail to find a little more room in their hearts. BBL is just one of those special places where children have the opportunity to feel safe, even if it is for just a few hours a day. They work on Saturdays and Sundays, even though they aren’t paid for it. They are up early and they stay late. It’s an incredible bunch who I am proud to know.

There are four criteria for being registered with BBL: 1) a child who is HIV+ or has AIDS 2) have been physically and/or sexually abused 3) are orphans 4) have drug and/or alcohol addiction…most of the kids we work with meet all four. The BBL staff are responsible for providing these kids with the basic needs that they do not or cannot get from home. That may mean feeding them, bathing, clothing, etc. – basic care needs. For most of our kids, the two meals and a snack that they have at the center is all they will eat. The clothes they wear are what BBL gives them, which are typically the clothes the American students bring with them in extra duffel bags. They learn how to brush their hair and teeth, they learn to clean themselves, they are provided with the skills to live their lives on their own. Ultimately, the goal is to get the kids registered in schools and keep them there, after which they can enter society as productive members of their community where they are used to being shunned as “street children”.

The staff at BBL are what make all of this happen: Dunga, Charlotte, Onks, Trace, Janet, Nfo, Nchoro, Kefilwe, Fortune, the dedicated board members, former coordinators, and the invaluable volunteers who offer their time to the center on a daily basis is what has made BBL so successful over the years. I am forever grateful to these people who are acting on the legacy of my father, whether they realize it or not – they simply do this work because there are children suffering and they have the talent, skill, wherewithal, patience, fortitude, and heart to help ease their pain.

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