23 October, 2006

Orphanages In Africa

On the earlier Madonna post, bekah asks a very good question that deserves a good answer.
I honestly don't care whether Madonna "went around the rules" to "buy a child" or not, my problem is with the father making a huge deal out of this - if he didn't want someone to adopt his son, why in the hell was he living in an orphanage?

The child was in an orphanage for the same reason that many AIDS babies are in African orphanageseven though they have living family members.

Orphanages in Africa are not completely analagous to what we think of when we hear "orphanage". In America and Europe an orphanage is simply a place where parentless children are cared for while they await adoption. However in Africa, orphanages more typically serve the function of a day care, drop-in hospital and food centre.

In a culture where the father must work all the time if the mother dies or is very ill, sometimes the only alternative is to place the child in an orphanage. Parents do this, often reluctantly, just to ensure that their children are able to eat. It is far from atypical for a child to be in an orphanage while having quite a large network of extended family living in a nearby village.

I have no doubt that David's father truly believed that Madonna's intentions were exactly the same as what he's come to expect from the orphanage system in his country--someone to look after and feed his child while he's busy working. In short, he thought Madonna was wanting to be a type of nanny.


At 7:26 PM, October 23, 2006, Anonymous bekah said...

Well, now I can see how you think she's baby stealing.


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