I first met her in October 2015 at the start of my work to build a Christian primary school in a rural village outside the city of Gbarnga. Her father died when she was 14 and her family couldn't afford to pay school fees so she never received an education. Although she was illiterate, Sando was a sponge for learning new things.
Over the last couple of years, Sando became a trusted partner of mine from helping me navigate local markets and translating Kpelle (the local tribal language) to monitoring the new water supply and learning how to install PVC plumbing (see photo below).
Last year, her younger sister died during a simple operation leaving Sando to care for 3-year old Kou as a new daughter. In addition to these two children, Sando cared for her elderly mother who is paralyzed on one side of her body due to a stroke.
About 9 months ago Sando began experiencing non-descript symptoms that required hospitalization and blood transfusions. Tests in March revealed she had AIDS. Although antiretroviral drugs were provided free through the local hospital, she struggled and physicians continued with blood transfusions. In only 4 short months of her diagnosis, she died from complications associated with AIDS.
To help ensure the education of young Dusu and Kou, I am raising funds to pay their school fees and contribute to their continued care with another family in the village. Please consider supporting these orphaned children in memory of their mother, Sando.
Sando was a Christian woman who was very active in her church's choir. Here's a photo of her and some of her choir friends. Follow this YouTube link to see her singing with the choir: https://youtu.be/-VckuEPDjHE
For a more detailed story and tribute to Sando, please visit my blog at: gbarngamissionphase1.wordpress.com
- Anthony Gasbarro
- Julie Bodenheimer Miller
- Christina Scace
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