This is the real story of a little girl called Anna in Tanzania from SOS Children. Anna is not an Aids orphan, her tale is rather more familiar everywhere.
Anna never knew her mother who died in childbirth. She therefore lived in a Tanzanian village with only her father, who had occasional help from his brother's wife. Anna's father was an alcoholic who regularly consumed a local home brew, which was cheap and easily available. He would often spend evenings out drinking with his friends, returning home in a drunken stupor. As Anna grew from a baby into a little girl this was the only life she knew.
One night, during the infamous "el niño" rains of 1997, Anna's father joined his friends on a drinking spree. When at last he decided to leave, his friends beseeched him to stay with them, but the river he had to cross on his way home was swelling due to the heavy rain. To his credit, Anna's father told them that there was a child at home and that he had to return home. In his drunken state he did not realise the danger. Drunk and unsteady, Anna's father fell while crossing the river and was carried away by the water.
Anna, meanwhile, locked in the house, waited for him. She was about five or six years old. When he did not return she became distressed and cried intermittently – sounds heard by neighbours. However, thinking that the father was home, the neighbours did not respond to her cries. In fact Anna's neighbours did not respond for over a week, until the crying became too much for them to bear. At this point they broke into the house and found a filthy, starving and distressed little girl. Anna's father's body was later found further down the river.
Three years later, elders in her village sent Anna to the recently opened SOS Children's Village in Arusha. She was accepted into SOS Children's Village Arusha.
Today Anna lives with her SOS mother, brothers and sisters in a house in the village and attends the local school, together with others from the village. She is a fun loving, happy child and is doing fairly well in her studies. Having no date of birth (she does not appear to have been registered) the village designated her date of admittance, 2 June, as her official birthday. On that day Anna will celebrate with her family. SOS Children, meanwhile, will celebrate the fact that a child, once desolate and forgotten, now has hope for the future
Anna is a real little girl with this true story but we have changed her name just to protect her privacy.