Uniikalishe! (Sit me up.) Unikamate! (Hold me.)
Unilalishe kwa tumbo! (Put me on my tummy.)
Cheza na mie. (Play with me.)
Asante kwa kunichunga! (Thank you for taking care of me.)
I have some nice photos for each word of encouragement and reminder. Like this one.
Kitanda ni kwa ku lala! Kama minalamuka, unikamate. (Cribs are for sleeping. If I'm awake, hold me.)
I find it so hard to look at this photo. This is Gloire. He just started walking. I remember when I took this photo. He just looked at me through the rails of his bed. He didn't cry. He didn't try to climb out. He just looked, laying on his belly. He knew no one would come.
Kids shouldn't live in orphanages! They should live with families, in homes. Even the "best" orphanage is not a place for children. A home is the place for children.
It's hard not to feel angry about the injustice that brings children to orphanages around the world. Here, in Kaziba, it is mostly because women die giving birth. In alarmingly high rates! Can you imagine giving birth to your long awaited baby and then dying giving birth to that baby (or babies)? From a preventable cause!? Do you know what women die from during birth? They bleed to death most often. Or it is a first birth and they are having twins and they try to give birth alone in remote areas. Or, they have preeclampsia. Or they have complications because it is their 10th child. They would not have died in the U.S. or in Europe. They die here because of poverty. And so, babies lose their mothers. They die. Unless. Unless there is a place like Kaziba (the only orphanage in this area that takes babies) that will take a newborn from a desperate father's arms. Desperate to save his baby, as he couldn't save his wife. It isn't right! Then they live in an orphanage. They get forgotten. There is a new wife. And the new wife doesn't want the first wife's child. They are rejected. They live in a place called an orphanage. Not a home. They should not have to live in an orphanage.
Sometimes I wish I could go live in Kaziba. I wish I could hike the daunting mountains that are astounding in their beauty. I wish it were safe enough for me to live there with my family. To try to reunite these babies with their families. To find ways to supply the families with life giving formula that would otherwise cost more per month then they earn. I wish I could help them find a home, talk to the fathers, talk to the new wives. Open closed arms, so that children will be welcomed back to their families. Find them homes.
I wish I could say that I was shutting down the orphanage instead of desperately trying to raise funds to keep newborn babies alive. I with I could be a part of the true solution, not only treating the illness. I wish I could say my dreams came true. That the children are back with their families. That for every child living in this orphanage I found a home.