Tuesday, July 19, 2011

And they are...

....in Colorado!  We have made it safely back to the states.  What a trip!  We have been without internet for the last 12 days or so, hence the silence.  Even now I am typing quickly as we are at a debriefing/renewal retreat center for 5 days to help us transition back to life in the states and I forgot my power cord so am running on "red".  For those that have emailed me about Tumaini, I am here!  I will be around consistent internet next week and hope to catch up on emails then and of course continuing to blog (lots to write).  Thanks and until next week!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

some things are too amazing not to share, especially about this special little girl

Before reading this post, it would be great if you could read this post and then this post.  Otherwise, you might miss the significance of what I am about to share.  

When we arrived yesterday, all the kids came running like they normally do when we come for a visit.  They recognize the white land cruiser now and they start running "mugeni" (visitor) with their arms open wide.  (And more and more start yelling "Holly" now which does my heart good!).  

Well, I was in for a big shock because one of the first kids to reach me was Chito Wambili!  (Read the posts above to understand why I was so surprised.)  Walking as fast as her toddling legs would take her, she lifted up her arms to be held and then started smiling and smiling.  I could hardly believe it!  Even now it is hard to think about without crying.  She wrapped her arms and legs around me and held on tight, smiling the whole time.  She was close the whole visit and if I ever did put her down she was right there on my legs (or my cousin or mom's legs)  with her arms up asking to be picked up.  And the wonder didn't stop there!  She wanted to play and play.  That girl can giggle!  I wish my internet connection wasn't so slow, I would post the small video I have of her giggling and giggling.  And she was talking, telling me "ball" in swahili when the kids were all playing with balls.  She jumped up and down in my arms, smiling, giggling and laughing.  I admit to totally crying!  How could I not?  And what a gift to be given on my last day visiting the orphanage.  The best gift ever!
The little girl who a year ago shuddered when anyone touched her, never smiled, and couldn't even sit up, is now walking all over, begging to be held, giggling, laughing, talking and smile.  If that's not a miracle, I don't know what is!   I felt like saying, "So there you are Miss Wambili, I'm so happy to meet you!"  And what it tells me is that the kids are being well taken care of, that the investment we have made to hire seven more mamas is being seen in the smiling trusting faces of the children at Kaziba.   

Are you interested in partnering with us in our work at the Save the Children Orphanage?  Read this post to get started learning more about what we are doing or check out our website.  

Saturday, July 2, 2011

overwhelmed and scared

We just got back from my last trip to the orphanage (my mom and cousin came with me!).  I will probably do two posts (the second post is here) about the trip since there is a lot to write about.  I was going up there expecting to meet the three new babies, take their photos and love on them.  Instead of three new babies, there were six new babies!  Six newborns (five girls and one boy)!!  Kaziba is the only orphanage that takes newborn babies (only after their mothers have died).  And the word is getting out that Kaziba is a now safe place to send babies that would otherwise die.  They are all beautiful, but I have to be honest, I started panicking inside.  I (through Tumaini) have committed to bring all the formula these babies need every month.  That is a lot of expensive formula ($70/month per baby for formula).  Right now we are not at full sponsorship (thank you to those who have sponsored already!).  Thankfully, some lovely people have given general donations to Tumaini which have helped us meet out monthly needs until we are fully funded.    So, I want to ask for help from everyone that follows my blog.  Would you be willing to link to my blog or the Tumaini website about what we are doing at the orphanage?  Even if you don't feel like you can financially give right now, could you help spread the word?  I am completely comfortable with my blog being linked on facebook or another blog.   A good thing is that in the last two days we have two more children fully sponsored!

Here is one of the new babies.

This is Esperance, she is about six weeks old.  

That is the overwhelmed part of my email.  

Now for the really scared part.  Two of the six new babies are very fragile and I worry they may not live.  Little Zawadi is tiny tiny tiny.  But she is also sick.  Very sick.  The last time I held a baby that looked a lot like her, she died the next day.   When that sweet baby girl died last year I was left feeling devastated and I felt like I should have done more.  This time, I did do more.  I asked the director if I could speak with the director of the hospital immediately.  He called him and he came over soon after.  I told him my concerns and why I was worried.  I told him what I thought was wrong with her and asked him if he would consider treating her a different way (with a different medication).  He said he would consider it and he thought he had the medicine I was asking about.  It may be too late, but I feel like as much as can be done is being done now.  Please pray for little Zawadi.

Sweet Zawadi

The second baby I am concerned about is the little new baby boy named Benjamin.  His mother died giving birth to him and he had no formula or milk for a week after she died and then very little for the 3 weeks after that.  He is so very skinny.  I fed him a bottle which he promptly threw up everywhere.  I talked to the director and the mamas about him too.  About feeding him more often and smaller amounts.  But it all felt so overwhelming.  There were so many babies!  There are a total of 8 babies under 6 months old, and 12 babies 6 months to one year old!  And 15 bigger kids.  With five mamas.  That's one mama per 7 kids/babies!  How in the world do you care for two sick and weak newborns given those ratios?  Please pray for Benjamin.

Beautiful Benjamin

I keep praying that today I didn't hold two babies that are about to die.

steps in the right direction


Friday, July 1, 2011

a boy with arms wide open

Most people who have visited the orphanage with me in the past remember Leblanc.  It's hard not to, because he is always the first one to come rushing out of the orphanage with his arms spread open ready to leap into your arms.  He always stays close, and would be happy to be in your arms the whole visit if he could.  He turned 5 years old in May.  He should be moving out of the orphanage soon, but it's been hard to find a home for him.  Most children return with their families when they reach 4 or 5, some at age 3 years old.  However, some children are rejected by their families or their families cannot take care of them, so they linger at the orphanage with the babies and toddlers.  We've been talking to the director about trying to  put him in the local school while he still lives in the orphanage and he says he will do that in September.  Even though I really believe that an orphanage is not the place for any child, I also don't believe going to a family or home where you will be neglected or abused is a good situation either.  The director and I have long talks sometimes about the future of the orphanage and trying to make a small family home setting on the grounds for those kids that can't find a foster family.  We dream about how to best help those children that are rejected in the long term.  It is challenging, complex and there are not easy answers.

We are looking for two sponsors for Leblanc.  If you are interested in sponsoring him, follow the links on the right side of this blog.  Thank you!