Follow our weekly news by email

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sometimes, love hurts.


Samuel and his new baby sister Samantha
This week I got a call from Social Welfare and I greeting him with, “How are you?”.  His response was, “Not good mom, I am not good”.  That is a fairly common answer when he calls me, because he is not calling with good news … ever.

He asked me if I remembered a baby who was placed with us by the police in 2013 and he gave me the surname.  Yes, I knew that baby, it was Samuel.  Samuel’s father was a refugee from the Congo and his mother was a Swazi woman who was a drunkard and kept leaving Samuel in the market, on the side of the road or wherever she placed him in a drunken stupor. 

I remember getting the call from the police asking if I could come and help at the police station because it was 5PM and they had a man who didn’t speak English or siSwati, but he was asking them to take his baby whom his girlfriend had left in the town market.  (Up until that time I didn’t travel with a diaper bag and formula at all times, but because of that day I do now).  The baby was screaming from hunger and the cloth that was wrapped around his waist was soaked.  The police said that they had to investigate this situation, but I could I just take the baby for the night and help them out?  I did, and took Samuel home to be bathed, fed and loved.

Samuel - November 2013.

The next morning I was called by the police to say that the mother had arrived at the police station frantically looking for her baby. She was sobbing and wanted him back so badly.  Lori Marschall was with me and we got in the car and “returned” the baby.  The mother was given a stern warning by the police, we prayed for the safety of the baby and handed him over, truly fearing for his life.

Returning Samuel to his mother.
One week later Samuel’s mother left him on the side of the road near Manzini and ran away (not to be seen again for many many months).  The baby was placed back in our care permanently and the refugee father signed the papers putting the child in to our care.

That was the baby that the Social Welfare officer was asking me about.  And the reason he asked was because Samuel’s mother had just been found again living on the street, this time with a 9-day old baby girl.  She was reported to the police and together they went to the homestead to investigate the situation and see if they could find a family member who could take the baby and help the mother.

Sadly, they learned that this 33- year old woman had lost both her parents when she was young, and had been raised by her paternal Grandfather, but also that had spent most of her life living on the street or going from man to man for food, and love.  She is HIV positive and this baby girl was her 7th child: two are dead, two are living with the Great Grandfather, one is living with his biological father’s family and Samuel is living at Project Canaan. 

I drove to town later that day and met with the mother and an Uncle, who was very unhappy about the woman’s behavior and begged for our help.  As we sat in a government office (that was at least 90F), the Uncle and the police told story after story of this woman’s life.  The whole time she sat quietly while tenderly caressing the baby’s tiny fingers and examining the baby’s face for small flecks of dirt.  She loves that baby.  I brought my iPad with me with a Christmas photo of Samuel on it.  I asked if it would be appropriate to show her the photo and I was told “yes”.  When the police officer showed the mother the current photo of Samuel, she immediately broke down and wept.  She loves her son. 


Today is Valentines’ Day, which is not a day that is celebrated around the world, but in North America there is a plethora of red and pink hearts, fresh flowers, chocolate and lovely meals.  It is a day that we are reminded to be intentional about our love for others.  It is a day that we celebrate love and the people whom we love.

The police, Social Welfare and the family of Samuel’s mother truly believe that the best way to protect and LOVE the baby girl was for her to be placed out of harms way and in to the loving care of the El Roi Baby Home.  We have named her Samantha.  The mother will be getting a tubal ligation (funded through my Compassion Purse) and we pray that she will stay in the homestead where her other two children live, and not run away again to a life of addiction, prostitution and hopelessness.  I wish I could say that I am hopeful, but there is nothing I can do for her.

As you celebrate your loved ones today, please remember those who love, but are hurting.  They are all around us, not just in Swaziland, but all over the world.  Today I am reminded that Jesus is love, and He will never fail us even when people do.  I hold on to that knowledge as I head down to tell our babies and our Aunties how much I love them all.

Live from Swaziland … let us love one another.

Janine

PS – An important side note:  women in Swaziland, no matter what their age, do not have the right to choose a tubal ligation (having her tubes tied).  In order for that to happen a Senior male member of her family must go to the hospital and sign the papers stating that the family agrees that she will no longer be having babies for the family.  I hope I don’t get in trouble for writing this, but it's the truth.  Some hospitals require a letter from a Doctor at a Psychiatric Hospital saying that the mother is mentally insane, which is the only “acceptable” reason for them to tie her tubes.  We still have some work to do here.

No comments:

Post a Comment