Sunday, September 27, 2009

The weekend for babies

Friday evening Thoko got a call from the Rural Health motivator (RHM) for Lomngeletjane that the woman who was pregnant that we visited on Wednesday needed to go to the hospital because she was in labor. We asked the RHM to give her the transport money to get there. We were very concerned about the other 7 children ranging from 13 to around 2 or 3 years old and were very relieved to hear later that she left them with a neighbor. At 5:00 AM on Saturday (9/26) the mother gave birth to a very large, healthy baby boy. She named him Sipho which means gift. Sipho weighed 4 kg at birth which equates to 8 lbs 13 ounces! This picture was taken when Sipho was about 7 hours old. They kept the mother and baby in the hospital for 24 hours which is really quite unusual. The mother said it is because they gave him a polio and DPT shot. From what I heard it is still very unusual for a mother and baby to stay in the hospital that long after birth. Deb and I bought a few cloth diapers, a baby blanket, a hat and a couple of sleepers for the baby because the mother had nothing and has no money. I gave her the money to pay the hospital bill. This morning before church Deb and I went back to the hospital to pick the mother and Sipho up to take them home. We had also stopped at a grocery store to buy them a bit of food because I seriously doubt there was anything to eat at that homestead. I called the RHM and a woman from the church that lives near her and told them that she was home and asked them to look in on her later in the day.

On Thursday, 9/24, Thoko, Thini, Gladys, Deb and I went out with the Manyano ladies from the small congregation of Bhudla Methodist Church to visit a couple of the gogos (grannies) that can no longer make it to church. The visit would need a whole other blog post of it's own so for now I will just say it was hard to see how they live, but very touching to see how happy and how much hope our visit gave the gogos and the ladies from Bhudla. When we got back to Manzini, we had a meeting scheduled in the evening to discuss some of the pressing issues we uncovered when making our first homestead visits in Lomngeletjane as part of the Lutsandvo Lwa Krestu program. I made a pot of soup for us to share before the meeting. As we were sitting around the table talking, Thini shared that her 6 month old great grand niece had started on ARV's the month before and that the baby isn't doing well. The child's mother is 20. Thini's sister had passed away leaving the child's mother (her daughter) and a few other young children with no one to care for. Thini brought the baby, her mother and the two other small children that I think are related to the baby's mother, to live with her. My heart broke on the spot. Thini is the most loving, caring person. She shares all that she has which is very, very little in the way of material things but very, very great when it comes to love and compassion. I asked if we could see the baby when we took her home after the meeting.

This is Deb holding the baby. Her name is Nonjabulo. She is 6 months old and weighs 4.7 kg (10lbs 7 oz). She is so thin and has a very bad cough. We found out yesterday that she is also on TB medication. Little Nonjabulo has eyes that see everything and little tiny hands that have a good grip. She is very sick but if anyone can nurse the mother and baby back to health, it will be Thini. On Saturday we took Nonjabulo a few things. Because the mother is HIV+ and so is the baby, the mother should not nurse the baby. However, formula is very expensive especially for a pensioner who receives 600 rand (about $80.) every 3 months IF the government gets around to paying it. One small can of formula is around $38 rand. I told Thini that I will buy the baby's formula. I want to make sure the mother doesn't nurse the baby any longer so the baby has a better chance to get better. So know that some of the funds that are so graciously and generously given will go to help feed this child as well as others.

Please pray for Sipho and Nonjabula and their mothers and Auntie. Pray for health, pray for protection and pray that they have the opportunity to grow into healthy Christian men and women. Please continue to pray for strength for my very special group of ladies, Thoko, Thini, Gladys and Thembi as well as others who help us as possible and for me for wisdom, strength and the means to keep on finding these children and helping them one child at a time.

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