When I am preparing for these trips I gather a grab bag of projects I hope to do but I never make an agenda. I know for sure the children need lots of crafts for me to bring them that they can share with their sponsors. But ministry projects aren’t exactly mine to decide even though I’m in charge. I believe I must be grounded in reading God’s word and remember every minute I am here I am working for him. I can make a plan but God directs my steps. So I don’t commit too much to my plan and that way it is easier for me to follow His.
I say that because something extraordinary has happened that I never could have imagined or even hoped to experience. I’m all a titter to share with you what God has done this time for Kirabo Seeds. (I am continually in awe of His hand on us.)
We visited Denis’ jjajja with everyone. I was eager to introduce Christopher to her and give Donny and Jjajja LaTorre the unbelievable experience of being a guest in their homes and praying with them for their lives. Last year when I visited Jjajja Denis, out of the woods walked a smiling dripping wet naked Marvin covered in sores, pus oozing from his ear, and a fever of 103 degrees. We know how that turned out.
This time when we arrived there was this wee girl spying on us in the bushes. Jjajja LaTorre connected with her first. The girl may not have seen a mzungu before so she was shy and wouldn’t take her hand. She wore several months of dirt covering her body. I have never seen such a dirty child here in Uganda. This culture is scrupulous about cleaning their children and take a lot of pride in being presentable. Her overall denim dress was on backwards and we checked underneath it to make sure she was a girl because it wouldn’t bother anyone to put a dress on a boy if there was only a dress available. She hovered in the doorway when we had our meeting inside. She followed us when we went to have a look at Jjajja Denis’ three pigs. Eventually Jjajja LaTorre had the girl in her hand and they were sharing smiles.
When it was time for us to leave Jjajja Denis was taking a ride with us into town. There was no one around for the girl. She looked to be about two, maybe a little less. “Who does she belong to? Where are the people who look after her?” Jjajja Denis made a face, she said no one. Her mom abandoned her for another man and disappeared long ago leaving her with her father who is a madman. It is really the grandfather who looks after her but not so much, she is always wandering around.
Phiona got that look in her eyes. I have seen it before. “Mama Tonya let us take her home with us. The girls want a baby girl so badly.” I tried to resist. I really did. I have been found saying “our home is full. No more children.” (I said that of course without asking God.) I searched for a scrap of food to leave with the child, but we didn’t have anything with us. So I asked, “can we just take her and clean her up, dress her, feed her and take her to the doctor then bring her back?” Jjajja went to get the father.
I texted a photo of the dirty baby to Craig and said, “Your mother made me do it.” Which is a lie because he knows I can’t resist a neglected abandoned child. I can’t walk by that condition and live with myself, especially knowing I am in THE position to make an epic difference in her life. I told everyone, “Don’t get too excited, we need to pray about this and wait for God to show us what to do.”
The father showed up looking like he had been taken to court. He was as dirty as his girl. He had on two different shoes and trousers that were five sizes too big on his skinny frame. He wore a striped beany on his head. The girl crawled around his legs and said, “tata” (father) but he never flinched to connect with her. We asked if we could take her and his reply was, “take her I don’t want her. You can have her.”
This was a difficult scene to endure. Robert, Christopher and Donny were inwardly outraged. How could a man just fling his own child away? Robert thinks he uses drugs. It was a chilling moment and the atmosphere was tense with profoundly strong emotions. If we take this girl with us we’ll try to keep her. I know myself too well. It reminded me a little of Moses in the bulrushes. But we got a princess and we have the opportunity to rescue her from a life of sadness, abuse and neglect.
We put her in the car. She was afraid of it but Jjajja LaTorre held her and it was only moments before she was fast asleep. We stopped at the store for diapers, and should have put it on immediately because she wet all over Jjajja! When we arrived home it was a HUGE surprise. The girls crowded the baby and Angela scooped her up first held her on her hip and said, “I am fine now.” That means she’s absolutely content.
We walked into the room where Julie was visiting with Kiah. Julie was wide eyed and exclaimed, “wow!” as she took her in her arms. Her smile was a treasure for me. I looked a little sheepish and said, “is it alright?” Julie said, “Yes we will keep her!” Julie took her out back immediately and prepared a bath. The baby didn’t whimper once during her scrubbing. Angela waited with a big orange towel to scoop her up and the smile never left her face.
She has a few sores on her back, and her hair is light brown, signs of malnutrition. She has a herniated belly button but no cough or sign of fever. Those would indicate tuberculosis and malaria. Her belly is clearly full of worms. Angela dressed her in one of Kira’s smaller dresses and presented her for her first meal. Julie fixed some mashed “irish” (potatoes) and beans with a cup of milk. She has good motor skills with her cup so we were thinking she is older than she looks.
To watch a hungry baby eat for the first time is unlike any experience. Her eyes were fixed on the bowl but she wasn’t sure it was for her. Like a baby bird she tipped her face up to receive every bite. We feared over stuffing her so we agreed to feed her little bits at a time and gradually introduce variety to her diet. She needs lots of milk.
While she ate I had an idea. One of the girl’s sponsors sent a baby doll so I went to get it and gave it to our living baby doll. She held it like her own baby and was so happy. Jjajja LaTorre had brought an extra blanket so we gave it to her. Showering her with the comforts of love was a great joy for us. Julie taught her how to breastfeed her little baby doll. Funny. It wasn’t long before she repeated, “baby” in her tiny soft voice.
We have the portable crib here at the home that I had when I brought Donny home as a baby! Kira used it for our adoption and now it is here for our precious little one. Her name is Ribena but that is not only a mouthful but also a fruit drink. We altered her name to be Rhonah and she actually answers to it better than Ribena. Little Rhonah probably slept in the first soft bed she’s ever known. That’s the story. I’ll share tomorrow about her visit to the doctor as well as her first day in our home. We plan to try and get custody of her and don’t believe there will be a single hitch. We can see God’s hand all over this child. Knowing we are useful to Him as he cares for the little ones is THE BEST FEELING EVER.