This afternoon we visited Kira’s baby home. Oh, what memories it evoked as we drove up the hill and entered the courtyard of the small home. It was so quiet we just knew all the children must be in nap time. We passed through the wooden screen door as it slammed behind us we surprised the Aunties. They did not recognize me at first, I had to say, I am Mama Cherish!
When our Kira was found on the day she was born, they named her Cherish Kirabo. We renamed her Kirabo (meaning ‘gift’) and we call her Kira. All mothers are called by their first born’s name with Mama in front. It’s cultural and really normal. So some people here call me Mama Cherish, and others call me Mama Kira. Poor Donny, no one recognizes that he is my first born. And only the children at the orphanage call me Mama Tonya.
We visited for a quick ten minutes the night before to drop off the computer for the office so they can have their files recorded in digital format. She wandered in and played with the children and with the toys, but didn’t want any of the Aunties to touch her. I still think that as I watched her glide easily into play with the boys and children that she had a sense of memory for the place.
The next day hugs were passed out, and whoops were raised in happiness. It was so much fun for them to see Kira and they were eager to hug and cuddle her. But she didn’t want to have anything to do with that. She was drawing her boundary and had enough of people she didn’t know picking her up. So she pushed them away with a firm and forceful “hey”. For me, I wanted to fall down howling with laughter because she is so strong and secure in who she is and what she wants. But I was also horrified, because I knew it hurt their feelings terribly. She really didn’t want anything to do with any of them and they were dying to reconnect with her. Next year it might be better. I didn’t bother to point out how wonderful it was that she had bonded so well to me.
Babies will be babies and we can’t make them use manners they haven’t learned yet. Can’tblame them for the way they feel either.
Whitney had told me it would only take thirty minutes to get the started on the computer program. I laughed when she said that. She didn’t know why and I couldn’t explain it until after our second visit to set it up had failed. The computer needed a converter and we hadn’t thought to bring one. So we need to find a converter before we can actually say this deed is accomplished. This is Africa: TIA. When things don’t go as planned, that’s what we say, TIA. And really, to expect that to change is unrealistic. It’s good to just laugh and carry on.
I will always have a tender spot in my heart for this place, think of it fondly and be willing to help them for as long as I am able to return to Uganda. I look forward to the day when Kira can return to serve the babies in her first home. It was surprising for me that only one of the children we knew in January was still there. Funny how we keep everything the same in our mind, even though we know life continues on without us. The little sweetie we knew has been found by someone in her family and she will be reclaimed at some time. I remember her so well. She was the newest arrival when we were first there and her stomach was so distended from malnutrition and her face was the most pitiful ever. It was a gift to see her healthy and playing. This baby home does a wonderful job with the precious children of God who are princes and princesses. (and please ignore rumors that they are out of formula. That will never be allowed to happen.)