All around me bougainvillea is blooming. The bright pink paper petals stand out among the dirt, decay, chaos, debris and strewn trash. The beautifully dressed women on the streets in colorful clothing carry their heads high and walk with dignity. I marvel at the African woman. Her strength, resilience and perseverance inspire me. When I think about the girls we are raising in our home I am thankful for the gift God has given me to go inside and observe the making of this African woman. I hear the untold secrets. I know the fears, I sculpt the confidence and I instruct the boundaries for her life. Even young girls carry secrets in their hearts of abuse, hardship, and despair. Even so, they are hard wired to overcome. And they do.
We have a new little girl who has joined our family, another flower. We are honored to cultivate her delicate life and protect the fragrance of her bloom. Her name is Justine and here is her story.
During Christmas break Kenny had to cross town several times to help Ryan get treatment for a severe case of malaria. Ryan’s jjajja is friends with Kenny’s mother. She is the most appreciative jjajja in our group for the way we are influencing Ryan. She knew a lady in her church that accepts unwanted children from the goodness in her heart. She told us about this young girl who recently was given to her.
It was Justine. Her parents are now both dying of AIDS and they are too sick and feeble to care for her. They have no relatives who will do it so this lady took her into her home and the parents gave her official custody of her. Ryan’s jjajja told her about our organization and the good we are doing for children so the care taker was eager for us to have her if we would take her, knowing this would be her best opportunity for a good life.
When Kenny told me about this last Friday I said, let’s go get her. I didn’t have to think, I just knew she was for us. We’ve been praying since Boniface died to bring a new child to our home. So Kenny went alone, drove hours to reach her. They had to find the local council and sign official papers with witnesses. After much travel, and many hours, Justine was a Kirabo Seeds kid, just like that.
Kenny went to visit her parents to let them have the peace of knowing she will always be in a good safe loving place. When he found them and they saw him coming with the girl and they bolted to get away. They feared she was being returned. It makes me so sad that she had to experience this.
Friday night at 11:30 Kenny arrived with an itty bitty girl with a neatly shaved head asleep in the passenger seat. She was clutching a bottle of soda Kenny bought for her. In my nightdress, I unbuckled her and picked her up. As sleep fell away she looked at me and for a moment I feared she would react to seeing a mzungu. But she smiled, she likes mzungus. She looked around and did not show any fear. I gave her to Auntie Julie who took her into the apartment with the other girls.
We surprised the girls. We didn’t tell them she was coming, in case something went wrong. They were overjoyed to have another little baby doll to care for and love. Christine began to give her dolls and Justine’s face lit up. She loves baby dolls. In the middle of the night Phiona found Justine at the sink in the apartment washing her doll.
The next day she joined the family at the house. She was calm, secure, happy and blended in the first day. When she’s hungry she ate, when she was tired she laid on the sofa for a nap. She didn’t cry, she didn’t show fear, but she was happy all the day. She has the best manners of any child who has joined our home. She kneels to greet adults and answers politely. She even speaks English to answer me when I say “how are you”, she responds, “I am fine”.
She’s always in Angela’s lap or playing with Kira and Rhonah. Now it is fair to say Rhonah is a little jealous. She isn’t interested in sharing her mama Julie. It seems that Justine is gravitating towards Phiona. Rhonah told her, “if you put on my shoes I will beat you and send you back to your mother.” Bold little girl!
Rhonah will be four in April and last year at this time when we got her she was the size of an infant but she grew quickly. Justine is four already but she looks like she is two. So big Rhonah thought she could bully Justine. When she pushed her she was surprised Justine pushed her back and knocked her down. That was the end of Rhonah’s superiority. She no longer challenges Justine. They settled their struggle and have already nestled into the beginning of a friendship.
I am thankful to help another child. It is my life’s greatest joy and causes me to praise God with tears and thanks. Justine will begin school in two weeks with Rhonah. We will be searching for sponsors for our newest flower. If you are interested in helping Justine have an education, medical care, nutritious food and clothing please contact me. She needs to know God’s people love her and support her. All of our children in our home experience the miracle of God’s love by knowing he sent sponsors to them who love them and pray for them. The children thank God in their prayers every day for the support they receive from their sponsors. I am hoping someone would like to do that for Justine.