Sunday, August 3, 2008
yesterday venessa and i returned to the baby haven and stayed a bit longer than 10 minutes. we were there for a few hours, which was such a blessing, and quite all we were able to take physically. the kids found a strange fascination with beating us up and ripping our jewelry off our bodies. we have bruises today to prove it. and i will for sure be returing today sans the earrings and venessa without her necklace. we learned quickly what draws attention to their tiny hands.
despite the bruises, our hearts were so happy to be there and love on these kids. there are 7 children at the baby haven right now and they vary in the ages of 3 months-5 years. in just a few hours, we learned so much about their personalities and quirks. martha is the chubbiest baby ever and sat on my legs and farted. i didn't have the heart to move her away. venessa and i wondered who was in need of a diaper change...and in a matter of minutes she returned with a clean pair of pants. the mystery was solved. zolani is a dancing machine. he has moves that would make michael jackson blush. festus is the oldest one in the haven. he is 5 years old, but looks no older than a 2 year old. we're not sure if this is because of AIDS or polio. all of the kids had recenlty been given a polio vaccination, but i'm not sure if he already had it or not. he can harldy crawl, let alone walk. but he has a smile as bright as the sun and a sweet, sweet heart. sindiswa could very well make a fabulous monkey. she wanted to 'climb' on my back for the entire 2 hours. all of these kids are so beautiful and unique in their own special way. they are individuals. it was definitely heart-breaking to see the conditions of how these children live. they play on an old dirty mattress and find amusement with whatever is on the ground. festus was entertained for almost the entire time by half of a piece of a plastic fork. but he was happy. when we were there a lady arrived with a bag of rolls and a tub of potato salad. she visits once a year and brings whatever she can. she was there and gone and in minutes these babies all had a roll in hand and crumbs on their faces. in small but mighty ways they are being provided for. when our taxi arrived to take us back to the hostel, all the kids blew kisses to us and waved goodbye. we told them we'd be back today, but i'm not sure that they understand or believe when people say that. i gave them all a kiss on the forehead and it nearly broke my heart when zolani said he wanted to come with me. it takes some of us a lifetime to find love or let alone be satisfied with the love we are shown...but it took these children 2 seconds to welcome us with hearts bigger than the ocean. it's an incredible thing...the love of a child. and especially a child that's days are numbered far less than what they deserve. their joy is my strength.
the website for the baby haven is here: http://babyhaven.blogspot.com/