It started when I picked a child’s profile. Sarah Mbabazi’s profile was brought to our attention, and I chose to take some time to find out more about her. I read this beautiful little girl’s profile and learned about her, her mother, and her current living situation.
She was described as the top of her class…always smiling…always helping her classmates and those around her; such a sweet and loving little girl.
Her mother became pregnant with Sarah after being raped by an army officer. She was also described as mentally ill after receiving an intense beating…unable to work consistently and making less than $1/day. Needless to say…she was struggling to provide for herself and Sarah. Sometimes the only good meal Sarah was able to get was her school meal. The profile stated that Sarah often stayed very late at school…waiting for her mother to get back so they could go ” home.”
They live in the slums, but had no place to go since the rain tore the roof off their house with no doors (I use the term house loosely as it was more like a concrete and brick box). Therefore Sarah and her mother slept either within the walls of what was left, or on other peoples’ verandah at night.
What came to my attention and concern was that the profile stated that her mother was no longer able to provide medication Sarah needed. Also…she had been in need of treatment for “a condition that was there a long time now.” What medication…for what was she being treated? And that was the question.
Initially, Case Manager Jennifer was not sure what medication, but she would take Sarah to the doctor to find out. The medicine is not expensive by our standards…so it could be easily taken care of.
When I received the “check up report” it read that she had a bladder and yeast infection and she needed to be tested for STDs; HIV and syphilis. Hold on. She’s 6…and she’s been needing treatment for this for nearly a year?! I started to get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I inquired more about her history, what the doctor specifically said, and my fear was confirmed.
Sarah was raped in the middle of the night when she was 5. Largely because she had nowhere to sleep safely.
The sick feeling grew…moved to my heart which began to ache…then QUICKLY turned to rage for the f-er who did this. I immediately wanted to simultaneously hug Sarah and shall we say…”exact justice” on that man. (or find someone to do the latter) And THEN…to be born of rape and then have it done to you?? Just…GAH!
But alas…he is unknown. And that f-er is LUCKY we don’t know who he is…’cuz…*slides thumb across neck*. Jus’ sayin’.
Anyway, Sarah was very much still susceptible to this danger. It was an immense blessing to be able to offer to take Sarah in to the babies home if her mother would have it. She agreed, and Sarah moved in! I felt the tense and uneasy feeling leave just knowing she’d be safe at night.
Now, question 2- what about her mother? She never abandoned her daughter and only wants the best for her…but she could not provide. She struggled to find work for herself. She would still have nowhere to go. It was equally a blessing to be able to offer her mother work with the cook, and her mother accepted. She could now begin earning money to start building her life, while simultaneously having help caring for her daughter while being close to her. Everyone is so happy.
Her mother was able to find a house to move in that she will be able to pay for with her new job. What a wonderful thing it is to be able to make progress in your life. Sometimes…you might not want to ask too many questions for fear of already having an inkling of the terrible answer, but then knowing the answer and doing something about it…it’s amazing how quickly and easily you can change a life. (or two ;))
Sarah’s story is in all likelihood not too far off from many other children in the slums. And with just a few questions and actions…many of these issues can be addressed. But the first step has to be taken – the interest has to be shown. The right questions have to be asked. Answers will surface, and solutions will be presented. “Seek and ye shall find.” Trust me, you’ll find. And don’t ever not ask because you are afraid of the answer. It’s better to know the truth and what you can do about it. It’s the best feeling in the world to see a transformation in the lives of others.