After the team left on May 25th, it was just us, Nate and Melanie again. (Well and many short term guests that happened our way : ) During this time Nate was instrumental in helping Jako build a generator room, build and plaster a septic tank, assemble furniture, fix broken vehicles, do plumbing, construction and various other odd jobs around our house and the orphanage. On top of that he also helped Melanie teach English and Bible Stories to the children and aided us in hosting the many visitors we had this year. Never one to just sit and do nothing, Nate was often found doing whatever needed doing without even being asked – whether that consisted of chopping firewood, starting a campfire, working on miscellaneous work projects,or even pitching in with dinner or dishes. He and Charles built a good relationship working together every day and it was neat to see the relationships that he had developed last year with the villagers flourish this year. To see the smiles on the faces of locals like Francis and Obie when they ran up to give him hugs spoke volumes. On a personal note it was great to see how much Nate had grown and matured in the past year as evidenced in the way that he was able to witness and talk to the locals in a bold and confident yet friendly and non-threatening kind of way. What a blessing he was and we look forward to see all that God has in store for this young man.
Melanie, on the other hand, having never been to Africa before, jumped right in like she was a pro. From the first few days she helped wherever she could and went to great efforts to learn how to do anything that might need doing whether that might mean washing dishes, stoking the donkey, helping with laundry, chopping firewood, pumping water, starting a fire, entertaining Jakob, or any of the other various things that often needed doing just to live out here. And on top of all that she willingly took on the huge task of teaching the kids at the orphanage Bible stories as well as English. And all this without a set curriculum. Trying to pick up from where Jenny left off she had to had to develop her own plans and directions and she did great! Talk about being thrown into the fire! The kids however loved her and progressed amazingly under her direction and guidance. She always made her time with them fun but instructional as well and now every time we hear the children with their much improved English we smile as we think of her.
She also helped organize the library, worked in the orchard, sorted through donations for the orphanage and tackled the task of leading weekly children’s church at the local village church so not only did the orphanage kids come to love her but most of the village kids as well. Her biggest help however came when we got our first little newborn into the orphanage. Baby Genesis.
June 21st was a memorable day for us here at Mission of Love. One that we will not forget for a long time. That was the day that Genesis Matalikilo, our newest little addition, arrived on our doorsteps. With the mom being severely mentally ill and an unknown father, we had been preparing for her eventual arrival for the past few months but did not expect it to be this early. Being born on June 17th, she was born approximately 5 – 6 weeks early and by the time that she was brought to us at 4 days of age the only nutrition that she had had since she was born was a bit of ground peanuts that the family had tried to feed her. When we saw her she was soo tiny and looked so frail. From the best we could tell she weighed in at about 4 lbs. and was nothing but skin and bones. Thanks to a friend, Dr. Christa in Kalomo who gave us advise on how to care for such a premature baby without an NICU unit. We did what we could, prayed that she would make it, and rejoiced when she drank her first few sips from a bottle. With Amber still busy caring for Jakob (6 months old at the time) Melanie was instrumental in helping with the feedings (hourly at the beginning- then down to 2/3 hours even at night) and doing skin to skin contact to keep her body temperature up during our winter. Mom was thought to have syphilis so I (Jako) had to give her penicillin injections for 10 days and considering she was nothing but skin and bones, it was not an easy job – especially for my heart. At first she was so tiny she couldn’t even cry – just let out a little whimper when I stuck her but by the end of the course it was nice to hear how her lungs had developed by the loud cries that filled the room.