A few days before the team left they got to witness the process of how children come to be admitted into the orphanage. You never know the day or the hour when something like this happens around here but 6 times in this past 12 months it has… and often it goes something like this….
We are told that we have visitors. Upon asking what we can do to help them they explain that they have a double orphan that they would like us to take at the orphanage. We then ask some questions to see if there is any way that we can just help with food, clothing, or educational assistance in order to help the child stay with the family they are currently with or if the child’s needs would be best served by being cared for in the orphanage.
In Otervia’s case – this is what we found out. Born to parents that were both HIV positive, her father passed away around the time that she was born (in 2002). While her mother lived until last August she was only on ARV meds for 6 months before passing away. Apart from having two older siblings that died at or shortly after birth, she has one older brother (age 12) who is living with grandparents and one half sister (age 1) who is being cared for by her own biological father. After her mothers death Otervia came to live with her Aunt and Uncle. The uncle is married with two wives and between them there are 4 other children that live in the village (3 of which are age 4 and under). Both wives are still young so most likely more children are on the way. Not long after receiving Otervia they realized that she was constantly sick. A few months ago they took her to the village clinic where it was determined that she was HIV positive (most likely contracted through breastfeeding). She was started on ARV’s in April of this year and although she appears small for her age and her skin looks as though she was bitten by 1,000 fire ants, she is a sweet, beautiful little girl with a shy smile that lights up the room. Due to her HIV status and the family feeling like they did not have the resources to care for her we agreed to take her in. The children and house mothers accepted her immediately and though it has only been a few weeks it is nice to see her thriving and getting stronger through proper medical care and good nutrition.
Please pray for her as she continues to adjust to a whole new living situation and for wisdom for us in how best to care for her, especially for her educational need. Although she is either 8 or 9 (her exact birth date is unknown, only her birth year) she has only ever had a few months of community schooling before the school that she was attending shut down. We tried to enroll her in the community school near us but it seems that her body is not strong enough to handle the walk there while it is still adjusting to the effects of the ARV’s. The time we did try it she came down with a high fever afterwards and the doctor suggested letting her heal a bit more before attempting the long walk again. In the meantime Alyssa is planning to help her with some basic education there at the home. We praise God for her improving health for for bringing her to a place where she will be well looked after and well loved.