Grasping my finger as I hold a bottle to baby Daniella's mouth, she intenly studies my face. I don't know her story or why she's in the orphanage; neither does she. All Daniella knows is that she woke up hungry and I was there to feed her. As I sit in the nursery feeding Daniella and the eleven other infants in the room, I'm struck with the reality of how helpless these little ones truly are.
Only the Beginning
As some of you know, my husband and I feel that one of our callings as a couple is to have a home-based ministry for orphans. Part of this first year in Kenya has been dedicated to doing some hands on research by volunteering at various types of orphanages and connecting with their leaders. Last week I began volunteering at Happy Life Orphanage. It's about a block away from the place where we currently reside and I generally spend three hours a time there in the mornings. Thus far I've primarily served in infant room A, which is where the babies six months and under are kept. One of those babies has a history of sorts with us...
Four months ago Ray was coming back to Nairobi from a video shoot in Bungoma when just down the road from his home he came upon a crowd of people. Having had some documentary experience, he found this situation to be ripe for documenting, so he pulled out his camera and began to record interviews from some of the bystanders. It turns out that a couple in a nearby flat had dumped a bloody newborn in the trash. As the garbage was being collected, a man found the baby. Someone contacted Happy Life, as they specialize in taking in abandoned babies, and they rescued the child and took him to the hospital.
It grieves me to say this, but this isn't uncommon. If babies aren't able to be aborted, this is the next best method. Couples resort to these measures because they can't afford the child, but the young women abandon their children because they are only in Nairobi for studies and they can't handle the judgment of dealing with their family's disappointment when they return to their respective villages.
Knowing the Season
Fast forward four months to the moment that I'm holding the very child Ray encountered that dark day. He's now healthy, content, and well taken care of. Praise God for such organizations as Happy Life. As I described the state of abandoned babies to a friend of mine last week, she asked if I take the weight of their plight home with me or if I find myself getting depressed about the situation. Oddly enough, though my heart cries for these children (I had to hold back my tears the first day I held those sweet babies), I know that in this season I can't do much more than what I'm doing. One day I will be better equipped to do more about this, but for now if the only testimony the babies can give of my presence there is, "I was hungry and you fed me," then I'm doing the best I can.