Hello again! The time has come for me to move on from Cradle of Love Baby Home and fly out to Kenya! I am very sad to be leaving here tomorrow afternoon, but also excited to see what else God has in store for me. So far, I have seen some truly incredible things!
Let me start out by telling you “the rest if the story”. You might remember I introduced you to Rachel last time I posted. She is the cutie on the right. Rachel’s mother died of HIV and her father was too poor to raise his own daughter. He was moving around trying to find work to provide food and shelter for his own survival. He could not possibly give Rachel the nutrition and care she needed. Rachel was tested for HIV and came to Cradle of Love as an HIV+ baby. They welcomed her with open arms! She was given much love and even more food. (Did you see the size of her chubby cheeks?) With time, she became healthy and very well adjusted to life at her new home. I fell in love with her the minute I laid eyes on her beautiful face. She would smile at me when I walked in the room and giggled whenever I made silly faces! She seemed perfect.
One day, the director asked me if I would like to go to Rachel’s doctors appointment with the social worker. She needed to see an HIV specialist and she was a bit overdue. So we made the trek into town, via the dala dala (The local transportation – a van that should hold only 10 people that is usually packed with 20 people and continually picking up more people along the way). We arrived at her appointment and after waiting a short time, we were called in. I didn’t catch much of what happened next because I’m not quite fluent in Swahili yet, but the Dr. assessed Rachel and sent us to pick up her HIV medication. After that, we were instructed on the side effects of the medication and then the nurse tested her blood and walked out of the room. We waited for 10 minutes to see what the test strip would indicate. And it came back negative! How could that be? The social worker was absolutely beside herself. She kept saying that God touched her! God touched Rachel! So we prayed for her right then and there. We prayed that her result was not just a false negative, and that God would heal her forever. The nurse came back, took one surprised look at the test strip, and walked out again. She came back with another strip. The moment of truth… Did God truly free Rachel of HIV? Those 10 minutes seemed to drag by. Finally, we looked again… and it… was… negative!!!! She doesn’t have HIV! Can you believe it? This little bundle of joy could go on living her normal, sweet little life. They instructed us to return in a month for some eye therapy but little rachel was free of HIV! I knew I had to share her story because it shows the incredible power of the God I am serving! A true miracle.
Now everything else I write will pale in comparison to Rachel’s miracle. However, I will tell you a little more about Cradle of Love! The way they handle all these crazy, but cute munchkins, is by splitting them up into 4 separate groups of 7 or 8. We have the nursery, the crawlers, the wobblers, and the toddlers. My favorite group has to be the crawlers! They are all about 7 months to a year old and just too much fun. They are learning how to stand, clap, walk, fight, talk, and laugh. Their favorite song is “If you’re happy and you know it” and they want to be held more than anything else! They slobber on you like it’s going out of style, and sometimes they just want to snuggle. Some wine when it’s koolala (nap) time and can only be soothed by my melodious voice! 😉
The other super fun group is the nursery! Bath time, food time, changing time, play time, snuggle time. repeat. The tough part about the nursery is that they all start feeling the same emotions at roughly the same time. For instance, food time. All 7 babies start getting hungry at the same time and there are usually only 2 or 3 of us there to feed them. That means a couple of babies are happy, and a lot more babies are unhappy! Changing time is rough too ’cause the two ladies are changing the babies and I’m stuck with the stinkers! 🙂 At one point, we had so many crying babies, I attempted to keep them all happy. First, I sat down. Then, I started out by putting a baby in each arm. I then laid one on my legs, held the hand of one more, and rocked one with my foot all while singing to them! Such wonderful times and memories!
Now the kids are not the only creatures we have around here. We also have monkeys! One day, I was headed to hangout with the babies, when I saw what seemed like hundreds of monkeys. I was not in a zoo, park or animal reserve; they were in my backyard! I immediately grabbed my camera and started going crazy. It was fascinating. Monkeys flying from branch to branch. Mothers carrying their babies. Alpha monkey trying to show dominance. Scavengers eating from the compost pile. I could not have enjoyed it more. I hope you can share in the excitement a bit!
Well it is getting late, and tomorrow is a full day. I must say goodbye to all these little beauties, and be off to the Mara West. Next stop, Kenya!
P.s. Here is a picture of my Valentines date this year! Isn’t he cute? 🙂