This is Grace, a baby with a startling beginning to life. Several months ago Grace’s father had died. Grace’s mother had become unhinged with grief. One day mother and child were standing at a bus stand in the bustling town of Mafinga approximately an hour and a half away from Igoda village where Ruth and I stay. With them was the sister of Grace’s deceased father. Her name is Matha. Grace’s mother asked Matha to hold Grace while she went on a very quick errand. The mother didn’t return from her errand and has never been seen again.
Matha lived in Chogo village, 117 km from Mafinga. The Foxes NGO had built a basis clinic in Chogo. Matha had initially gone to the clinic for help. Meanwhile distant relatives of Matha who worked at a tea estate near Igoda’s Children Village or orphanage suggested she take the baby there. When she met Geoff and Jenny, the NGO managers, she said, “I am only 19. How can I look after this baby?” With guidance and care Matha learned quickly. During the 4 months they stayed at the Children’s Village, Matha attended adult English classes, worked in the “baby house”, the nursery school and the orphanage’s market garden so that she would leave the Children’s Village enabled and empowered to care for baby Grace - to stand in mom’s place. Both baby and adopted mother are thriving!