“For Unto Us A Child Is Given…” (Isaiah 9:6)

This was how Father Pierre Dil recorded the arrival of Mutinta at St Nicholas’ Village for Children.

Mutinta lived just a few short years before AIDS took her away from us again. But in that time she made great strides in her development and was loved by everyone who came into contact with her.

The other children used to carry her around and spoil her, and all that love was returned with extra to spare.

A little Christmass present was delivered early to Makeni Centre… Mutinta, age one year and nine months, wrapped in swaddling clothes, was brought to our Orphanage Village of St Nicholas, ten days ago, by a nun from Chilanga Hospice, where her mother had died of AIDS.

As we unwrapped the little bundle, we first saw eyes so typical of starving AIDS babies, wide, turning in their sockets, unfocused. Her size and weight were those of a six-month-old. She can not walk or talk.

Sister Leonia told us that her grandmother, Mrs Nyangu, old and worn down, in despair had brought her to the Hospice where Mutinta’s mum had died. She explained that so many of her children had died, and left grandchildren in her care, that she could not cope anymore.

“Mutinta was too sickly, suffered from constant diarrhoea and sores around her mouth and eyes, and cried and cried…”

The grandmother was trying to survive by selling little bags of peanuts in the market – she just could not give the intensive care that Mutinta needed.

“Do with her whatever you want,” she said.

Now Mutinta has eleven new mothers – that is, the nine older girls in our orphanage and the housemothers! There is fierce competition who can carry her next on their backs!   A few days of several meals a day, high protein food and a well balanced diet and medical care, and Mutinta gave us her first smile yesterday! She also stretched out her hands to Mrs Judy Passmore, the chief housemother.

That’s when we discovered that Mutinta CAN talk — just one word so far, “Amai” — the best word in our human vocabulary, “Mummy, Mother”!

So, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a daughter is given,” and we thank and praise God for that precious little gift!

About Makeni Webmaster

I spent most of my youth in Makeni, growing up at the centre as it emerged from the bush, one building at a time. I now work in the UK as a lecturer in computer science.
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