Now for a sweet story that brightened my day. I shared a part of the story on Facebook earlier today, but I wanted to go into more detail.
A few days ago, she was yelling something to me as I left the Center. The other kids were laughing. I asked an older child what she was telling me. She was saying, “Bye… I’ll come visit you!” Too funny! Girl friend, please come and visit anytime!!!
I have written about her before, little D we can call her. She has some developmental delays that we believe are from fetal alcohol syndrome. Her mother had been doing better, or so we thought. But recently she seems to be doing worse. MeManeo says every morning D is lying right outside her door when she wakes up. MeManeo says she is worried for her because she comes so early and doesn’t say anything. She isn’t sure how long D lays there and what time she is walking down to the creek and up to her house. D tells Memaneo she is hungry. Memaneo will feed her and let her go play behind her house until it is time for the Center to open.
I am worried for her. It is hard witness. She struggles too much for a little girl. A few weeks ago, she was walking with Tyler and I from the church to MeManeo’s house. We were holding hands and I asked her what my name was. She said, “MeMakgowa (Ma-Hooa-Ah)” and Tyler was “Ntate Makgowa.” Meaning to her, we were Mr. and Mrs. White Person.
We corrected her and told her our names. And every day since we have reminded her of our names. The other day, she knew my name when I quizzed her. I was so happy!
When we were at the Center today, D was not herself. Immediately when she came inside the church, she laid down and seemed to have fallen asleep. This isn’t too out her normal because she will often take naps during English and math time. But today was different, she was complaining of stomach pain. She wouldn’t even stand up to try on her new Christmas clothes. We went outside to take a picture of all the kids who had tried on their new clothes and while we were outside, she ran outside and around the building and collapsed down like she was inside. I asked MeManeo why she went outside to sleep and she said, “she wanted to vomit.” Her tummy was hurting so bad. I sat with her a few minutes and scratched her back while we encouraged MeManeo in some things to do to help her. MeManeo said she did not come to her house early today, so she did not feed her. Which is very different than the past few weeks when she goes there early in the morning. I was really worried about her. But trusted Memaneo would take good care of her and not leave her lying there by herself.
Later, I had to drive back to MeManeo’s house to drop something off. When I passed her village, I went slow looking for any sign of her. I wanted to see she made it home and was okay. I didn’t see anything. I kept going to MeManeo’s. I was going to ask for an update on D and how she was the rest of the day. But of course, MeManeo was not there so I got no answer. My worrying self thought, maybe D was so sick she had to take her to the clinic, I can be such a worrywart! I hopped in the car and headed back home.
This time though, going past her village, guess who was walking down towards the road? Little D! Now, why she was leaving home I may never know, but I was relieved to see her standing. I stopped the car and got out. She was looking at me like I was crazy, because we never get out of the car on the side of the road like that. I went over to her and got a big hug. I was speaking to her in English saying things like, “D where are you going? You need to go home. How are you feeling?” And all she would say was, “yes” and shake her head up and down. The sweet girl had no idea what I was saying and I have no idea how to speak Sesotho.
Then I remembered I had a protein bar in the car and thought maybe her stomach was hurting so bad because she wasn’t eating enough? And it was a chocolate protein bar, so it is pretty much a treat. Who wouldn’t want that? I called her over to the car and snuck the bar into her pocket. I said, “dijo (food) for you” hoping she would understand. She repeated “dijo” while holding her pocket.
I hugged her and said, “ke rata D” in my broken Sesotho expecting her to say “yes” and shake her head up and down. The sweet girl says, “ke rata makgowa.” My heart melted and tears filled my eyes. Who cares that she doesn’t know my name, she knows I love her and loves me enough to say it back! I was full of so many emotions. Happy to see her walking and not still in the fetal position. Worried to see the storm coming and her walking away from her house. Sad to know she wouldn’t have dinner tonight and wouldn’t feel love from her mother. Joyful to hear her tell me that she loves me. And thankful that our God loves us more than we can imagine.
I want to close with this sweet photo of D from a while back. We were all doing centers and we had set her up to practice writing her letters while we helped other children. We looked back to check on her and this is what we found.
Sweet sleepy girl!