Every year on mother’s day, I send messages to the mothers that have been there throughout my life. The main one herself,her friends, my friends who have little babies that can barely say ‘mama’ let alone happy mother’s day and my friend’s mum’s. That last group has made me lose a
few friends. Their mother’s attack them for not sending messages and say but “Why can’t you be like Esther who remembered?” As a result, for those I really want to text, I first encourage the daughters to communicate so that I send mine MUCH later! For others, I just stopped so I could salvage the friendships..smh
This year, I sent one of my mum’s friends a message and her reply was “Happy Mothers’s day to you too.” I laughed and replied that I was still a ‘baby’ and thus did not qualify to have such a title. Her reply was ” You are more of a mother than all of us. Don’t you have 90 children?” I shrugged. I did not qualify to have that title, not at all! The number of children has since risen to 108 though. However they have a ‘real’ mother. Ms. Maria Kiwumulo who started the home and has dedicated her life to looking after them.
Word got out that 40-40 was working with the children at God’s grace orphanage and as a result, different groups have been getting involved to help out where they can. One such group is the rotary club of Kampala South. They came, were touched by what they saw and decided that she deserved an award for her efforts. Truth be told, there is no tangible gift or amount of money that can equal the love of a mother but appreciation goes a long way in re affirming one’s position.
This award ceremony took place last night. I thought I would see her in all her glory as she enjoyed her moment of fame. However, prior to my trip there, Maria called to tell me that 20 children were ill. I called a friend to get me some drugs so I could just pay and run back to work. She ended up getting the babies some fruity cereal as well. I was amazed.
Armed with packs of malaria meds, pain killers and the boxes of cereal, I returned to office and impatiently waited for the 5 o’ clock hour. It finally arrived.
The sight that I found waiting for me was something I would never have fathomed. Several children of all ages were sitting on the floor of the sitting room cuddled in groups, some in tears, others shivering and most just coughing. It looked and sounded devastating..all of it. *sigh*
I sat there feeling helpless for a split second but eventually got back to my senses. We sent for milk and made sure every child who had an ailment got pain killers at least as we tried to find a doctor who would make the necessary diagnoses. Does that word sound wrong to you? It does doesn’t it? Well it is correct..Ivy league education is good for you:) * I digress*
The mood was somber. How was I to keep strong when all I wanted to do was break down? It was not an option though. So Maria asked “mama w’abaana ngende?” (Literal meaning mother of the children should I still go?) I told her to leave and I would stay with them. This night was her chance to also enjoy some fruits of her labour. I couldn’t allow her to miss it.
A few minutes after her departure I simply sat down and drifted off into some sort of trance. I got out of it only when I noticed that baby Faith who had fallen asleep in my arms had done a number one on me and I was conveniently wearing a white skirt. I smiled:) I would go home after this so it did not matter. She was so peaceful. We got her a pamper, fresh sleep suit and pretty blanky and she was back in my arms. I had to take a walk to keep from breaking down.It was such an emotional roller coaster.When I got to the verenda, I found some of the children having praise and worship. As we sang, a hymn that I really love came up.
Precious Jesus, I am ready to surrender every care
Take my hand now, lead me closer Lord I need to meet you there
This was exactly how I felt. Under the moonlight in my little shade I could surrender, without having to stifle emotions. When I looked at Faith in all her peacefulness, I said so many prayers; For her future and those of all the other children, for life, for joy, for peace in this life.
When I got back into the house little Esther knelt down before me and said “Mukama y’ebazibwe” I must have taken a whole minute before responding. *Sigh
The P.7 candidates had a teacher over helping them with maths. I could hear ‘rhombus, parallelogram and other Arabic words. The teacher was encouraging at times but often rude and hasty. They have no dad or mum to go home and whine to after this..That is all I was thinking.
We take food for them, cater to their education and everything we can but in all our conversations have we re affirmed our love for them? Do they know that they can tell us anything and trust us to keep a secret when we need to? Do they know that they are not alone? I had so many questions.
As I sat pondering, I turned to my left.Ronald was wincing in pain. He could barely speak.I am always teasing him about his shyness and we have ‘fights’ when he doesn’t hug me. This time round,his face only had dried out tears. I could barely look at him. I was the ‘shy’ one. *my heart hurt so bad.* Is this what motherhood ultimately feels like?
I know there are several good times that make it worth it but last night I got home with a heavy heart and barely slept. One can only imagine what Maria goes through for 365 days.
So,to my very own mother who has had to nurse me for all those hours since my childhood (and they are not few) for the mothers who have had to withstand tough conditions with meagre resources to raise their children, those children who have become mothers before their time, those individuals who have come out great even without an
actual mother by their side but most of all, for those mothers that have decided to take care of children whom they have no blood relation to, only linked by love and the goodness of their hearts, I salute you.
You make this world more beautiful just by being in it*
God bless you*