It seems like nearly every time I go away for a while, children come to the orphanage. A few years in a row now I've been introduced to new children upon my arrival home.
Samuel arrived at Kazembe Orphanage just after Jasmine and I left for the U.S this year. We were actually still traveling in Europe when we heard the news. Thankfully Brent and Sarah stepped up and took over his care and he has thrived.
About a month before my return to Zambia, Tom called me to say that he had taken in a 14 month old girl. Her mother had passed away 3 months before. The family decided that they had no one in the family able to care for her, and so they made the decision to bring her to us.
Tom told me on the phone that he was impressed with how well Josephine had settled in. He said she didn't even cry when a staff member took her from her father's arms and carried her into the dining room. Once there, she sat in a high chair (probably for the first time ever) and proceeded to eat with all the other children.
"It's like she's always been here", Tom commented.
And that's when my heart broke.
It's simply not normal for a child of that age to move so seamlessly to a new situation. It shows that she has been most likely passed around from relative to relative since her mother's death (and perhaps even before if the mother was very ill) and so has been unable to form any attachments.
I longed to get home and meet Josephine and see for myself how she was doing.
When I did return, I was introduced to the sweetest and most beautiful little girl. She is positively adorable!
However, I noticed that she held back from activities. She seemed to be keeping herself in reserve, choosing to watch the events unfold rather than partaking in them.
I was told also that the staff members weren't going out of their way to care for her and play with her. Since she was quiet and undemanding, they were happy to let her do her own thing.
I started to try to reach out to her. I began to play a little nursery rhyme/hand game each time I saw her. It has a 'teddy bear' going around her hand and then climbing up to tickle her under her arm. My goal was to have her learn to anticipate the ending so she could see that some things stay the same, and by anticipating the tickle at the end, she might engage a bit. And slowly it started to work.
Best of all though, has been having Kathrin, a grandmother from Switzerland, come out to volunteer for the summer.
She has been working specifically with the baby group--paying personal attention to each one during the day. Kathrin has reported that Josephine is coming out of her shell much more. She is beginning to play and interact.
I'm so very happy!
One of my goals while traveling around the U.S was finding partners to team up with us to sponsor children. So far we have no sponsorship for Josephine. Would you like to be part of her team? If so, please click on the donate button up on the right sidebar. Thanks!