Thursday, October 15, 2009
The Worth of Babies
Our friend Rose stayed with us for a week and as usual our friendship took another turn in the road-this time high into the mountains. She has recently returned from Malawi, one of the world's poorest countries where her charity, educatethesechildren.org has for years struggled to take care of and find homes for aids orphans. Besides being one of the poorest countries Malawi also has one of the highest rates of HIV/aids which has the result of creating a demographic of the very old and the very young. One evening after dinner she was curled up on our couch-her home away from home and we were talking about grandbabies-her Tiernan and our Samaya. We talked about how blessed we were at this stage of our lives to have such divine wonders breathe new life into our hearts every time we are with them. Karen and I don't have to sleep on a friend's couch to see our Samaya as she lives right down the street with our precious daughter and son-in-law so we are doubly blessed. Rose then told us a bedtime story we will remember for the rest of our eternal lives. She was walking down a dirt street in the capital of Malawi when she looked down and noticed something slightly unusual about one slightly irregular patch of earth. Her first thought was that someone might have buried an unwanted puppy-a common occurrence in this desperately poor country when an animal could not be sold. She bent down and began scooping out handfuls of earth when to her horror she saw the face of newborn baby. The training of her former life as a nurse came back to her as she frantically and delicately removed dirt from her throat. She was still alive-already her humanity emerging-one moment a small mound of earth and the next a face trying to breathe-to take her small portion of the world. Rose freed her from her intended grave and made sure she received life saving medical attention. So what is the worth of a baby-in some parts of the world the price on the street can be ten dollars or five if the baby has aids. It looks like this little one with the help of Rose's charity will make it. Her weight has gone from three pounds to eight pounds and if can get a photo of her I will post it, but I don't know if I can look her in the eye. Why? because the last few years Rose's health has deteriorated along with her finances and each time she returned to the the states she ended up in the hospital and for what I thought-to put a chewing gum patch on the African roof where it is always raining. So now I go to bed a fool-just a face albeit a wrinkled one with white hair trying to breathe and hold on to my portion of earth a little longer and hopefully a little less begrudging of others large and small trying to do the same thing.