I’m sorry it has been so long since I’ve posted a blog. It’s been a tough transition coming back to Swaziland this year. It seems like everywhere we turn there’s an issue or someone closes the door in our face. I know that is not really true, but some days it seems that way. So I have struggled to figure out the words to convey in a somewhat positive light what has been going on. And now I am so far behind that I don’t know where to start. I guess I must start somewhere so here goes.
Remember Nomile? She is the 2 1/2 year old little girl who had been abused and neglected by her gogo (grandmother) and was in the hospital for about 3 weeks before I left for the US. The last post I did of her was on November 24, 2009 at http://chrisinswaziland.blogspot.com. Nomile had gotten so much better and was ready to leave the hospital. The day before I left Swaziland to come back to the US for Christmas, I took a social worker (who knew none of the history of Nomile) to Thoko’s house and they walked to Nomile’s grandparent’s homestead to have a meeting with the grandparents to observe the homestead and get their consent to put her in a home. When they got to the grandparent’s homestead, both grandparents were not at home and refused to talk to the social worker. The rural health motivator for their area was at the homestead. She told the social worker that the grandparents had given the child to her. Evidently heated words were exchanged between Thoko and the rural health motivator so the meeting ended. The social worker said Nomile would be returned to the grandparents and if the grandparents wanted to give the child to the rural health motivator they would have to go to the police station and fill out an affidavit to that effect. The social worker, Thoko and the rural health motivator walked back to Thoko’s house so I could take the social worker back to Manzini. Thoko was also coming because we had a lot of things to finish up before I could leave at 8:00 the next morning to catch my plane in Johannesburg. The rural health motivator wanted a ride to her homestead. Believe me, I didn’t want to give her a ride, but the Holy Spirit intervened and reminded me to have a Christian spirit. But The Holy Spirit also prompted me to say very clearly in a voice loud enough that they could hear in the back seat that I was done with Nomile. I said I wasn’t going to pay one more dime for anything for her. Needless to say Thoko and I were speechless, shocked and extremely angry.
When we got back to Manzini, I went to tell the Dr. that she would be going back to the grandparents. He just looked at me and said “you can’t let that happen. She will be dead in 6 months.” I told him I couldn’t do anything about it and just broke down and cried. Then he REALLY didn’t know what to do! I also went to talk to the social worker. She didn’t go into the office but went directly to lunch. However, another social worker was in the office and she is the one Thoko and I had talked to many times about Nomile. Once again when I told her the other social worker was returning her to her grandparents I just broke down and cried. She held me and I cried and cried and then I had to leave.
I had no choice but to put Nomile into God’s hands because I was leaving the next morning. God had plans. I don’t really know what events happened or in what time frame because I was in the US, but the grandfather came into the social welfare office at the hospital and signed away their rights to Nomile. He said she couldn’t come back to their homestead or to the community or she would be harmed. The one social worker that we had been talking to knew that I knew a woman in Mbabane that had a home for abused, orphaned or abandoned kids (The Sandra Lee Center.) She had just sent the little girl in the crib next to Nomile to her home. So arrangements were made to send Nomile there as well. Nomile had to stay in the hospital until January because Robin, the woman who runs the home in Mbabane had already told most of the staff that they could go home for the holidays.
In March, I went up to the home and visited with Robin and Nomile. Robin said it took Nomile awhile to warm up to people but that she is a sweetheart and was adjusting and getting along fine. She had a new little friend that is in the same group home with her. Nomile was quiet with me, but did let me hold her right away. I took her to play in the yard and she wandered around so free. She climbed the slide and laughed when she came down and when I put her on the swing, she knew how to hold on and tried to pump a little. It was such a blessing.
Nomile playing at her new home, the Sandra Lee Center in Mbabane: