I have been asked to work with one particularly bright first-grader. As one of the Sisters said, “our smartest kids are the ones we fail the most.” A place like this is aimed at rescuing kids from terrible situations in a society/culture that has been decimated by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Some of these kids have the most tragic histories I’ve ever heard, so all the resources are put into re-nourishing them physically, rehabilitating them for school, and re-nourishing them psychologically. But everyone is so busy saving the lives of these incredibly high-risk kids, that people hardly ever have the time to give extra attention to the few kids who show real potential.
I found out today that a nurse visited the baby’s mother’s house again and was finally able to find her birth certificate. According to the birth certificate, she was born in October 2010 (this may not be 100% accurate, but it’s the best we’ve got). So that means she’s not as old as I thought. So perhaps it also means she’s not as developmentally delayed as I was afraid!
Today one of the men who works in Child Care came in to talk to me while the baby was dancing on the counter with a big smile on her face. He said “you know, when she first came I thought she was mentally slow because she never reacted to anything. But she is so healthy and beautiful now! We really are restoring life.” Restoring Life is the catchphrase for this mission. Anyone who has lived in the area over the past 15 years knows this is true, because back before the clinic and ARVs, people were dying on a daily basis; entire families were being wiped out. So rarely do you get to witness such a tangible example of the good, life-restoring work that is done here on a daily basis—but the baby is proof.