Pastor called me over to listen. He was sitting with a young boy and old woman.
He introduced her as Madam Pigourne and asked her to tell me the story. She stood up and very dramatically, with lots of hand gestures and shouts, told this tale while Pastor interpreted:
“I am old – very old, 82 years. I hurt when I walk but I go each day to the river. This day was 12 years ago. As I walk I see a bad lady, she holds a bebe’ like this on top of the river.” (using her bible, she mimed holding a baby above her head, ready to throw it.)
“She maybe sick…maybe I don’t know. She want be rid of bebe’. She want bebe’ die in river.
God make me run – God take pain from my foot so I run fast to lady. I yell, “Give it to me! Give it to me. She say, No!”
“She still want throw bebe’ in river. I yell, Give it me. She say, No, I can’t. I yell, Give it to me. Then she did. She give it to me.
“And I go out, and tomorrow I go to police station and they believe me. Police tell me to go to judge so I can keep bebe.’ Judge say, You want to keep? I say yes. He say, Can you take care of bebe’? I say, Yes, God will help me.
“So judge say yes. What name will you give him?
“I say, his name is Moise (Moses) because God save him from river.
“He was 1 year old but he didn’t move anything. Because he had no food. I take to doctor. Doctor say Moise will never move for walk or talk. He maybe die soon.
“I feed him good and take care of him. At 2 years he still no walk or move.
“But then he move. See how strong now? But I can no take care of him. I go to Lord soon. Not good for me to have boy. I have no food. And no school money.
“I have papers. See? Judge said Moise is my boy.
“See, he is my bebe’? Now I give him to you. You can give him food and school, wi?”
I was sneaking glances at Moise through all this, and he was watching his Gramma with love. I asked Pastor to ask him how he felt about leaving his Gramma and living here. Moise thought for a long time, then he smiled and said, “When I live here, my Gramma still love me.”
Pastor didn’t hesitate to welcome Moise – he explained the “Principle” to him (rules the children must live by): he must agree to go to school, work hard in school, go to church, show his new brothers and sisters respect and love, respect Pastor and Madam and the older children. He must show respect for himself by staying clean and brushing his teeth, he must never leave the compound by himself…I can’t remember them all, but they all made sense.
That was 3 days ago and Moise is adjusting very well to being here – he usually has a smile of his face. He and another new boy, Stanley, visit my balcony in the morning while the other children are at school. We do leko’l (school) together. Moise is very bright, even understands some Angle’ and is a very talented artist.
I think I understood his Gramma to say he plays music – guitar. I want to clarify that – if he does, wouldn’t it be cool to get a guitar for the orphanage?
Orphanage now has 46 children– last time I was here, there were 35!