Lord, send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.
Kemondo, May 27. 2012
Dear Friends and Supporters of St. Nicholaus Children’s Center!
Today we are celebrating the feast of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the Church. As I am writing this, a big celebration is going on at our church in Kemondo.
Since Easter we have received two new children. Annajoyce is 6 years old. She has Spina Bifida. Because of this disability, she has no stool and bladder control but she is learning to cope with it. Together with Aisha and Anita she now attends kindergarten and is doing well there. She can walk short distances. Her mother passed away in October of last year. The grandmother took Annajoyce and her four siblings in. The family lives in walking distance from our Center and they have already come to visit Annajoyce.
The same week that Annajoyce came to live with us little Chiara came as well. The principal of the school that our children attend told me about a very sick mother and a father who is not able to take care of the child. When we went to visit the family I learned that the mother had died the previous day. Without knowing it beforehand, I came right in time for the funeral of the mother. The family lives in a mud hut between banana trees and this is where the burial was. Three children of kindergarten and grade school age cried at the funeral of their mother. Someone went inside the hut and came back with a 4-months old baby and placed the child in my arms. I learned that the child was really 10 months old and weighed only 11 lbs. The father asked me to care for his child. My suspicion that the child is sick with AIDS and that the mother had died of this disease was confirmed with an HIV test the following day. Today, 6 weeks later Chiara weighs 13 lbs. She has a good appetite. She plays and laughs and I am hopeful that within a short time she will catch up with her overall development. On June 1st we are going to celebrate her first birthday. Her older siblings who have a different father are now living with their grandparents.
We now have 13 children – 7 girls und 6 boys. Seven children have disabilities, two children are HIV positive. It is not easy to give enough attention to all of them. At present I am looking for more caretakers so that we can share the work and have more time for the children. A special needs teacher from Switzerland who lives in the area, comes several times a week and helps us. It is difficult to find staff with an education in child care and in caring for the disabled, and so I am glad about the professional help from this special needs teacher.
We also have several pets, namely two dogs, two cats, two bunnies, three chickens and one rooster. We started a banana plantation and a vegetable garden.Every Saturday morning we have an outpatient clinic for disabled children in the area. The mothers enjoy coming with their children. It is good for the mothers to meet other parents of disabled children and the children benefit from the therapy. The new building for the clinic is almost completed. We hope to move in there by July. So far the clinic has been taking place in our living room.
We wish all of you the Holy Spirit of Pentecost and we are grateful for your continued support,
Stefanie Köster and the children and caretakers of St. Nicholaus Children`s Center Kemondo