By Claire Purcell
Whilst I was spending the day helping at The GLO Mercy received a phone call from the Police Station in nearby Mtwapa that two abandoned children were on their way into the Station and needed to be taken to the orphanage. Mercy and George gathered clothing and paperwork ready to collect the children. On the way to the police station Mercy explained that the two children had been left by their mother with a neighbour but she did not know any other details. John & Evelyn trustees from Mikoroshoni School in Shanzu were visiting the orphanage so decided to come along to see exactly what happens when abandoned children arrive at the Police Station.
We waited at the police station for a short while and during this time learnt more about the children. Raymond is 2 years old and baby Mary 8 months, the mother had left the children for 2 months but she now could not be traced. When the neighbour arrived with the 2 children, baby Mary was clearly weak and little Raymond looked fearful.
The neighbour told Mercy that she was very worried about baby Mary as she had become weak due to an illness and she did not have enough money to care for the children never mind a sick child. As she has witnessed Mary becoming weaker and weaker she became very concerned that the baby could die so decided to bring them to the Police Station as a last resort after weeks of trying to locate the absent mother. We changed the children into some of the clothing Mercy had brought and awaited instructions from a very helpful Policewoman.
After many phones calls and discussions it was decided that the children would come to the GLO in the interim whilst they tried to locate either the mother or any extended family. George did explain that the mother may go to prison when she is found and she could be given a lengthy 4 year sentence if she wilfully abandoned her children.
In the minibus on the way back to the orphanage Raymond said nothing, He did not even cry, baby Mary was also quiet. I thought about my own daughter Niamh, she would be so scared if taken by strangers. I suspect she would of screamed the place down.
We arrived at GLO to a warm reception. All the house mother and aunties came out to greet the new children. It was delightful, everyone was so excited. The new children were passed around, kissed and hugged, everyone wanted to see them. George told the GLO children the names of the new children. The children all ran round saying “Raymond and Mary” over and over. My daughter Niamh was with her Nannie, Mama Mary. She came to me shouting “mummy”, all excited that I had returned. Niamh’s response really highlighted the sadness of these children being abandoned by their mother. I just don’t know how a mother could leave her child but also realise without The GLO Raymond and Mary would have remained in the Police Station until an alternative was found, it is indeed an oasis in the middle of the mayhem that is life outside the orphanage gates and in particular the nearby town of Mtwapa.
Seeing these photos of Raymond and Mary you would not recognise the frightened weak little children we brought here three weeks earlier, the dedication of the staff and the love & stability that surrounds these children now is very plain for everyone to see