Saturday, May 7, 2016
The most courageous moms I know
Dear moms in our program,
You probably woke up early this morning, and had no idea today was mothers day.
I couldn't help but think of you, all that you do in a day, and how you have inspired me.
You sweet mama, who was orphaned yourself at 2 years old and found yourself in a crowded refugee camp, alone. A family took you in, only to leave you alone as a street kid at 6. A solider in another country told you lies in your teen years, spoke what he knew you wanted to hear. You bore him 3 children, till he threw you out of his house. A shame to be thrown out, like dirt to be swept from the floor. Another man stepped in, and you bore him a child. You left back to your home country with your kids in tow, a newborn at your breast, and no place to go. You dream to someday learn to read and write. We keep encouraging you to dream a little bigger. To think of what you enjoy and would like to learn. You walk everyday 10 miles with tables, chairs, baskets, luggage, whatever you can, to earn a little bit of money to make sure your kids have enough just for that day. You rise early, and go to bed late. You momma, are my hero. You have refused to give up, to walk away. You dug dip and found your strength. And as you wept in our office, and shared your heart, your struggle, your past, I saw courage beyond words!
You amazing mama. You are a widow, with 4 children at home of your own. You found out a lady in your village with mental disability, and the mentality of a 6 year old, was pregnant. No one knew till this lady in her 40's, and minimum ability was pregnant till she was 8 months along. Your hands already calloused from the days toil in the dirt, to grow another crop. You could have shrieked back, and shut your door. But you stepped up and stepped in. Not just for that mother, but her baby. You fought with the mama with the most gentle touch, to try and get her to nurse the baby after it was born, yet the trauma of the rape and her mental disability, always made it a struggle. I will never forget our first home visit to you. I was drenched in sweat to make the long hike up the mountain. When we got there, we just hoped we caught you at home. And you were sitting outside on a blanket, feeding the mom, and the baby on your back, while your kids were just coming home from school. You have taught me to refuse to shrink back in need. You have taught me to step up and step in. You have taught me what it looks like to open your heart, your arms, and your home. You sold your first crop, just to buy a bottle and powdered milk for the baby. I am so glad we were able to provide you more bottles, and formula. Overtime I see you, this strong, confident, women walks in. And when your tears fall, you are all the stronger in my eyes. Thank you for refusing the shrink back in the face of need of a women who you had no obligation too. Thank you for showing love. You are a hero beyond words!
You mama, a widow also. Your feet stomp the ground, and your arms twist in ways I have no idea how, when you find work as a traditional dancer. Your son at home, and your husband's loss you still grief. Yet when a one year old was left abandoned, scared, alone. When others shrinked back, you stepped up. When others said "not my problem." you said "I will take her." I see your pain, when this sweet precious girl, still shrinks away from all adults. She cannot speak a word, and none of us know her trauma. Your love, your vision, your hope, has encouraged me. You came up with a plan and presented it to us like a boss, for mushroom farming. And I am so excited to watch you start on this endeavor. You are smarter, more couragous, than you know!
The baby was left by the river right after birth, and laid there for two days, alone, and crying. It was a miracle she survived. When you heard, as your own baby nursed at your breast, in an unfinished house, with rocks of the foundation on the floor. You stepped up and stepped in. You took this precious newborn into your arms, and nursed her alongside your own baby. Till you got sick and could not nurse either baby. A neighbor boy who only had his mom, and she died. You stepped up AGAIN and took him into your home as well. You dug deep into your pocket, and deeper into your heart. I see the kids surround you, and I see the sweet baby now a year who was left by the river, burry her face in your chest, for comfort. I see how the young boy and this sweet girl, are treated no different than your own children. I see them reach their arms to you for comfort, for love. And you know just how to calm their cries, to comfort their hearts. You could have stepped back, shrieked back. But you choose love. You choose action. You chose to give hope. Do you know you are a life saver? You have literally saved lives? Do you know how amazing you are? I will tell you this with every visit, and every tear.
You mama, who is in the hospital right now in Kigali. You know the sting of abandonment. You were left beaten and pregnant at the hospital. Now you are getting the care you need, and the hospital was your home for 6 months! You gave birth to beautiful twins, who wake me up in the night, as so many moms have shown me how to refuse to shrink back, but to step up and step in. Next week you will come home, and live again in community. I look forward to getting to know you. To getting to know your heart. You have changed me in more ways than you know. You have stolen my heart!
You mom, in a one room home you rent for just $6 a month. Your preschoolers running around, and your triplets. Two are asleep on the blanket on the floor, and one you are bottle feeding. Too malnourished yourself to have been able to produce enough milk. Your husband with epilpsy, and having 3-5 seizures a day. You wake up early to go fetch clean water for the home. You mop the dirt, rock floor. You have yet to have a good nights sleep, and I wonder how long it has been. You take care of not just two preschoolers and three newborns, but a sick husband. Your commitment is strong! Your loyalty a thing to admire. Your hard work, makes me feel like a wimp!
You mom who has a toddler, and newborn twins. We sat on your hospital bed, and held our breath as they resuscitated one of your babies. I prayed harder than I knew I could. I saw the strength, and fear in your eyes all at once, as you gripped my hand, with your other baby asleep on the bed. You stepped outside comfort zones, and traveled further than you ever have in your whole life. You ran out to find the medication needed to save your baby girl. You never left their sides in the hospital bed. I dont know how you make that walk everyday up and down the mountain to bring goods to your village, to make a little money. You do it many times a day with a baby on your back, and clean water for home on your head. You never stop. Your love, dedication, loyalty and love has challenged me. And when your baby left the hospital and we still watch and wait to see if one of your precious babies has brain damage from the lack of oxogen. You have not missed a beat! You have taught me to face trails with courage, with tears, and with prayer. You have taught me to dance to life. You have taught me love without limits and hesitation. You have taught me what it looks like to step outside your comfort zones, go further than you ever have, because love drives you. Life drives you. Hope drives you. Christ comforts you.
You new teen mom, raped, and rejected. You are coming into a program, with other moms, that will encourage you. Encourage you in your strength for choosing life. Who will applaud you for stepping up. Even though your rapist is in prison, and the baby now nurses at your breast. Your still a baby yourself. In a situation I am sure you never dreamed of. Your scared and alone. But if I know the community, this little group we have had come together. I know you will find hope, courage, strength, and vulnerability. You will be welcomed with open arms, and open hearts. I cannot wait for you to meet the other moms, the other babies.
Today mom's. You have no idea mothers are celebrated. And I can think of no other moms more worth celebrating. And as I type this, and the rain falls, I am sure your day has already begun. I am sure you are already rushing around fetching water, collecting firewood, getting the babies bathed, and kids ready for the day. Your hands have already been hard at work.
Thank you for your gifts of hope. For refusing the shrink back, but to choose to step up and step in. Thank you for teaching me about love and courage. You are heroes more than you will ever know.
Happy mothers day to the moms in our program.
You really do leave me in the dust!
We are trying to raise for an emergency fund.
Our program provides formula, health insurance, porridge, sugar, and powdered milk to these moms
and babies. But we have found in the first month of the program, we need an emergency fund, to cover ambulance's, to Kigali. Medications, and other dire situations that come up. We also currently have 3 babies in need of sponsors.
If you would like to sponsor one of the infants, please email me TinaInRwanda@gmail.com
for the information on how to sponsor.
If you would like to donate to our emergency fund, you can do so at
www.cten.org/tinazielke (All donations are tax deductible)