Arrived March 2012, Paul, four and his sister, Sheri, both suffering from EXTREME malnutrition; Paul weighed barely 23 pounds and Sheri weighed 29 pounds. How could anybody let it get to this point. They looked like their knees were just going to buckle right out from under them! Why weren’t the authorities notified sooner? Carla wasn’t prepared for the answer.
Nine months before they came, both of their parents (a pastor and his wife) were imprisoned for planning and carrying out the brutal murder of the wife’s mother. When this happened, all of the children’s relatives and tribesmen turned their backs on the kids because they were considered to be an abomination or a curse because of what their parents had done. Unbelievable! Incomprehensible! Totally inexcusable…. except that here, it is totally excused. It’s just the way it is!
There were a few neighbors who would toss them a morsel here and there. Other than that, they were on their own. Finally, somebody anonymously reported the situation to the police and the courts ordered that the children would be placed with us.
The sadness on their faces was downright disturbing. Malnutrition had taken their strength, but malnutrition can be overcome with a little food. Personally, I think malnutrition, while being the immediate physical need, is not their greatest need. The emotional malnutrition must run deep…maybe even there permanently! In one day, they lost their parents to prison. They lost their grandmother to the actions of their parents. They lost their status (children of the pastor) in their community. They lost every relative and tribesman that they had been associated with their whole lives. They lost their day to day sustenance. All they had left was their will to survive! I still can’t get my head around it! Here are two kids who have probably never in their lives seen a white person… yet when a couple of them show up and promise that if you go with them, they will give you food, they just get in the car without a moment’s hesitation! That is straight up survival mode!