In the wee hours of the Eid-al-fitr, my sleep was cut short by a loud thud in the backyard. My siblings and I rushed to check out what was happening. On top of the mabati roof on our neighbor’s house laid a bundle wrapped in an old shawl. On looking closer, we found what we least expected. Covered in amniotic fluid lay a premature baby girl and a fresh umbilical cord still attached. She had just been delivered. Next to her lay a placenta, her only connection to her unknown mother.
My mother, a medical practitioner, immediately picked the baby and delivered first aid checking for injuries. Luckily, she was barely hurt. Investigating further, we realized that the baby had been dumped from the fourth floor of a nearby flat.
Thrown off like trash, deserted, left in the cold, unprotected and without love by her mother. Seeing such a beautiful baby tossed into this cruel world without anyone to take care of her drove me to tears. I simply could not comprehend how one can treat their own flesh and blood in such a manner! Why would anyone throw away such an innocent child? How will the kid grow up without her mother’s love, protection and much needed advice to navigate the murky waters of childhood all through to adulthood?
After we covered her with warmers clothes, she let out little sobs perhaps aware of her predicament. If she survived such an ordeal without a graze, then she will definitely make it in life.
Cases of infants abandoned in our neighborhood have been on the rise of late. Mwatate Healthcare Centre in Tassia has become the default home to these little angels rescued by good Samaritans. In the past three months alone, we have taken in three little girls. The first was found in a dumpsite. A few minutes too late and she might have ended up as a meal to the hungry mongrels scavenging the rubbish for food. Another was found in a vegetable kiosk left for dead and now this one dropped off a building with the intention of smashing her to death. Sadly, two boys bled to death with their placenta hanging by their cord at the same dumpsite.
Such events tend to leave more questions than answers. What led to this? Who are their parents? Are their parents at peace after committing such a heinous act?
A greater percentage of the population in Kenya comprises of the youth. The youth comprise of those between the ages of 18-35 years. This group is the most susceptible to unplanned pregnancy and consequently abandoning of kids.
We cannot wait on the government to solve our problems. We ought to find solutions to issues affecting our lives. I have resolved as a young woman concerned about the health of my fellow sisters and their young ones. They are the most vulnerable, bear scars that may never heal, draining them both emotionally and physically.
The first step is to make a difference in the cases of unwanted pregnancies by sensitization. All young women should be enlightened about their sexual reproductive rights. These include; family planning, dangers of using emergency contraceptive pills, abortion and dangers if not done well. One needs to know their baby’s worth, intensity of carrying a child and what’s needed to ensure its welfare is well taken care of. One should not rush to make a decision out of ignorance.
“You do not need to offer big things for you to change the world,” one friend told me. “Most times it is the little things done out of love that really matter.” I would like us all to take part in doing something whoever small it might be in changing this sad trend.
If we share our experiences and empower one another, infant mortality and maternal death rates will go down. Most importantly, we should fight stigma that is associated with early pregnancies. Instead of demonizing young ladies who get pregnant outside wedlock, we should give them moral and financial support they dearly need. Once this is done, I am sure cases of children abandoned by young parents will be a thing of the past.
I call upon all young girls out there to be responsible of their health and that of their off springs. Guard what you own and take care of it. Have that confident allure that will make you a wise home runner in future.
The responsibility of taking care of children does not fall solely on the women. Men should step forward and stand by their women during such trying times. Remember that next time it might happen to your sister.
I am very passionate about women empowerment and sensitization. If you want to be part of this noble cause please follow my group’s movement on Facebook “minky wanja” or twitter handle @wanjaminky. Any ideas or thoughts on how we can eliminate this vice and support the young mothers will be greatly appreciated
By Minky Wanja
Miss K.U 2nd runners up