Normally a month can’t pass by without arranging a trip to visit some of the discharged children. When the month goes by without implementing the activity, we feel sorry and bad thinking that we have failed to execute the duties in a noble manner. Follow up visits is one of the main activities Mzuzu Crisis Nursery implements. Many children who were once under the good care of the Nursery have been visited. During the visits, several supports are being offered to both the guardians and children themselves such as psychosocial support, food stuffs, clothes, guides on child care and etc.
This month of March 2013 was time to visit Blessings Musi one of the handsome children we have ever cared for. The boy came to the Centre on September 28, 2011 weighing 2.56kgs and was discharged with body weight of 11.5kgs. The boy lost his mother just some days after his birth. With God’s guidance, he was welcomed at the Centre after receiving a call from Mzimba District Social Welfare Office.
It pleased us to discharge him to his relatives and hoped that the boy would continue having good health at home. The relatives were happy too to receive him back home after 14 months away from home. He was in good health and happy with body weight of 11.5kgs. The relatives assured us that the child won’t suffer or lack anything at home because the home was already prepared for his return. They prepared some food, good place to sleep for him, caregiver and etc. The Nursery was very glad and happy to hear about their willingness to welcome the child.
Bad thing happened to the boy! When we visited him this month (March) he was found in bad shape though seemed recovering well from the sickness he has had. We were not pleased with his appearance despite he looked clean. He looked malnourished with curled hair. The parents claimed that it was due to the long sickness he has had as a result of change of environment and water. During his sickness he completely lost his appetite for food. The hospital was 3 times visited and got assisted. With the loss of appetite it had made him lose 3 kgs of body weight. We were shocked and unimpressed to see a child losing 3 kilos but we encouraged and advised them to continue feeding him with food full of nutrients so that he regains his weight as soon as possible.
We are very hopeful that the child would change for the better. Despite the boy is malnourished, he was able to smile, talk, dance with friends, eat and etc. He also sleeps under well treated mosquito net. The Nursery assisted him with likuni flour, clothes, sugar, salt, soap, Vaseline and toys. The items are to help him as he recovers from the problem. The Social Worker warned the relatives about the dangers of starving the child; he strongly advised them to make sure that the boy regains his weight as soon as possible. The relatives agreed to adhere to the pieces of advice given to them. They promised that next time we go to see him; we will find him a changed man in good health. His smile concurred well with his relatives’ words of assurance like saying, “I will be fine.”
The family of Blessings is like this: the grandfather of Blessings has 3 wives with 24 children all together. Blessings grandpa has a brother who also has more than one wife and has 22 children. They are all living on the same piece of land with each wife having her own house but well coordinated with other wives and children. Just two men have more than 40 children and many grand children.
The family is of John Malanga Apostolic Church. They call themselves Christians and allow a man to marry more than one wife. The religion doesn’t permit women to speak in public church meetings in the presence of men. The religion prohibits their members from seeking any medical assistance from the hospitals. Apart from Blessings, all the children in the family were not born in the hospital and have never had any vaccinations administered to them in their life. It’s wrong to believe in medicine but prayer is a perfect practice. They have their own traditional birth attendants who are older in years.
Though they don’t seek medical attention their children are strong and happy. It is so because they have enough food to feed their families. When the disease goes beyond their prayer capacity, the elders decide to seek for medical assistance though it is always too late.
The area has more than eight houses for wives and married children. They are all happy together and the children don’t lack friends to interact with. All the children go to school and have access to clean water from the borehole.
It is not a problem for them but perfecting their religion principles.