Village Administrator Arusha SOS Children's Villages in Tanzania
Coming to a crossroad - Saving of twin babies
It was Monday the day which always is very busy. I was in my office going through week schedules and arranging what activity should come first and which will follow. While immersed in my work, the door was knocked. Without lifting my face I responded ‘Come in’! The door open and two men at their early forties entered accompanied by an old lady carrying two children. “There must be a problem” I said to myself.
After talking to them, I confirmed that there is a serious problem. The men actually were the delegates send by the community in another village to come to SOS with the aim of getting the children admitted to the village. Two days ago, the children who are twin sisters lost their mother and the only hope as the father abandoned their mother eight month ago accusing her that the pregnancy is not his. The lady who accompanies the men is supposed to be the grandma but she also rejected the children for the same accusation. The only hope for the children is SOS Children’s Village. Both twins were already having diarrhea probably because of cow milk they were given as the replacement of breast feeding.
Looking back to the village, there was no way to admit these two children because the last free space was filled up with the admission of a child three months ago. On the other side judging from the appearance, these men do not know any other place they could try. In short the only place that saves the children they know was SOS Children’s Village.
I was caught in the cross road. The easiest way is to tell them the reality that the village is full since three months ago and this could be also a reality. I have also many deadlines on my desk and I need to work them out. But if I choose that way the men will go back to their community with the children wait for them to die one by one as they have reached their limit.
I decided to put myself in their shoes. I grabbed my phone and tried to call other institutions providing child care in the region. At the beginning it was frustrating as most of them responded that they do not have any vacancy. After several calls I got one which after long discussion, accepted the children. I even told them about the condition of the children and the urgent need of the pediatrician. After short time, I was on my way with the children and the men.
The center was almost half an hour drive from the SOS Children Village. When we reached there we found the whole team there waiting for us. Immediately the children were taken away and give them bath as I said they were having diarrhoea. They dressed them with nice and warm clothes.
The doctor also attended the children and luckily enough he said nothing was serious except diarrhea maybe because of poor handling. I saw one man among the group shedding tears of happiness the way the children were accepted and treated.
I was very grateful that I choose to put on with the children, to be the instrument of getting them to a safer place. These children are now doing fine and have a decent life ahead of them. We sometimes give simple answers to tough questions and belief that we are right while actually we could make a difference just by allowing ourselves to be used by others. If I could not allow myself to be the instrument, then definitely the children could have died.
We sometimes comes to the crossroad in our life, but we should be wise to choose which way add value rather than which way is simple.
Lengai Sakaya Mollel
born in Arusha in 1966 in a Masai Community joined SOS CV Arusha in March 2005 as the Village Administrator.
His main responsibilities include supporting the village director with administrative matters so as to give him more time with the children. But often also Lengai carries out matters relating to children.
This is the most enjoyable time to him. In 2006 Lengai’s National Director selected him to join the regional youth development team for East Africa which was a great opportunity for Lengai to connect with co-workers from other countries. He also was appointed as village director from 2010 to 2012 which brought him close to children and youth. Although Lengai is currently administrator again he still works with children and young people and enjoys guiding them.
Lengai’s father was a polygamist and had six wives. Lengai is the second born of six children his mother has. Out of 32 children Lengai’s father had only three could get secondary school education and Lengai managed to get university education. Being father of a 16 and a 12 year old boy Lengai is married too. His family enjoys life and his boys are getting education.
In the community where Lengai lives only few children are able to attend school. Due to financial hardship they also hardly see a doctor when they get sick. This hardship is caused by many factors but among them are global warming leading to prolonged draught, unfair distribution of resources, big families compared to family resources and the effects of HIV/AIDS. Therefore it’s his prayer that the door for children from our community will be open soon to allow them to go to school too.
Through family strengthening programme Lengai participates in counselling the community about importance of having a small family they can take care of. “We also try to alleviate their burden by providing them with educational and health support and also give them training on income generating activities so they become self-supporting. I enjoy moments of sharing with the community, recruiting new programme participants or visiting them to evaluate the progress of the family”.