Happy Birthday Miriam, and Beginning to Spread the Light

Today is an exciting day for us at The Small Things, and also for our friends over at Cradle of Love orphanage, another orphanage in the area that cares for children up to two or three years old. Last April, you may remember we had a very stressed out delivery of a gorgeous little girl named Miriam. She had had a difficult go of it – her mother was and is seriously mentally ill and several other babies she had before Miriam had not survived. It was time for Miriam to leave Cradle, but there was nowhere for her to go – the aunt who had brought her in now had Miriam’s mother living with her, and didn’t think she could keep Miriam safe. So she came to us instead – and it’s been a blessing. Today is her third birthday.

Her first few days were heartbreaking – she was so scared of everything and everyone, and basically didn’t stop crying for days. The only times she calmed down were when a foreign volunteer held her – we now think this is because she had formed a close bond with a wonderful volunteer from Cradle named Kezia, and so she felt like we were safe territory. It was so hard to watch – from my house just below the orphanage, we could hear her crying day and night, and just didn’t know how to help. 

Miriam and Kezia at Cradle of Love
Warming up at the birthday party

Luckily, she came at a good time – two days later was the day we held a birthday party for all the kids (since they don’t usually get acknowledgement of their individual birthdays), so they all got cake and new toys – a nice welcome for a tiny scared girl! She began to brighten up and interact with the other kids. In time, she became very close with the other little girl almost exactly her age, Maureen kubwa. Since Maureeni is a little bit of a bossypants, they made a very cute and funny couple, Maureeni showing Miriam how things worked at Nkoaranga – both just barely two years old. 

Vicki and Miriam

This December and January she made another close friend, as Vicki Crisp (the older sister of our board member, Bethan) joined us to meet the kids. Poor Miriam had a case of malaria and needed some extra cuddles. By the time she was feeling better, she had attached to Vicki like a barnacle – and vice versa! – so they were inseparable for a few weeks. Miriam is quiet but sneaky – she gets under your skin and into your heart fast. 

Miriam is so big, beautiful, and confident now, and we are so honored to have her with us. She’s just started preschool with us, and will be ready in two years for sponsorship and to start school with The Foundation For Tomorrow. We’re so happy to have her as part of the Nkoaranga family.

Beautiful girl just last week!
In other news, Light Up the Night is progressing beautifully. We raised the first $2,200 we needed, and so the electrical rehabilitation of the orphanage has begun. Construction officially started this week on the 27th. The first priority is getting all outlets and switches repositioned out of the range of the kids. Then the underlying wiring will be examined inch by inch and replaced wherever necessary, and the entire system will be properly grounded to prevent shorts and surges that are dangerous and also seriously shorten the life of the all-important washing machines. It’s a huge undertaking and we’re thrilled that it has already begun. Thank you so much for your generous donations. We still need to raise another $3,800 for the solar panels in the orphanage, and another $3,500 to install solar panels in the maternity ward as well. Later this week I’ll share a story that emphasizes how crucial that part of the project is. You can go to the page for more details, or click below to donate directly to “Light Up the Night.” 

Thank you for being part of our journey!
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