Friday, September 30, 2011

Ghost Monster

Today I got to hold babies!! We all know that’s the real reason I came here.

The only problem with this baby holding session was that the babies hated in, they were sobbing as soon as I squatted down towards them. And they would continue to squeal until they were in their mother’s arms. It was like someone had a ‘pause’ button…they would instantly stop whining, but if I edged towards them…more complaints, I step away…pause. Understandable because being surrounded by beautiful brown skin, I was probably one of the first ghost monsters they had ever seen.

The spot that I went to is a section outside the hospital that houses mothers and their sick toddlers, in order to teach them how to take care of their children. So for at least a month, these brave women and their babies sleep and eat right next to each other in this outdoor, walled in area.  This place specifically broke my heart when I was given a tour because the babies are SO TINY. There are flies all over their faces and in their ears and noses, their black hair is blonde from lack of protein, they have fire hose arms and legs, and most of them look like infants until they smile and you see teeth.

So timidly (I asked God like 54xs if He thought it was a good idea), I thought I would go over and love on these kids, or give the mothers a change up from an otherwise not very eventful day (what their taught is so helpful but like the time consuming classes we know of), or see if any of the Nigeriens needed help (no white people work there…making me even more of a monster) after I finished with school.

Too bad the babies hated me!

But, because God is creative, the mothers loved it. Not in a cruel way, just in an entertained way. They laughed and laughed when their baby would whine if I neared them and laughed more at my (probably dramatic) shocked reaction. Others would line up and call me over to see if their child was gonna hide its little face. And everyone cheered and laughed when one little trooper (my personal favorite now, duh) let me hold her.

The laughing turned into an invitation to sit on their mats, they practiced speaking Haussa with me, showed me how to grind their grain, and asked when I was coming back. We even had a successful joking session with just gestures about how if I tied a baby to my back and started batting grain, that poor baby would be a goner.

And by the end, the babies weren’t so scared of me. And the mothers had laughed a lot that day. So thanks, God! for using me to give a lot of brave women some joy, even though it was in the opposite way that I had expected. And I hope You’re proud of me for not stealing a single child.


  1. Jen- Love the moment that you captured with this post; and I'm glad that Niger's little ones are warming up to you! The women there seem so strong and courageous, caring and fighting for the lives of their families. Just your presence and joyful spirit must have been a rich blessing to them... even if you did wreak havoc trying to hold their little darlings :) Keep up the good fight sister...

  2. i was anxiously waiting for the confirmation you gave in the last line. i'm proud of you for not stealing anyone... seriously though. good job