The “windy season” has hit Mokhotlong, and the larger physical world finally seems to be on an even pace with TTL’s swift current of change.
Winter has lost its teeth, although it still gnaws away roughly enough at night. Spring is rapidly approaching. The trees are budding light green, the air has lost its crispness and gained a soft relief, and the nearness and strength of the sun in this altitude are again things to be reminded of.
Not to be outdone – and amidst the swirling, temperamental and powerful gusts that now shake the safe-home daily and deposit a layer of dust on everything in their path – the pace of recovery among the seven babies now in our care continues to quicken.
They are seven now because Neo left on Friday, gone home with her mother and father after a stint her mother spent at the hospital. Despite both parents being in the picture, Neo’s home life is a bit unstable, and I worry about her suffering for the insecurity. Still, our outreach teams will continue doing monthly check-ups to monitor her progress, and for that I rest a bit easier.
Boraki is back in the safe-home after spending a few days last week in the hospital with a high fever. He came to us so small and fragile that I was scared the fever would overcome his tiny immune system, but after a few days on an IV drip, he returned all the better.
I’ve since gotten him to smile a handful of times, making popping noises in his direction as I played with Selloane and Ntseliseng. In my time here, I’ve come to understand that the fastest way to get a child to trust you is to show him that other children trust you, and that seems to be the case with Boraki. I hope to win him over soon – not least to push him further toward normal movement for his age. Despite being 11 months old, Boraki is still limited to sitting up on his own, in the style of a much younger child. Hopefully, as he continues to eat and recover, he’ll start moving with the best of them.
Selloane continues to do extremely well, and will probably go home soon – a thought that is a bit sad for me. She just recently began saying my name – “Ntate Kebenny,” just like Seithati used to say – and I’ve no doubt become attached.
Ntseliseng, who I’m quite attached to as well, continues to develop in leaps and bounds, now walking – confidently if a bit unsteadily – across the entire playroom, an amazing feat given the state of her legs just a month or two ago.
Karabo just started an ARV regimen for her HIV that is making her nauseous, but hopefully she’ll get used to the regimen, or the doctor will tweak it, and she’ll be on a steady medicinal track soon.
Mpho and Nthabiseng, the tiny little boy and girl who have both lost a twin, are continuing to eat and grow.
Last Sunday I took Nkamoheleng to the private doctor in town for what seemed to be an infection in her eye. The doctor and I discussed her being born at home, the complications that can present for properly cleaning the baby after the delivery, and how that might be the cause of the eye infection. We got some drops for her eye, and it has cleared up nicely. Otherwise, she seems to be doing well.
As the world outside TTL gets tossed about in the wind, things continue moving and shaking in the safe-home, just as they always do.
It’s a strange, whirling, unsteady feeling of balance.
The TTLF Fellow is a representative of the North American organisation The Tiny Lives Foundation. Based for one year in Mokhotlong, Lesotho, the TTLF Fellow serves in an administrative support capacity for the Basotho charity TTL.