It was a wild weekend. On Saturday morning, a taxi arrived with three boys. They were filthy dirty, stinkin’ drunk and not one of them could have been more than ten years old. One had been beaten badly by a big boy who stole all the money he begged during the day. He was covered in blood, open cuts and lots of scrapes and bruises. The other two were his friends from the streets and they had told the taxi driver that they were all going to live with me now. The only words that came to mind were, “of course you are, come in.”
With the help of Evalisto and Mrs. Phiri, we gathered them up, fed them, bathed them, got them some new clothes and cleaned up the bruises. Two hours later, they were sound asleep in a bed — all three in the same bed.
Later that afternoon, two of our other children got into a vicious fight; Maria screamed all afternoon as a result and one of them ran away. Three hours later, the same taxi was back carrying our run away and yet another boy that wanted to live with us.
After finally getting to bed, the phone rang. An older boy in the streets has been assaulted: could we come and take him to the hospital? I dragged out of bed, got Muviwa and Evalisto up and sent them to take this guy to the hospital and bring him home. They arrived home about two o’clock in the morning with the new patient in tow; with a fractured shoulder and lots of bruises.
The next morning, we went to church and came home to discover that the mother of one of the boys that had come yesterday was waiting on the veranda. Eva and I sat down and had a family counseling session with her and tried to sort things out. An hour and a half later she finally left. We agreed to keep the child for counseling and she would come back in April to check in with him.
By this time, it was afternoon and I had to run into the streets and do some talking. We were getting too many children I didn’t know, and I wanted to get some background info before we went to social welfare the next day. When I came home, we had a peaceful supper and went to bed. Once again, the phone woke me; sleep was just going to have to wait until Monday. Sikumbe was on the line to tell me that Chakwa, a disabled boy who had been with us two years ago and had been taken away by social welfare, was back in the streets and having seizures.
And again, I woke Muviwa and Evalisto, gave them the keys to the car and said “Go!” They arrived home an hour later with a very happy Chakwa. “Mama Carol – you came!” he said. I replied with an, “Of course we did, you are my child.” He then walked straight into his old room, onto his old bed —which I had emptied before he came — and went to sleep.
2 am again, and morning prayer in just three short hours. I may need a miracle just to keep me awake!