Buckle your seatbelts. This is going to get wild.
First--an update. Abu was in the hospital for a few days after he left my house. He is with Esther for now so she can care for him. We thought he was better, but this morning he began wheezing and running high fevers again. GOD help that sweet boy! Pray for him now, even as you read this.
Now...here we go.
Esther called me yesterday and told me she had news. Esther and her local helper at Babies Without Milk spoke with Abu's grandmother and reasoned with her to allow Abu to be given to a family who could care for him. It had become obvious his grandmother couldn't/wouldn't care for him properly and had no money to feed him. His grandfather is blind and so the grandmother spends most days leading him around to beg...with Abu on her back.
The grandmother absolutely refused. So, they began to look for other members of his family who may be able to take him in and care for him.
That's when she found out...
that Abu's mother is alive. After a bit of investigative work, D (Esther's helper) found out that the woman with Abu, the woman who claimed to be his grandmother, the woman who claimed to have lost a daughter, was nothing to him.
Here's what happened. Abu's motheris in another village and has other children. While her husband was away for a long period of time, she got pregnant by another man. In a desperate attempt to hide what she had done, she birthed Abu and then secretly took him to a nearby village and gave him to someone who would take him. The woman who took him, his "grandmother" probably saw this as an opportunity to increase her begging income. Babies like Abu really encourage generosity. And skinny, sick looking babies, really tug at the heart and the pocketbook of people. I don't know if this is why she couldn't/wouldn't keep Abu well fed and healthy when she had him but she probably never intended for him to grow as ill as he did. From the beginning, Esther had told me that something didn't seem right with the grandma. She couldn't understand why she never took the desperation of Abu's health more seriously, why she would laugh when she should cry. She knew it was strange...but none of us saw this coming.
That's not the end. Now it gets really good.
Meet Jarah. She and her husband are local African lovers of JESUS. They have never had their own children but always longed for them. When her brother gave her his two children to care for---as often happens here--she gladly did it. She raised them from infancy until the ages of 3 and 12. Over a period of time, the three year old died of illness and not long after, the twelve year old lost his life in a car accident. Death. It's a huge part of daily life here. I cannot grasp it.
Back to Abu. With the truth out, Esther is now able to get the proper signatures for Abu to go to a family. So, she made a phone call...to Jarah.
Jarah and my friend Annie, another local missionary, were at an orphanage asking about a baby. The orphanage was telling her they only had a baby girl. "My husband was really hoping for a boy." Jarah replied... *ring* *ring* went her phone. It was Esther.
I don't know how this story will end. The whole thing sounds like it is from a movie. It sounds exaggerated and made up...a lot of things here sound like that. Some of them are...some of them aren't. So sweet little Abu's story was made up after all....but this one wasn't. And ooooh it's just getting good....
"then you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free..."
What a world this is. Stay tuned...