This is old, and was written for a cause.
Mrs. Felix, 30
I found Adaora on my way home from work one Tuesday. She ran right in front of my car and I had to apply the brakes suddenly. I ran out of the car to see if she was okay, and I found her just standing there, shocked. I asked where her house was but she didn’t know. She only knew her name and how old she was: 8 years old.
I asked some of the people around, but no one knew her or where she was from. I took her to the Police Station, and announcements were made, but no one came to claim her, so she was put in an orphanage after some days. I visit her as often as I can. She still talks very little, but there is an improvement.
I don’t know my daddy, I grew up with mummy taking care of me. She used to sell Rice and Spaghetti to the people in our area, all those bus conductors and area boys. Three months ago, mummy started coughing. She went to the General Hospital several times, but the queue was too long and there was nobody to sell food for her, so she came back without seeing the doctor every time. After a while, mummy got really sick and died. I was there when it happened; she was coughing blood that morning. I was crying and asking her if she wanted water, but she didn’t answer. She just told me to be a good boy and take care of myself and then she stopped coughing and talking. I thought she was sleeping, so I took some money and went to buy Panadol and food for her. When I came back, I woke her up, but she didn’t wake up. I shook her and I went to call Brother KB to come and help me wake her. He shook her two times and told me she was dead. Then he said I should be a man and stop crying, that men don’t cry. Brother KB and Brother Dele dug a hole in the ground at the back of our house; that’s where they buried her. Since I don’t know anyone else or anywhere to go, Dare, the boy that lives in the next house, invited me to join him and the others in their work. We clean windshields when cars are in traffic. Some people give us money and some of them start their wipers as soon as they see us coming. I live with Dare now.
Last year, our area got flooded. There was a lot of water in the house, and we couldn’t get the water out, because it didn’t stop raining. The neighbors asked us all to move to the roof of the house and we could see all our belongings floating away from there. After a while, Daddy told us he needed to check on something downstairs and asked the neighbors to please watch us. He never came back. The neighbors let us stay with them, but after some time, the husband started to…to touch me. He would beat me up if I turned away. I couldn’t tell his wife, because she had turned hostile too; she would beat me or my sister up at the slightest provocation. We weren’t going to school, and she said we were old enough to earn our keep, so she put trays of ‘Robo’ on our heads and told us not to return till we had sold everything. No one really wants ‘Robo’ these days, so we would trek long distances under the hot sun, and have nothing much to show for it at the end of the day. She always had an unkind word to say to us.
Three weeks ago, my sister and I ran away from their house, never to return. We have a little corner under a bridge where we sleep; we go out and beg for alms every day, sometimes, we go to the markets and garages and beg people to let us carry their bags in exchange for money. Sometimes, it gets cold under the bridge, and the wrapper we found is really old and too small for both of us, but at least it’s something. Sometimes the area boys start to fight and we get really scared, but God is watching over us. And Daddy too, wherever he is. We’re saving up money; maybe one of us will be able to go to school again someday.
Mrs. A, Orphanage Staff
This little beauty, she came in today; we’re calling her Daniella. Someone found her on a dunghill early this morning and was kind enough to bring her to us. This little one lying here, he came in last week; we woke up to find him in a carton at our doorstep. And that one, he’s grown now. He was just a year old when he came to us; someone snatched him from his mother when she tried to pawn him off to pay a debt. We take care of them to the best of our ability, but our resources are sometimes limited. We need, not just the government, but people, individuals in the society to help us. We love these children, we love taking care of them, but we need people’s help. And not just for material things; the children appreciate visits; somehow, it gives them a connection to the outside world. And adoption; not enough people are informed about adoption today; children grow better in families. People need to understand that you don’t have to be childless to adopt a child, if you’re blessed enough to be able to take care of a child, why not adopt one?
Mr. Gabriel, 36, Accountant
You have to make the best of whatever life gives you. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon; matter of fact, I wasn’t born with any kind of spoon at all. I don’t know either of my parents; I grew up in an orphanage. I wasn’t picked up for adoption. I lived at the orphanage till I was 18. The good people at the orphanage made sure I went to school. I depended on scholarships and bursaries for my post-secondary education, but somehow, I made it through. Despite the odds, I graduated with good grades and got a great job. My wife and I have two children, both adopted, and we are looking to adopt more.