23 Oct God’s Gift (Ore Oluwa)
It is said that Motherhood is close to divinity. There is nothing more fulfilling than being a mother. Mothers are believed to be angels in human form. There are many women around the world who go through extensive treatments for the blessing of being a mom. And then there are women who are not blessed enough to enjoy motherhood though they have a baby. Whose pain is more intense? This post is not about blaming or pointing fingers but rather shedding light on a shocking reality that has become a part of daily life for a lot of people.
It was a normal day in Odota in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara state in Nigeria. Most people went about their lives as usual but, a few noticed a young lady carrying a baby walking into a bushy area that the residents usually used as a dumping ground for trash. As expected, she walked back alone and one person went to check what happened to the infant. The little one was found abandoned near the filthy trash truck which made the man yell for help.
There is a radio show dedicated to such societal issues and the Radio Jockey was informed about the incident. The police and the Radio Jockey arrived on the spot, rescued the little one and took her to the Government Reserved Home for children. I had the chance to meet the close friend of the Radio Presenter and that is how I came to know about this home for abandoned children and eventually was able to take donations for the little one and other kids.
Photography is not allowed as the children need to be protected as per the Government rules. Some of these children are abandoned while some have special needs. Some of them have lost their mothers during childbirth and the fathers need caregivers for these kids for a limited time.
I held the little bundle of joy in my arms and looked at her innocent eyes. She is approximately one month old. Her eyes are divine and they aptly named her Ore-Oluwa meaning God’s gift in the Yoruba language. I wanted to tell her the lines of Frida Kahlo “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.”
Would Ore-Oluwa grow up learning to shrink herself and her wants? Will she always wonder why her mom gave up on her? Just like all the other orphans will she always struggle to find her place in this society? Will she go to bed wondering if her mother and father are still alive and if so still thinking about her? Will she wonder if her mom kissed her and shed a tear before placing her on the dumping ground? Will she grow up to be a strong woman with ambitions and a good education to fulfill her dreams or will she believe she is not allowed to dream? Most of us would not know the answers to these questions because the number of Ore-Oluwa’s are increasing every day.
I have many friends who are orphans and there is always this element of self-doubt in them of not being enough. This mostly comes from the realization that their parents did not fight enough to keep them close by. This comes from the truth that they do not know their biological parents. Would the love of caregivers and donations from benefactors camouflage the lack of her real mother and father? Would there be a loving family who would adopt her and never let her know she was once abandoned? Is there something that we as a society can do to make a difference?
The economic conditions in Nigeria are very depressing and hence, a lot of mothers are forced to take these kinds of harsh steps. There is no need for blame game as there is already an immense pain in our hearts. What we really need is a change in the social and economic conditions that would enable mothers’ like that young lady to savor motherhood. What we need is little Ore-Oluwa ’s to enjoy the warmth and love of their mothers without ever having to know about the life of an orphan. There is so much work to be done. For now, this little one needs to know that she is loved and cared for.
My mom opened the doors of her house and heart for so many orphans and treated them as her own children. Today, they are all well off and truly successful and content. In a country where adopting orphans is considered taboo women like my mom are a boon. If only there could be more of us with such big hearts and unconditional love.
“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled. There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled. You feel it, don’t you?”