From: "Brenda Lange"
Subject: Blog, Nov. 4, 2012
Date: November 4, 2012 4:50:05 AM CST
Nov. 1st started out as an uneventful food distribution morning at our Balama base, which turned into an “AMBER ALERT” by 2pm.
The 2 year old toddler, Dominica, has been with us for over 18 months.
She was removed from her home as a 6 month old infant, due to severe neglect by her “mentally disturbed mother” (given no food until she almost starved to death, and left outside to cry for hours with no care). This woman has caused several disturbances at Balbina’s foster home in the past, including one incident where she brought her machete and demanded the return of her child. When that occurred last year, Balbina sent someone to fetch us and calmly kept this woman “at arm’s length” until help arrived. A severe counselling at the police station, and she kept her distance for over 10 months.
Last Thursday, this highly disturbed mother went to Balbina’s house demanding her food allowance for the week.
(She never showed up at our mission station that morning to get the food we normally give her). Balbina explained she didn’t have her food, and that she would have to go to Mama Brenda, as the food distribution was over. She began to scream at Balbana and grabbed for Dominica, who was being held in Balbina’s arms.
Balbina jerked away, but not before this woman bit Balbina’s arm. The pain from the bite, loosened Balbina’s grip enough that this desperate woman was able to snatch the child and run. Balbina’s husband got home just has it all happened. He raced to my office on his bicycle to tell us that Dominica had been kidnapped.
Dominica was once again in the hands of this mentally unstable woman and no one knew where she would be taken.
(FYI: Balbina was fine as the bite didn’t’ break the skin.)
I immediately called our District Social Services officer, but he was in Pemba (4 hours away). He instructed me to get our leaders and go to the police if she wouldn’t return the child.
Capena, Head Administrator for O.U, in Balama, and Nilza, our resident Social Service worker, met me at my house.
We decided to “trade her” for what she really wanted. (The food she never picked up that morning.)
She has said many times she has no use for Dominica, so we knew she didn’t really want the child.
We fixed up the food she was supposed to receive that morning and went looking for her. PTL that she headed to her mud hut in a village about 3 miles from us, and our team located her near her home.
She willingly gave up Dominica in exchange for the food, and was told that if she does this again, she will go to jail. (The Police is the only thing she is really scared of).
In Moz., the laws protect the mentally disturbed. Unless she physically harms someone, the police can do nothing to this woman. So although this looks like it was not the right thing to do (giving her what she wanted), the important thing is that Dominica was returned unharmed.
This was very traumatic for Dominica, as she sees Balbina as her true mother. She possibly has some memory of the bad times in her early life with her birth mother, so right now we are concentrating on making her feel secure.
We also realize that if this woman fails to pick up her food in future, we need to take special precautions to prevent a repeat of this incident.
WEIRD WEATHER IN MOZAMBIQUE
Normally, October and November are SUPER HOT AND DRY—98-102 degrees F (38-40 C) with no rains till end of November.
But Antarctica has been sending us some unique cold fronts this year, causing many kids to have colds and upper respiratory infections.
Remember, these kids have only thin cotton clothing, and most don’t own a long sleeve shirt, much less a jacket.
Thursday and Friday it RAINED many hours with strong, bitterly cold winds coming from the south.
I spent the day in a sweat suit!
With the unexpected rains, our teams had to scramble as the Naccaca church is not roofed yet, and the Namara church needed it’s concrete footing and oil paint to protect it from blowing rain. Our 18 man brick laying team went out yesterday and in 6 hours completed all the work on the Namara church.
Our teams will work hard this week to dig the holes needed so the roof can be built over the Naccaca church.
With Jesus returning soon, the only “norm” we can expect is that “NOTHING WILL BE AS IT WAS IN THE PAST”.
So expect the unexpected and you won’t be caught off guard.
ENGINEERS WITHOUT BORDERS representative, Michael Lowe, of North Carolina arrived yesterday.
After church today, I took Michael to 3 of our homes so he could “get a visual” on what is needed. He will be assisting us in planning and building 2 types of very efficient wood burning stoves that use only small amounts of firewood, even twigs if that is all you have.
I’ll keep you updated on how this goes and we’ll send photos of the end result.
Michael has 3 weeks to organize, build, and train our team to duplicate what works best with our local materials.
Bush Bunny Brenda and the Balama gang