by Deacon Thomas Müller

It is one of these normal and still unbearable days again. The wind pushes the smoke from the paper factory close by into the township and it smells awfully. The wind moreover drives lots of dust over the roads and paths. The air can hardly be breathed. On top of this it is so hot, that one can only survive in the shade. At the taxi rank, a sort of minibus station are always crowds of people. Half past four, the early shift is over and thousands want to get home as soon as possible after a short shopping spree. "Would you be so kind to hold my baby for a moment, that I can get my shopping bags into the taxi?" Zandile takes the baby from the young Zulu mother and has a smile on her face as she looks at the baby lovingly. A sweet boy, seemingly newly born; he sleeps. The mother cannot be made out in the crowd. Maybe her shopping trolley is at the entrance. That may take two - three minutes anyway.

„So, please get all in, we are fully loaded, let's go!", shouts the taxi driver. "Just a moment, please! Somebody is still missing. She is getting her bags and want to come along as well." We are in Zululand - one more minute does not matter. Zululand is far South, at the east coast of South Africa. Durban is a city which can be found on most maps. Mandeni and Sundumbili township are located at the Tugela river 100 kilometres north of Durban. The passengers avoid the dust standing closely together behind the Toyota bus. It is far too hot inside the bus. "Where is she, we want to go?" "She just wanted to get her shopping bags." "Five more minutes, then we will go with her or without her!" Time is running The five minutes are past, but the young mother is not to be seen. "I'm sorry" says the taxi driver "but who knows if she will come back again at all." Having said this he asked his passenger to get in and puts his foot on the accelerator. Zandile stays back with the baby in her arms. Her smile is gone. "What should I do? If I go to look for the mother she may probably just come and miss us, but I cannot just stay in the blazing sun and do nothing!" On the other side of the taxi rank there is a tree. Several Zulu women have sought shelter in its shade already. There Zandile talks about what happened to her and asks for advice.

Two hours have past. "Velezulwini" (Who fell from heaven) as the Zulu may call him, starts crying with his small voice, if you want to refer to this even as crying. Zandile herself has mothered several children, but the last birth was too long ago, she cannot satisfy the Baby's needs. Finally she decides to go to the Police. "Well, somebody has just put the child into your arm and you claim not to have noticed or known anything? What is the child's name?" "But I told you, that I do not know! There was just that young mother, who only wanted to fetch her bags to load them into the taxi." "And you did not watch, where she went to?" "It was rush hour traffic. You surely know how crowded it is everywhere at that time." "And you did not know the lady?" "No, I did not and I told you so several times already." "and what are you going to do now?" "I won't do anything any more. I brought this child to you and now I am going to go home finally. My family does not know where I am. They will be worried about me already." "We cannot keep this child here." "I also cannot keep it." "Then wait, so that we can take a statement."

It it dark for some time already when a police van stops at the door of Blessed Gérard's Care Centre. They bring a little baby. Father Gérard, on whose initiative the Care Centre had been founded more than ten years ago, a nurse employed by the brotherhood and two police officers discuss in the treatment room what has happened. The baby is being examined, bathed and sorted out. Doing so the clip on the umbilical cord is discovered. Therefore the boy must have been born a short while ago in a clinic and delivered by a professional midwife.

Although the Care Centre is solely financed through donations, it is a very big institution with 40 hospice beds and further 40 beds in the Children's Home. That enables them to admit "Velezulwini" without bureaucracy. We gets a baby grow and a fresh bed in an air-conditioned ward. The staff of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard succeeded on the next day to find out, where the little one was born and who his family are.

The mother had hidden the pregnancy from her family and still refuses to accept the baby. The little "Velezulwinis" aunt took over. "Velezulwini" will be able to grow up normally under her care.

Once more it was possible to help quickly and directly because the Brotherhood is rooted locally. It was on 28 October 1992 that the Missionary Benedictine Father Gérard Lagleder founded the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard together with four South Africans. What had started as a small idea in the centre of the AIDS capital of the world is growing with very fast. Many charitable projects were initiated and just four years after the foundation the first sod is turned for the Care Centre which after having been enlarged twice already celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.

If you want to support the work of the Brotherhood and its mostly volunteer staff you may do this by your prayers and/or through your donations and/or through your membership.

Thank you! Siyabonga!

This page is part of the Newsletter No. 26 of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

Back to the homepage of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

This page was last updated on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 12:50:09