Expecting a baby is an exciting time. It is a time for buying cute little outfits, knitting tiny booties and decorating a nursery. It is a time for acquiring a cot, a pram and sling, toys and books and puzzles.
I received donations of baby clothes recently, and went to deliver a parcel of baby-grows and vests to a pregnant neighbour today. She is now seven months along and is so excited about her baby.
“I already have two boys,” she confided, “and it would be so wonderful to have a little girl this time. But whichever it is, he or she will be so precious. Children are such a blessing aren´t they?”
She fingered the soft baby clothes tenderly, as the scent of fabric conditioner filled the room. I looked around the new, block house curiously. Obidio and Lidia had only recently managed to build this house of their own, on land given to them by Obidio´s parents. I am used to being invited in to sit on a plastic chair in houses that do not contain a sofa, and to seeing chickens running through the house. The lack of doors on the bedrooms allowed me to notice there was absolutely no evidence of baby equipment in the house whatsoever. I think the clothes I took were the first items that baby received. What shocked me was that there were no front or back door to secure the house, nor window protections.
“We managed to build the house, but won´t have the money to make doors for a while yet,” Lidia explained. “We just put up some boards and hope that no one breaks in in the night. I had a fright the other night when a cat came in. I thought it was burglars.”
I cannot imagine bringing a baby into this world while lacking such basic security in my home. It is not only the threat of thieves, but also the house being wide open to mosquitoes and the elements
I felt so vulnerable when I had new-borns. I also felt an over-powering desire to protect my youngsters. Lidia is no different. Her parting comment to me was that she was worried about leaving her two boys while she goes to the hospital to give birth, because they are never usually without her.
I think this will be the next family to receive a helping hand from the housing fund.
|A house with a front door and window protections|