How often I marvel at God’s creation, from the seed in ground to the stars in the sky. But how often I take for granted the marvelous creation of the human being. How our bodies are this beautiful blend of complicated organic machinery and eternal soul. How life was breathed into us.
With the knowledge that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by and in the image of a loving Creator, my heart knows – it just knows – that life is precious.
This machine we call a body is so resilient yet so easily broken. How delicate it can become when attacked by things outside of our control…cancer, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS. Things that can ravage the beautiful machine that our souls call home.
One of the facets of our holistic development of children is their physical well-being. In fact, it’s a top priority to protect these tiny little biological machines. What child can learn, grow spiritually or develop emotionally when his or her body is struggling to survive?This was the exact question that a Compassion Uganda Child Development Center Director asked when she encountered the precious soul of an 18-month-old girl named none other than… Precious.
“I didn’t have hope that Precious would survive for two months. I didn’t think we should register her, because I thought that within two months, we would be writing a death report,” said Director Allen.
Precious was suffering from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malnutrition. Born to a single mother who was a prostitute and being cared for by a neglectful aunt, she had little hope left. Under their care and the weight of disease, her little body was fighting.
By 18 months old, Precious had lost most of her hair. Veins on her forehead were visible, her eyes protruding. Her skin pale and rough. She was so thin – ribs showing, joints sticking out and stomach extending. Not only this, but her toes were swollen and her feet were in pain from jiggers. Because people feared being infected with HIV, no one removed the jiggers or bathed her.
Precious’ aunt just sat her in the corner of the house. She would sit in the same position if no one moved her, sometimes all day long. Her beautiful creation of a body was in survival mode with no room for tears or emotion.
It was like this that her loving uncle Conard and his wife Asha found her when they came to visit for the funeral of Precious’ mother. Precious was alone and emotionless in the corner covered in her own dried feces.
Despite discouragement from neighbors and family members who thought that adopting Precious was futile and a waste of money, Conard and Asha took her home to Kampala to raise with their other two children. After a month in the hospital, Precious was discharged with strict instructions for her care, diet and medication.
But unfortunately, her special diet and medication was too much for Conard and Asha to afford. Conard was barely making ends meet for the family working long hours as it was. But they wouldn’t give up on Precious. They went to their local church, which has a Compassion Child Survival program, and shared their struggle.
When Allen, the Child Development Center’s Director, saw Precious for the first time, she thought to herself that maybe they shouldn’t register her in the Child Survival Program – that maybe she was too far gone. But the wonders of the body never cease.
Little Precious was, in fact, enrolled in the program. The family received supplemental food each month to help with her nutritional needs. They also received training in income-generating activities to help support their growing family. Because not only have they adopted Precious, but two other children in need. Asha now sells baked goods to contribute to the household income and she and Conard have a garden growing vegetables to sell.
With all the loving care, medication and nutrition, now almost 3-year-old Precious has recovered from her malnutrition. Those who know her can’t believe she was once on the verge of death. Her personality has risen to the surface now that her miraculous yet fragile body has been given a chance.
She is lovely and lively. She is confident and friendly. She loves to play with her friends. She walks, runs, and dances. She still suffers from HIV/AIDS but the journey for Precious is not over.
She is getting the chance to grow, to one day understand and marvel at the amazing creation she is, and to learn that life is Precious.
For this Giving Tuesday and World Aids Day on December 1st, we’re raising money and awareness to give more precious life a chance.
Through our Partners of Compassion fund, we help meet critical and emergency needs for any child, at any time. These interventions include anything from immediate care for orphans to vocational training for caregivers, from disaster relief to malaria and HIV/AIDS treatment and education, plus much more.
Will you help us raise $10,000 for lives like Precious by December 1st?
Learn more about how you can help this #givingtuesday by spreading the word through social media!
Original story and images about Precious’ journey by Caroline A. Mwinemwesigwa, Ugandan Field Communications Specialist.