As Christmas approaches in eastern Congo, the caregivers at St. Kizito orphanage in Bunia are overwhelmed. In the past three months, twelve newborn infants have arrived from surrounding towns and villages, all in various stages of dire health. Two were born premature and needed urgent care. Three others had been abandoned and left to die. One child, Esther, was discovered in a pit latrine, still attached to her placenta and covered with insects. Villagers rushed her to the orphanage clinic, where today she’s making extraordinary progress.
However, thanks entirely to the heroic sacrifice of St. Kizito’s director, Sister Catherine Wadhiko, all twelve children are doing better. The young nun from Aru insists on personally caring for the children around the clock. At night, they all squeeze into her tiny 10x12-foot bedroom. Five of the smallest and most vulnerable infants, including Esther, sleep nestled beside her in bed, where she feeds them throughout the night. The other babies sleep on mattresses along the floor.
Because her fellow nuns are busy caring for St. Kizito’s other 66 children, Sister Catherine trained one of the older orphans, Bridgette, to help with diaper changes and nighttime care. But she insists on feeding and bathing the infants herself, plus administering their medications. If she must leave the orphanage on business, it’s never for more than an hour. She sleeps when she can. “This is my calling,” she’s said on many occasions. “I’ve dedicated myself to God and these children.”
We’re dedicated to helping Sister Catherine in her mission. This holiday season, we’re trying to raise the funds to complete a new building that can accommodate our new arrivals, plus the ones that are certain to come. Just this week, six people were reportedly killed when Ugandan-backed militia attacked a village in southern Ituri.
The new building will house a nursery big enough to hold 22 babies, plus rooms for additional staff, and an indoor toilet. Half of the building is already finished, but if we can raise our goal of $6,200 we can provide a safe home for St. Kizito’s tiniest residents.
We hope that in this season of celebration you will join us in building a future for St. Kizito’s children by clicking here and making a donation!
The Congo Kids Initiative Team!