As the rest of the world was busy celebrating and welcoming the New Year, all was not okay with a seven-month baby boy who was found in a drainage.
It was about 1 am, on January 1, when a police patrol heard the wailing of a baby; they found him drenched in foul smelling water inside a drainage at Mushumbamwiza.
The baby was not wrapped in anything other than the clothes he had on and immediately one of the officers jumped into the drainage and pulled him out and rushed him to Kibagabaga Hospital for First Aid.
Luckily enough, the baby was not found with any complicated illness but flu. The doctors put him on medication right away and provided him with some milk.
Some of the patients, especially women at the hospital, were touched and about the little one’s situation, and offered him clothes.
Three days after noticing his condition was improving, the doctors thought it was high time they got him a guardian willing to adopt him since they didn’t know who the mother was.
Winfred Dusabe Kabayiza, a resident of Kabeza, had showed interest in adopting a child sometime back, it was her they contacted first. She was more than ready to take in the toddler.
“The Social Affairs team at Kibagabaga gave me a call on January 4, to confirm whether I still needed to adopt a child as I had informed a gynecologist friend at the same hospital that in case any child deserves to be adopted, they would let me know.
I arrived at the hospital ready to take the child with me home. However, they said that they don’t give babies to someone who is not married. I explained and convinced them that someone can be married yet they don’t have the capacity to look after the child. I asked them to have faith in me. I took the baby but I was told it was temporary as they thought the mother might avail herself looking for her little one,” Kabayiza said.
Immediately after 21 days, she was called to the hospital to pick papers of registering the adoption of the baby legally, which she picked. These papers were sent by the National Children’s Commission.
Kabayiza explained that when she took the documents to local officials in Kanombe, she was requested to test the baby’s HIV status, this was done and the baby was found negative.
However the adoption has not yet been finalised because she needs to get a report from her cell leader who she has failed to get in touch with due to the latter’s busy schedule. She says she is not about to give up, until she gets the report.
Kabayiza is a mother of a three-year -old daughter and works with AJPRODHO-JIJUKIRWA, a Human Rights Organisation.
On reaching home that day with a strange baby, Kabayiza’s daughter couldn’t hold her excitement and yet had many questions she needed her mother to answer.
“Where did you get this baby from?” She asked with eagerness. Her mother responded that the child was got from the hospital.
Kabayiza’s daughter immediately suggested that the baby be named “Eliot.”
On searching the meaning of the name, Kabayiza found out that Eliot means, “Jehovah is God.” The baby was named Eliot and was given Intwari as his surname. Intwari is Kabayiza’s other name, which means a ‘hero’ in Kinyarwanda.
This Good Samaritan says that she started shopping for the child for everything from pampers, milk, clothes to all other necessities a baby needs and has vowed to take full responsibility of her new child.
“I will treat Eliot as my own son, he deserves to be loved and cared for just as my daughter, if I buy anything, I must buy for both. When he is old enough I will let him know that I am not his biological mother but a guardian and I want the best for him. I don’t want him to ever regret,” she emphasised.
Kabayiza further noted that the first days she spent with Eliot were worrying as he could cry all night. She could wake up and carry him until he got some sleep though in vain which she thought could be because he was missing his mother.
However, all that is history, because he is a very happy child and he is used to his new family.
She is planning to get him a specific day to celebrate it as his birthday. The doctors estimated that he could be seven months by the time he was taken to hospital because he was able to sit. The little one is now eight months.
Kabayiza has an idea of starting an organisation called “Eliot Foundation,” when she gets financially stable. The purpose of this foundation will be to support teenage mothers with their babies, so that every baby has a right to be with its mother.
She advises mothers that being poor, and betrayal from their husbands shouldn’t cause suffering to their children yet they can get jobs according to their capacity. If not, ask for help instead of dumping a child.
“Think of the reason why you got that baby. Not everyone was brought up from a rich home, but our parents did their best to see us turn into what we are today yet they didn’t have jobs,” she stated.
Her humble request to every guardian who is capable, is to adopt any child because children are the future leaders, doctors, teachers and therefore they need love, care and support.