Loving Ruthy

Maonde, Malawi

Ruthy with her older brother and sister Sibongile.

Ruthy with her older brother and sister Sibongile.

 A Hands at Work volunteer heard Sibongile’s story and chose to share her powerful testimony through a first person account.

The cries of my newborn sister pierced the air. At 13 years of age I was excited to finally become a big sister and welcome a new baby into our family. My excitement turned to stunned disbelief when I learned my mother had lost her life giving birth to my sister. What would become of our family now? How could we go on without our mother?

We named the baby Ruthy and then she was whisked away to an orphanage. She remained there for 18 months until the caregivers at the orphanage decided Ruthy was strong enough to return home. Home, however, looked very different now. My father had taken a new wife and no longer lived with my brother and me. Cultural traditions meant Ruthy could not live with our father. There was no option but for her to come and live with us. Even before Ruthy arrived, I was struggling to keep up with school, fetch water, and do all the cooking and cleaning. My brother was now 20 and he spent his days trying to find work to provide food for us.

With Ruthy’s arrival, life had to change. The only way to care for Ruthy was for me to drop out of school. Every day was a struggle for us. Sometimes there were no jobs for my brother; so on those days there was very little to eat. But that is when Luka showed up at our home. He introduced himself as a Care Worker with Chisomo Community Based Organisation and had heard through his church that we were struggling. Luka told us about the Care Point in Maonde where I could take Ruthy. This was such good news. She now receives a plate of food every day and plays and laughs with other children.

I had shared with Luka about many of our challenges. I know that he really listens, because he has given us blankets and mosquito nets and soap for bathing. But most of all, he is our friend. We still have hard days, but now I know we are not alone. God has heard our prayers and is answering them through Luka and the Care Workers who love Ruthy almost as much as I do.