Friday, July 25, 2008

A Cause: Molly Bam

Well Folks. I have decided that I am adopting a cause.
I know that there are all kinds of people "in need" in this world, locally and overseas. My spousal unit and I are foster parents which is a small way we feel we can make a difference.
My mom lives in South Africa and she has come across an orphanage close to where she lives. I have a special place in my heart for Africa and the plight of the people living there. That is why I have decided to try to make a difference in this small way.
As I find ways to raise money and send things to them I will update you on this blog.

Here is the letter my mom wrote after visiting Molly Bam for the first time:

I have now met Molly Bam!! I am amazed and almost speechless at what this wonderful woman is doing! I am not sure what religion she is but it is one of the Born Again Christian groups. She is an absolute testament to the fact that God blesses whoever is willing to help Him take care of His children here on the earth! I asked her loads of questions and I took a lot of pictures. I also told her I would be telling my friends about her work. She says this is not just a part of her life – it is her life. By the way she is 53 years old.
She is not registered and cannot register as an orphanage because her home is too old. She also does not have any built in cupboards in her home – so there is a LOT of stuff piled up on top of cupboards etc –at first it seems to be utter chaos, but it all appears to have some kind of order - yes, I would definitely say it is "organized chaos!". For instance in the “baby room” there were about four or five of those nappy bags on a hanger (that I remember making and seeing when I was young) hanging up on the walls with all the nappies in them. I saw school uniforms hanging on hangers on the end of bunk beds in the “little girls room.”
The walls were also COVERED in photo’s of and “works of art” done by the children that have passed through and those that are there.
Molly has a younger sister who she raised from 4 years old when her mom died – who lives close by, and she has a son and daughter of her own – and five “blood” grandchildren.
She decided 15 years ago that this is what God wanted her to do. She had married a street child and so her husband – Neels - is fully supportive and even passionate about these orphans.
They have 50 right now. It has gone down – they had 70 at Christmastime.
The name of their home – which is painted on the outside wall is Jehovah Jirah – which means “God Provides our every need according to His riches in Heaven.” There is a scripture painted on the wall (I believe it is from Isaiah – she quotes one in there quite a bit but I have forgotten which one.) and a picture of Jesus with some children also painted on the outside wall.
It is just an ordinary looking house – it has a very big yard which is divided into sections with fences (the different age groups have different area's to play in ) and an old swimming pool. But wow!
Molly gives the children all Hebrew names because the Hebrew language is one that praises God – so when they say any of their names they think about God and are praising God and speak as God did and it gives Satan less power over the children when there is so much of “God” going on.
She had them all outside (except the really big ones who were still at school sports) and they were singing some songs for us (all Christian songs which they do SO well) – she has 11 children at the moment under the age of 3 and I was going to say they were all over the place – but it was fun to watch them. Some were dancing and swaying to the songs and some of them were singing! There was a little 3 year old girl who was born deformed – her legs just curl under her and she “walks” on her hands – she was sitting in a plastic milk carton – but she was singing along with them, bless her little heart! Molly’s husband came home (he has a small panel beating shop in the village) and she pulled out the guitar and asked him to sing a few songs with the kids before he left again – which he did. Oh course as they sang “alleluia” and lines like “ God bless the c hild who suffers, bless our mothers, bless our brothers” they did the actions with them – very, very sweet. They apparently sing in churches round about quite a bit.
Molly and Neels goal is to bring the children in off the streets and to put them into school, get them an education, and to feed them and love them. We were there on a swimming day so they were mostly in their under clothes in and out of the pool. I asked her how they managed to feed them all and she said “God provides”. When she told me some of the stories I had no question in my mind that God does provide for them!
These orphans have fetal alcohol syndrome, they are abused, street kids, and some are HIV positive. She said all they want is “a mom and dad”. When they come to her they are sometimes unrecognizable and they have coughed and spit out worms, they have lice, festering sores – just about anything.
They have very strict rules. The big boys are not allowed to pick up the children AT ALL and they are not allowed near the girls. They lock the security doors on their rooms at night. The girls rooms and boys rooms are all separate. They have separate play area’s for them all. There is no sitting under blankets, no sitting on laps etc. She said “we do everything we can, we pray harder than we can and we leave the rest to God. We cannot put anyone out. In fact we promised the Lord that if He provides we will never shut our door.” In the “baby room” there were 12 little cots lined up on the walls! (The room was approximately 9 feet by about 14 or 15feet.)
She said they talk to them very openly and strongly. They explain that they are either going to stand still, go forward or backward. I asked if any had gone backward and she said yes, quite a few. When it becomes too hard they run away and then when the street life becomes too hard they run back. She will give them three chances in her home she said (although she said the door will actually never close in the end. They will find a way to help anyone who really wants to be helped.)
The bigger kids help the little ones with homework. She has 6 African women helping her. They are all alcoholics and all trying to straighten out their lives too. They also sometimes slip up. One had come back that thursday and asked if she could come back again. Molly said she would have to think about it, come and see her on Monday. The nanny said "no please, mama, I have to come back TODAY" - The weekend is the drinking time and she knew she would slip again if she was out on the weekend. Shame. Your heart just goes out to them. They are REALLY trying to break old, bad traditions.
They do not have Valentine day (she doesn't agree with "days made up to make someone money") –but it is a love day so they call it “Jesus day” and it is to be as much like Jesus as they can be in serving and loving and helping others. Molly and her husband agreed 15 years ago that they would not ever buy anything for each other again – they try to save all they possibly can through the year and in December they get sweets and a hat and whistle for each of the kids. Over the years people have been good to them and they now have loads of toys and loads of clothes she said. In fact a huge big old 20 foot freezer on the front porch is her “toddler cupboard” and it was full of folded toddler clothes.
The things they need all the time and that cost them a lot are things like toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste, nappies (diapers) and so on. The bakery in town gives them all the two day old bread and various people make donations of various items. I asked her how she fed all the children and she said that God provides. If a day comes when there is no food she reminds God in her prayers that she would be faithful, she would keep her doors open as long as He would provide. She says “I tell Him I am doing my part and I ask Him to do His. Someone always comes with a donation.” I asked where they eat – and she said they love to eat outside. If it is raining they have a huge shed at the back – they have braai’s in there – it has no sides – just a roof – but they can all fit under it and they love going there.
I think it was last January that they received a summons for 13000 Rand for school fees from the high school. She went to the school and tried to explain what she was doing and how many children she had and that they had NO money. The principal would have none of it. She tried several times. They went to a lawyer and told him they couldn’t pay him either, but didn’t know what to do. The lawyer apparently also talked to the principle but to no avail, this was going to go to court. So she said she just asked God to remove that principle and get a better one – and He did! She went to the school for something a month later or so and was introduced to the new principle! He was a jolly, large, happy, man and when she explained everything to him he said “Leave this with me and God bless you Mrs Bam.” And she has heard nothing more abou t the unpaid school fees!
In between all the talk, Molly is picking up, kissing better, putting down, moving here, answering questions there, there are babies crying, nappies to be changed. She uses 1700 nappies a month. The social services gives her 700 and they have to buy the others. They buy cheap not so good ones – but better than nothing. She cheerfully takes a baby from me (who just wet all over me) and says with a smile “here, give her to me. I always smell like sewage and I get so used to it I don’t even notice! I have become immune!” Only the two Aids babies have proper, good quality nappies because they chaff badly and get sores.
The reason the social services will not provide money or anything for these children is because she cannot produce any birth certificates. They do not have any. If she could produce a birth certificate they would give her 200 Rand per child per month. Actually peanuts!
Several of the children have died. One 8 month old baby – Ezekiel - that was a very cheerful happy boy – Molly goes around at night with a torch to check on them or see who is crying etc – and he would wait until he saw the torch light and then start to laugh. She said he was a joy - he drew people to him with his sweet and cheerful nature- and he was starting to sit up and was eating – so they had no reason to suspect that he had Aids. He just suddenly died – which was a nightmare for her and she blew and blew into his mouth and called on God with all her heart – but he was dead. She found the 100 Rand to have a post mortem because she was worried he had been dropped, or suffocated or something that she could have prevented. But he had full blown aids and it had burst in his brain. It has broken her heart that he never had a birth certificate – only a death certificate - because she demanded one.
Molly says “Don’t ever say to the Lord I do not want – because He will give you!” She did NOT want children who were HIV – but she has them. She has adopted 8 children so far and 2 more are in the pipeline – because that way they can apply for social help. But she says she loves every single one of them – totally unconditionally – and it breaks her heart, obviously, if they die.
The little house has two bathrooms. Her bedroom has several beds in it – the smaller ones and the sick ones come in with them. The babies – except for the smallest two – know their special colour. They have a special colour bottle and when the bottles are all ready they bring them out and each one will go and take their own. She gives them the same colour face cloth and tries hard to give them the same colour blanket so there is no confusion. (There is a picture of all the face cloths hanging up in the bathroom)
She has a lot of wet beds to deal with – so uses a lot of bedding, towels etc.
Molly talks to the children in a certain way – for instance she said to the little one next to her “ag naa – if you want to be big in Gods Kingdom then you need to be a servant. Please do not give those cups to me, please take them to the kitchen” And he picked them up and took them! I saw her hugging and kissing and rubbing and helping as she talked - she said to me “I love them all. If I ever have a problem with a certain child I always hear a voice in my mind saying “Molly, look through my eyes” and when I do I don’t have a problem any more.”
Her motto is “Let Go and Let God” and she says she is not fantastic or amazing. The calling – which she is positive the Lord gave her – is awesome. “You never know what is going to happen next!”
I was amazed! What a wonderful woman – and her husband too!

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