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She Adopted An Abandoned Baby In Old Age

April 21st 2011 – At Sixty-five-years, this Kenyan lady has taken an extraordinary task, something few at her age would consider norm. Three years ago this businesswoman in Voi town, Taita-Taveta County made the unusual decision to adopt an abandoned baby boy in old age.

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 She Adopted An Abandoned Baby In Old Age


Josephine Mwakazi and her husband, Roy, Boy Koffi infront

Sixty-five-year-old Josephine Mwakazi is an exceptional woman. Three years ago this businesswoman in Voi town, Taita-Taveta County made the unusual decision to adopt an abandoned baby boy in old age.

She admits that her decision did not go down well with some people dismissing it as a joke. It prompted some skeptics to even doubt her sanity.

“Watu walishangaa. Huyu mama mzee ana wazimu au nini? Atamleaje mtoto huyo?” (Some people were shocked. Is this old woman crazy or what is wrong with her?  How will she take care of the baby?) .

Others wondered why Josephine and her husband, Roy, would want to adopt a baby if not for some ulterior motive considering that the couple was not childless to warrant adoption.

Why adopt a baby and yet they had not gone through the heartache of infertility some asked? The couple had already been blessed with six children, five boys and one girl.

“Our decision was even dismissed as a scheme to make money out of the baby,” said Josephine as she remembers the mixed reaction her resolve to offer foster care to the baby elicited from the public.

“Some thought I was doing it in anticipation for financial gain through donations from well-wishers but how wrong they were for mine was purely an altruistic action borne out of an honest desire from the bottom of my heart to save and look after the forsaken baby,” she said.

The nagging doubts she had as to whether her decision to adopt the baby would be acceptable to her husband and children quickly fizzled out as the moment she gave intimations of her intentions the family unanimously agreed to support her.

Her love for children did not start with the adoption of the baby as she used to unreservedly take care of her house helps’ children until the time their mothers left employment.

“My fascination with children started early and is beyond words. I love kids and there was this yearning in me to adopt a child ever since my last born became a grown up and went his way. I kept on praying to God that one day I would be able to adopt a needy child,” she added.

That opportunity had presented itself in the finding of the abandoned baby whose prospect of adopting excited her very much.

Hers is an exemplary act of selflessness and compassion that deserves to be emulated by others.

Not even her advanced age, she is already a grandmother to six grandchildren, could deter her from her resolve to take care of the boy.

But despite all these she decided to take in the baby who had been dumped by its heartless biological mother on a heap of cow dung next to a cow shed not far away from their residence in Mwakingali village.

It was one early morning in the month of March 2008 when an electrician she had hired to fix an electrical fault in her residence excused himself to rush back to his house to fetch his tool kit.

“Before long the electrician returned with blood-stained hands and on enquiring from him what had happened he told me he had helped some women cut the umbilical cord of an abandoned baby boy who they then took to the Voi hospital before I could set my eyes on it,” recalled Josephine.

“All the same I felt sorry for the poor baby and there and then I decided I was going to adopt it,” said Josephine.

Touched by the escalating cases of destitute children in the area, the businesswoman said one of her ambitions is to ultimately start a children’s home in the town to cater for their needs.

“I’ve been talking to my daughter, Rachel, who works in Germany with a view to convincing her to help me in establishing the rescue centre,” she said.

Something interesting is that despite being in the twilight of her life she didn’t bother to hire a house help to assist her in nursing the baby. “Once a mother always a mother and the maternal instincts helped me a great deal in caring for the baby. I found myself changing the diapers with ease though it was many years since I last looked after my last born,” said Josephine.

She thanked among other donors, World Vision, a child centred non-governmental organization for giving her food rations comprising baby milk for six months.

“After this I weaned the baby on fresh cow milk before ultimately feeding it on solids. I’ve been quite fortunate for the baby has grown quite normally without giving us any stress,” said Josephine.

Only God knows how the baby survived the elements and the likelihood of being devoured by mongrels or wild animals that sometimes roam the town situated on the fridges of Tsavo National Park.

The boy’s rescue from the jaws of death is quite significant in that it occurred at a time Mr. Koffi Annan, the former United Nations secretary-general brokered the post election peace deal that saved Kenya from disintegration following the 2008 post-election violence.

Indeed the baby’s birth, dumping and rescue is analogous to the country hurtling towards the precipice due to the PEV and its eventual rebirth through the efforts of Mr. Annan.

Owing to this coincidence the Mwakazi family aptly named the baby after the former UN boss and today the boy is known by the great name of Koffi Annan.

“My other children chose the name for their adopted brother and it has stuck although the boy was later baptized Moses,” said Josephine.

It is surprising how Josephine could afford to be that magnanimous at a time when the country was so ethnically divided that one’s ethnicity could either earn you a ticket to the grave or safety.

Only people filled with the milk of kindness such as Josephine can afford to be that philanthropic irrespective of the prevailing circumstances.

She was full of praise for the County Children’s Officers who guided her through the complicated adoption process.

Owing to the assistance she got from the office, she was able to take the baby home from its temporary shelter at the Catholic Church-sponsored Bura Children’s Home in three weeks time after the rescue.

She said life for her and her husband is no longer the same since the baby arrived at their home. “The boy provides warmth in the house and we no longer feel lonely like before as all our other children are away. He keeps us busy all the time,” she said.

“The boy is now able to run simple errands in the house like fetching medicine for my diabetic husband who has been very supportive in bringing him up,” she added.

The boy seems to be well grounded spiritually by her adoptive parents and has even been the one prompting them to pray. “One of the unique attributes we’ve noticed in Annan is his spirituality as he often reminds us to pray every morning,” said Josephine.

Annan who turned three years last month will join school next month to start on his educational journey and perhaps grow up to become a resourceful and dependable person in society like his namesake in a more cohesive and stable country.

Written By KNA Reporter


One Response

  1. […] Women eNews Kenya published this story on April 21st 2011 under the headline She Adopted An Abandoned Baby In Old Age. […]

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