Mother's Day at an HIV/AIDS Hospice in South Africa
Today, when we rolled through the gate at Nkosi's Haven, the kids welcomed Zoleka and I with hugs which quickly transitioned into urgent tugs on our hands. "Come this way! Come in here! We've prepared a special breakfast for all the mother's on Mother's Day".
Zo and I made our way through the kitchen where toast was popping, dishes were clanging and excited voices urged us forward into the main living room.
As we rounded the corner, we found the room festooned with balloons and handmade signs, and a table set with white linens. Encircling the table were four beaming mama's. They made room for us as they finished their first course of today's menu: corn flakes and milk!
Next came plates heaping with scrambled eggs, 3 slices of thickly buttered toast and stewed tomatoes. We had tea and jam. We had a specially picked play list of musical selections. We were treated like queens.
Then four children came in and quickly handed Zodwa, one of the mama's, a handmade card. As we passed the simple card around the table, each face was brushed with a tear as we each read the neatly crafted, colorful message of love from the children of Nkosi's Haven.
No sad things today. Just the realization that the legacy of Nkosi Johnson and the mission of Gail Johnson has been realized.
Nkosi, before he died at age 12 in a speech to the UN said:
"Because I was separated from my mother at an early age, because we were both HIV positive, my mommy Gail and I have always wanted to start a care centre for HIV/Aids mothers and their children."
Nkosi's Haven was created so that "more infected mothers can stay together with their children - they mustn't be separated from their children so they can be together and live longer with the love that they need."
I'd say Mother's Day 2009 would demonstrate that this special dream has touched the lives of Zodwa, Busi, Ruth, Grace, Melita and many, many other Moms and children.
What a wonder to be able to be part of it all!
Read more about Nkosi Johnson and Nkosi's Haven at http://www.nkosishaven.co.za/