If you know anything at all about babies – had one, held one, heard one – you’ll know that a weak cry is a bad sign, stick-thin limbs, worse, and that to weigh 1.5 kg three months after birth is life-threateningly underweight.
And yet, Valda continues day after day to fight. Her round black eyes open wide and she watches the faces of the many people who come to the nursery to pray, to love, to will some of their strength to her as they hold her. Her skeletal frame is growing but she has no flesh on those bones to pad out her wizened features. “Wizened” – a term used for old people fading gently away after a long and active life. Valda, who has only just begun her adventure. Valda, who has been placed upon the earth for such a time as this. Valda, called, chosen, with a destiny to fulfil.
It’s the worst of all we see here, when babies suffer the effects of being born in a nation that has been poor for way too long.
We will continue to pray and believe. We’ve seen it so often, the miracle of life taking hold when death tries to rob the world of a gift such as Valda. I’m sure I can see it in those beautiful eyes as they watch me watch her. I hold her close, almost weightless in my hands as I press my cheek to hers and sing, “You will live and tell of His wonders...” Over and over I repeat the words, a sing-song declaration that she is not alone and that she will get through.
I gaze into her eyes, truly the window to the soul. Beyond the limp little body, the sunken cheeks and the mouth too weak to smile, there’s a spark of resolve and, for as long as her heart is beating, the stubborn determination to fight for her life.
Yes! Valda, you’re not alone and we, your cheer squad, will continue to pray and love and fight for you with all we’ve got. You will live and tell of His wonders.