Caring for orphaned and sick babies in Africa has instilled a local woman’s belief in miracles.
Amanda Rauh recently led a group of seven other women to the Baby Watoto facility in Uganda, Africa.
For two weeks, the women helped with the daily care of the children, including feeding, bathing, changing, doing laundry, rocking the babies to sleep, and cuddling.
The volunteers also worked with the Baby Watoto nannies, organizing games to build their confidence and promote bonding.
Rauh, a team leader with Watoto Canada, said the activities were just like the ones you’d see at a bridal shower, from making toilet paper dresses to strutting down a cat walk.
Each nanny cares for about five kids.
The children – who often arrive malnourished and in serious medical condition – are brought to Watoto by hospitals, police, child protection units and good Samaritans.
Care is provided to the babies up to the age of two. When they are older and physically well enough, they either graduate to a Watoto children’s village or are reunited with existing relatives.
The children’s stories are heartbreaking, said Rauh.
Many of the babies are found in outdoor toilets, thrown away in the garbage, left on church pews or on the side of the road.
Rauh met two young brothers who had been abandoned by their father after their mother died of AIDS. Both HIV positive, the boys were found going door-to-door begging for food.
Another story that stuck with Rauh was of an infant who had been buried alive and dug up by a pack of dogs.
The baby was barely breathing when brought to Watoto, but is now in good health.
“You believe in miracles when you come back from Africa,” said Rauh.
“Until you see the world with your own eyes, you never understand or have a grasp of how desperate some situations are.”
Baby Watoto has three branches in Uganda. They are located in Kampala, Suubi and Gulu.
A house is currently in the works for Cape Town, South Africa.
Rauh has already started planning next year’s trip to exercise her gift as a professional cuddler.
For more information on the program, check out www.watoto.com.