Abandoned at Birth, Thriving at 11

It takes a village, a church and a sponsor to help the new mother raise the boy.
Nasinde and Lenkai talk in their home.

Nasinde Pere will never forget the first time she heard her son’s cries. This isn’t the story of a glowing young mother hearing a baby wail in a hospital room. This story is harder. Sadder. But at the end, brimming with hope.

It started in an open field dotted with dried bushes and grazing goats. Nasinde had been in her small hut when a panicked neighbor told her that she had found something. Nasinde hesitated at first. Would she walk out into the heat of the day to find nothing? But the neighbor persisted, so Nasinde followed her.

Then, Nasinde heard the cries. She rushed toward the little lump of blankets placed under a bush and without thinking scooped up the bundle.

“I gently picked up the baby and cuddled him,” remembers Nasinde. “I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that he was physically OK.”

The baby boy’s umbilical cord was still attached, telling Nasinde that he was probably just a few days old — and terribly dehydrated.

“He was so hungry,” says Nasinde. “He was nibbling his little fingers. His eyes were swollen from crying.”

Back home, Nasinde fed the baby some milk and bathed him. She even gave the baby a name, just until they found his family, she told herself. She called him Lenkai, which in her language translates as “God’s son.” And as she cradled him in her arms, wrapped in a fresh blanket, she wondered if God was redeeming both of their stories in that moment.

Nasinde wears the traditional colorful clothing of her ethnic group, the Masai.

Many years ago Nasinde had been driven from her husband’s home by abuse and violence when she was unable to bear him a child. She had moved back to this village where her brother had kindly taken her in. But for decades, she had suffered.

“It is unacceptable to not have children in the Masai culture,” says Nasinde. “Without children we are nothing.”

But in the weeks that followed Nasinde’s discovery of Lenkai, she felt supported by the entire village — the people who had looked down on her for so long.

“The entire village helped us,” says Nasinde. “They contributed whatever they could spare. This was indeed God’s son, and He was taking care of him.”

When the tribal elders were unable to find Lenkai’s biological family, they asked Nasinde if she would be willing to adopt the child. She accepted, without hesitation. She knew that Lenkai’s life mattered, and that it was her responsibility to care for this gift.

“You never know what the child could become in the future,” says Nasinde. “I believe it is the responsibility of society to take care of children who are abandoned. We should all strive to help, no matter how little you have.”

 

Above: At his church-run Compassion center, Lenkai plays sports, studies the Bible and receives tutoring.

One source of support for Nasinde and Lenkai was the Compassion center where the boy was enrolled at 9 years old. The family received support from Highly Vulnerable Children’s Care, which provided groceries and other help to the aging mother and her child.

Lenkai was especially excited when he found out he had a sponsor. Every time he got a letter, he shared it with Nasinde, both drawing hope from the encouraging words they read.

Today, Lenkai is an active 11-year-old who wants to be a doctor when he grows up. It’s hard to know how much of his story he understands. But what he does know is he has a mother who loves him deeply, a village who supports him, and a sponsor who believes in him.

“I have never regretted the decision,” says Nasinde. “I vowed to bring him up as a gift from God. I prayed to God to give me a child, but I did not expect it to come this way. Now I have someone to carry on my legacy and my name.”

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