Samuel and Richard A Story of Love and Loss
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
This is the original story about my son's buddy. Decided to post it here too. So many have been kind about our loss.
Samuel and Richard A Story of Love and Loss
We lived in Uganda from Aug 2001-June 2002. Samuel was 11, Lucas was 6. We went to help build an orphanage-Children’s Center for The Rafiki Foundation, Inc. We were there just at the very beginning stages, so there were no children at our place.
Samuel and I went about once a week to Nysambia Babies’ Home. It was a very small orphanage. Mostly housing children under 4. It had about 8 rooms in a long building. This place had little money to do anything. It some days could be heart breaking to see, but we were able to look past all of that and just love on the kids.
I went with another lady at first and that first time I met Richard. He had a double ear infection, literally ears filled with pus and flies all around them. AND Richard had the biggest happiest smile on his face. I picked him up and loved on him.
I begin to take Samuel with him. I told him about the happiest baby I had ever met. Samuel and Richard immediately took to each other. My buddy was Thomas. Thomas is now a thriving child at the orphanage we were building.
An orphanage is a hard place to go. It is survival of the fittest situation. Many times the workers know details of the child or maybe there is something about the child that they don’t do more for them. It is survival for the adults too. Richard was not a favored child there and he wasn’t strong himself. It was hard because Samuel saw this neglect for himself.
Richard was born about Dec 7, 2000. He was found in a dust bin (trash can) outside Mulago Hospital in Kampala. He was admitted into Nysambia February 7, 2001. We started going to Nysambia in September.2001.
Once when we were walking into the building we could hear screaming and crying inside. As soon as we stepped into the building one of the workers looked at Samuel and said “your buddy is crying”. Samuel went immediately to his room, where he found Richard in his crib screaming. As soon as Richard saw Samuel though he stopped, lifted his hands toward Samuel. Samuel picked him up and Richard immediately stuck his thumb in his mouth and was happy. That is our most precious memory.
Measles took a run through the orphanage and several kids ended up in the hospital. Richard was there for a time. Richard was in the hospital and then we missed for a couple of weeks. So the next time we saw him he was so pathetic looking. He just struggled so, it was hard to see him.
We still tenderly loved on him. It was hard because Samuel so wanted to bring him home, but that was not our purpose. It was also difficult as we saw the orphanage struggled with putting a kid in a hospital vs. feeding all the rest of them. Food was not easy to come by there either. We would take bananas and sometimes-watered down juice.
The last time we saw Richard, they had a feeding tube down him. I had walked outside to see the other kids and Samuel went to look for Richard. When I found Samuel he was beside Richard rubbing his legs. Pathetic is the only way I can describe him. There was no meat on his body at all. His skin was tight all over his body. He looked too fragile to hold. Samuel looks at me and said “it calms him down when I rub his legs.”
Another volunteer from Europe came in she looks at me and said “poor baby he just needs to be held. So I very carefully picked Richard up and held him. He was miserable and in pain. I held him and gently kissed him and did my best to calm him. Another lady that volunteered from Holland came and together we tried to get him to eat some yogurt she brought. I probably held him for an hour or more just standing there in the room. I finally had to leave I gave Richard to her and she took him outside to hold.
Richard died sometime during the night. I believe they took him to the hospital. It was 2 AM March 13, 2002. They bury them immediately so there was nothing for us to see or do. That has probably been the hardest thing to deal with.
But through it all Samuel and I both have seen the hand of God. God allowed us on Richard’s last day to love on him and care for him more than he had had in many days. Richard will forever be a part of our lives. I am thankful for even as painful as it has been that Samuel learned to love this child that others saw as unworthy.
Samuel celebrated his 12th birthday shortly after that. He took some of his birthday money and gave it to the director to help off set Richard’s medical bills. The look on the director’s face will forever be etched in my mind. It was of shocked gratitude.
So this is Richard and Samuel’s story.