Baby Henry came to us the day after Christmas (also known as Boxing Day). Actually Henry's name was Hope Songolo but when we saw him we felt he deserved a more masculine name.
He had been nursed by his aunt (whose youngest child was seven years old) and so was not exactly malnourished, though he wasn't chubby and well fed. Because he had been carried around for most of his life in the African style sling he had not had a chance to develop his muscles. At 5 months old he could still not hold his head up well.
His favorite activity of all was to jump in the Johnny Jump-Up. Because our ceilings are really high and we don't have the right type of door frames, we suspended the Jumper from a rope tied to the rafters and since it still didn’t reach the floor, we put a table under it for the babies to bounce on. We were always there to watch over them and would giggle as they jumped up and down. Henry was especially active as he jumped.
Every day Henry got stronger and stronger. He fattened up quite nicely and became a very handsome little guy. He developed stronger muscles and was soon able to sit up; even learning to run and jump quite early for his age.
We love it when Henry bursts through the door of our living room and dances to music we have on. He is so full of life and energy! Henry is also very inquisitive and though his language skills are a bit delayed he knows how to communicate with actions and facial expressions. He communications a myriad of information with the use of Da Da by choosing different inflections and tones.
We look forward to seeing what this young man will grow up to be. He has the drive, curiosity and energy to make a great leader some day.
This story contributed by Amy Morrow, project manager at African Educational Services