A True Christmas Story - 2003

On 21 December 2003, a little boy, maybe three days old, was brought to us after being found as an abandoned child. He is obviously premature and very weak, dehydrated, malnourished and has mouth sores, which is usually a sign of immunodeficiency. He barely has the strength to suck from a baby bottle and vomits soon after feeding. He also has severe diarrhoea and we have every reason to try everything to save his life.

Father Gerhard baptised him immediately in danger of death and we gave him the names Gerland (after Blessed Gerland) and a Zulu name which means "blessed" or "happy" as used in the Beatitudes of Christ's Sermon on the Mount. He is truly blessed to have been brought to us and we will try our best to give him a chance of survival.

Gerland came to us four days before Christmas as an abandoned baby. This reminds us of Christ himself at Christmas, for whom there was no room in the inn and who was therefore born in a stable and laid in a manger. We see in him a very special Christmas gift from the Lord and we will give him all the love he so richly deserves.

In the meantime, we have been able to find out more about his real background. And this is even sadder than the story of a mere abandoned child:

Gerland is obviously not an abandoned child, but there is a grandmother who had to take care of him, because Gerland's mother obviously does not make an appearance. We have no idea whether she is alive or no longer. Gerland's grandmother must have been so frustrated with the fact that she had to take care of him that she literally threw him away - into the arms of the man who had brought him to us and claimed that he was an abandoned child. He said that Gerland would have hit the ground had he not caught him when the grandmother threw him at Gerland. We thus have our suspicions that he might be the father and probably was not willing to take care of his son and the grandmother might possibly have expressed her unwillingness to take care of his son.

No one knows what is really true, but one thing is clear: no one but us really wants him. This makes his life story even more similar to the fate of Jesus, who was not even given a place to come into the world except a stable. We are glad and happy that we can give him a lot of food and love and we are very happy that we can now tell them that he is developing well and that we will possibly win the race with death after all and bring him through. He is a real Christmas present for us and we are happy that we can continue to mother or "father" him.