Below is a piece written by Debbie Clark who started Children of the Nations with her husband Chris. This little story has previously been included in the COTN booklet explaining their child sponsorship scheme and I include it here as an example of the kind of impact COTN's work can have.
Peter Robert of Malawi
I spotted him and immediately took a second glance. His clothes were dirty rags wrapped around his small, thin body and his eyes held an empty gaze. He was being held by a sad, older woman who had another, healthier looking baby tied to her back. They had come to the COTN feeding center in this village. She wanted to register these children in the program. Peter was the baby's name and later I learned that he wasn't really a baby, but a two year old child. Peter was one of the eight children this grandmother was trying to provide for. All of her children had died from the AIDS epidemic, so she was here with two grandchildren and six more at home in their small, mud hut. We watched as this grandmother breast-fed the healthier looking baby three times in one hour and Peter, only once. I was reminded of the poem in a past newsletter - 'decide, mother, who goes without...'
It was obvious that Peter would not make it much longer. He had given up the fight to live. He didn't even have the whimper typical of hungry children and made no sounds at all. The next day we learned that Peter weighed only thirteen pounds (That's less than one stone!).
Peter is now living in our Chiwengo village orphanage and is four years old. He is a typical preschooler who is full of energy and loves to get into everything. He loves to sing and play and is full of life!
I looked on-line to see if I could find the poem she refers to. I found this:
Decide, mother, who goes without.
Is it Rama, the strongest,
or Baca, the weakest,
who may not need it much longer,
or perhaps Sita?
Who may be expendable?
kill a part of yourself
as you resolve the dilemma.
Appadura (a poem from India)