Yesterday, TTL celebrated nine years of service to the children and families of Eastern Lesotho. The idea for TTL can be traced to a cold, rainy Lesotho night in 2004. A small child, orphaned by AIDS, was left outside in a thunderstorm to die, a desperate move by relatives unable to feed another mouth. Neighbors heard the child's cries and brought him to Mokhotlong's social worker. Later that evening, the social worker knocked at the door of former Peace Corps volunteer Ken Storen, asking for help. Ken suggested that we "better buy some diapers," and the TTL safe home was born.
In the following months, Ken and his now wife, Colleen Dunst, also a former Peace Corps volunteer, filled a home of children impacted or orphaned by HIV. Ken, Colleen, and a dedicated Basotho staff committed to a vision in solidarity with Lesotho's families: that every child deserved every chance to survive, regardless of the odds, with proper nutrition, medication, and loving care. From that vision TTL blossomed, one child at a time.
In the past nine years, TTL has remained true to Ken’s vision of one child at a time and in doing so, TTL has provided support to over 1200 children to date. Just yesterday, as the workday was about to end, we received a birthday surprise: three infants arrived referred to the safe home by Mokhotlong Government Hospital after being diagnosed with severe malnutrition.
Two of the infants are six-week-old twins weighing in at 2.2kg and 2.8kg; they weigh only a few grams more than they did at birth. Their heads loom large over their skeletal bodies. Their mother is unable to keep up with their feeding needs and cannot afford formula to supplement their diet; she did the best that she could and supplemented their feedings with porridge. As we’ve seen time and again, however, mixed feedings do not provide adequate nutrition for newborns.
The third infant weighs just over 3kg and is 4 ½ months old. Her vacant eyes watched as we weighed and measured her, she was too weak to offer many cries of protest. She is an orphan, being looked after by family members and has been stricken with repeat bouts of diarrhea.
We are thankful that these three infants, along with the others that TTL has served, will receive care and support that will improve their odds of survival to their fifth birthday, and beyond. We celebrate the safe home intakes, the family reunifications and the graduations from the TTL program, one child at a time.
|One of the three newcomers to the TTL safe home|