Ma Oretha still remembers the rainy day her four month-old grandson was dropped off in the middle of Zimbabwe, Point Four, wearing only the clothes on his back.
“I opened my room door and saw this four month old baby and thought to myself, how will I begin to take care of this child when I don’t even have food for myself?”
Ma Oretha didn’t know the journey she and her grandbaby would have to go on at that time, but left everything she was doing to take care of the abandoned child.
“His mother had him and after four months, she left him one night and ran away to where the boys take drugs. Right now she’s a drug addict and has left two of her children all over the place,” Ma Oretha shared.
After having kept Teddy for more than a month, the infant began to lose weight because there was no milk or food for him. He contracted a cough that gave him gasping spells whenever he coughed. Ma Oretha fed the child L$5.00 tied milk with half a glass of well water twice a day because she says that’s all she could afford to give him.
“He got dry. On two occasions he fought death and on one occasion he was hospitalized for what looked like TB, deep cold,” she recalled.
There was no help. Those living in the house with Teddy and his grandmother also did not have money to help the sick child. Ma Oretha worried that the baby would not make it because he had turned to bones overnight. He was very ill.
And then Ma Oretha fell sick herself.
It all began with stiffness in her joints and then from time to time she was unable to walk. Signs of pressure were visible but Ma Oretha didn’t have money to go to the hospital. She put her grave health aside and focused on feeding Teddy his milk regularly as he gradually became weaker and weaker.
Meanwhile, Teddy turned two years old a couple of months ago and steadily his grandmother fed him other things, whenever and whatever food was available. No one knows what has gotten Teddy through these years, but some say he has the spirit of a child that was not meant to die.
“The boy is strong. He has been sick all his life but yet he refuses to die just like that. And no matter how he is feeling or how hungry he is, he smiles,” said Cynthia, a tenant in their house.
Five months ago, Ma Oretha had a stroke and was rushed to the hospital. There were no funds to keep her hospitalized so she was discharged and told that she had a heart condition that required daily medications. Ma Oretha says she refuses to let her health stop her from taking care of Teddy, who she has asked people to help on many occasions.
Now she is at a point she can no longer pick him up or hold him.
“As you can see and only because it’s serious now, I can’t take care of Teddy anymore. I don’t even have strength to lift him up. I’m slowly dying and I will not rest fine knowing that Teddy is here all alone like this,” she said sadly.
According to Ma Oretha, Teddy’s mother was last seen at the Zone 7 Caldwell police station alleging that she had been stabbed with scissors by her drug abusing boyfriend.
“She is no longer to herself and we haven’t laid eyes on her since she ran away. I know Teddy can no longer depend on her, so I have to find a way. That’s my responsibility now,” added Ma Oretha.
Before going to press, Ma Oretha revealed that Teddy has just begun walking, a miracle for the child who didn’t have strength in his legs.
Anyone wishing to help is asked to contact the Daily Observer 0886-472-772