It is becoming too frequent now that young mothers, most likely in deep distress, are leaving their newly born on dumpsites or at hospital doors.
We do not think it is necessarily a sign of maternal evil, even though one could call it that; but looking beyond what seems like the obvious, we should carefully think about what would drive a mother to dump or abandon her own infant.
Teenage pregnancy is rampant today. Just last week a 16 year-old in the Daily Observer’s immediate neighborhood gave birth to her first child, a son. When we asked the young father what his intentions were, he talked of marriage, but said he had no job. We told him we observed that he had a business which his girlfriend was helping him with— up to the day she delivered—so he could develop his business to be able to support a wife and child.
Perhaps it was the small business, the teenager’s involvement in it and the seeming commitment of the father that caused her to keep her baby. Otherwise poverty and an irresponsible mate could have driven this 16 year-old mom to desperation.
Why? It is because there are too many poor people in this rich country of ours. And why do our people continue to live in poverty? One reason is because so many of the people in power or near power are so mean-spirited and selfish, with no compassion for their own people. They prefer to reach out to foreigners and give them EVERYTHING, including even allowing those who commit the ultimate abuse against our women—rape— to be released from prison and allowed to return to Lebanon even when these foreigners are convicted!
Denying them justice is the horrendous (horrific, dreadful) extent to which some of our leaders go to demean, frustrate and harm their own people. In which country, we ask, will Liberians receive such unconscionably corrupt benevolence? There is none.
As one drives to work daily, one sees our children, some as young as six, as well as our teenagers and healthy, able-bodied young men and women on the street wasting their precious energies selling chewing gum, candy and other totally insignificant imported items, when those of the appropriate ages should be on the farm producing food and other cash crops, or in school learning a trade, or productively employed in stores that instead prefer to hire foreign young people.
Who says our own young people cannot be trained to do that same work these foreigners are doing in the stores? But if our officials and powerful people in and around government have a heart and mindset that favors foreigners against their own people, then our people will continue to live in abject poverty and we will continue to WASTE our human resources; driving our people to live desperate lives that compel them to leave their infants on people’s porches, at hospital entrances and at dumpsites.
No one, of course, can accuse us of defending the criminal act of throwing away an innocent child. What we are trying to get our government, our leaders, the privileged and powerful in society—whether in government or on the fringes—to realize is that the Liberian people continue to live in abject poverty; and that they are, therefore, desperate.
One of the comments from the crowd at the dumpsite where the infant was discovered last week said it happened probably because in this Ebola season in Liberia, it is difficult to get anyone into a hospital. We see what happened a week ago to a prominent Liberian academician and politician, who after suffering a stroke could hardly find a hospital to accept him. He died in his car! How much more a penniless mother, who was most probably a teenager.
Our leaders inside and outside government, and Liberians in general need to develop not just the intellect and acumen to perform their work successfully, but LOVE and COMPASSION in their hearts for people, especially their own people.
Remember compassion was the distinctive mark of the most powerful man who ever walked this earth—Jesus: He had COMPASSION for people. He went about healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, making the lame walk. And when He saw the 5000 who had been following him all day hungry, He had compassion on them and ordered His disciples to make them sit down. The willingness and determination in His heart to do something to help them prompted the Heavenly Father to respond positively. When all had been fed, there were 13 baskets of leftovers!
When our people start loving and caring for their own people, the desperation will stop, and there will be plenty to go around and we all will be a well-to-do, safe, healthy, grateful and happy people.