Children in „Maggie’s Sunhouse“ - Our youngest one: Angel Ojera

by Maggie Noelting

Windhoek, August 11, 2007

Angel, born in Namibia on 2nd of May 2004, is the child of Ugandian parents. Shortly after his birth the mother became liable to prosecution and has been sentenced to 7 years of prison.
While the mother, when going into prison, kept the baby with her, the father left for Uganda. Ever since there has not been any contact.

In the beginning of November 2006 Angel, meanwhile aged 2 ½ , has been brought to us by a Sergeant of Windhoek Central Prison. The Ministry of Child Welfare had assigned a temporary admission to „Maggie’s Sunhouse“, as the child was not bearable in prison any more. He was screaming a lot and conducting himself aggressively.

In the meanwhile Angel already has been with us for 9 months and he will stay. „Maggie’s Sunhouse“ has become his home. We are his home: Lena and Flyode, our caregivers, and myself being the persons to whom he relates most closely and of course all the other kids being his brothers and sisters.
We uphold the contact to his mother. Fortnightly we go to prison during visiting hours.
Days before we are preparing the boy. We are watching him. Is he glad? About what? The mother? The cardrive?
On 27th of June I pick up Angel at „Maggie’s Sunhouse“. Lena accompanies me. In the car she must hold the child on her lap. Angel’s eyes fill with tears. His nose is running. He doesn’t speak a lot. Now and then the past comes back to him. We go, where he spent the first months and years of his life. He already knows the way.

His mother, Barbara Katende, joyfully hugs him. She has knitted a cap and a pair of gloves for the little one and spoils him with the sweets I brought for her.
Being strictly supervised by Censors we are allowed to take some photos. In advance I had applied in writing for permission to do so.
During our conversation the mother becomes very approachable. She deeply regrets what she had done and the first time entrusts to me, that she had been tested HIV positiv before she gave birth to Angel. Oh, no, it shoots through my mind. Has Angel been infected?
I am thankful that she has trusted me with that and I know what is coming towards me now. Saying good-bye Barbara Katende is handing over a letter to me, approved by the censor.
On the way back through the prison yard to our car, Angel seems to be depressed.( photo 11 ) During the return however he recovers. All the different cars on the street are rousing his interest. They are fascinating him.
„Maggie, look there,“ he’s shouting. „It’s a truck, it’s a bakkie, it’s a bus.“
He already knows that my car is a Chico.
Back in „Maggie’s Sunhouse“ I put him onto my car. He is happy.
I drive back to my flat. The statement of Angel’s mother is keeping me thoughtful. I will have all my children tested for HIV.
After having settled all preparations I make an appointment with the manager of the new founded organization „New Start“, a voluntary councelling and testing centre.
Off we go with a tranport of the Ministry. Angel is looking forward to the cardrive.
Having arrived in the foreign building with all the rooms he suddenly clings to me and starts weeping pitifully. This scene is repeating itself, when ever we had to change rooms.
Reminiscences of the years in prison? Has he been locked up anywhere each time he wasn’t bearable?
During the blood sample Angel behaves quite relaxed. Then we have to wait for the results of our HIV test. Angel is attracting the attention of the others by reciting passages of the bible and counting from 1 to 20.
We are called to come in. What I am to hear now has a wonderful releasing effect. All test results are negativ. The children feel the joy. Together we eat the chocolate sweets brought along and drive home.
Angel is running to his favourite place on top of the slide. From here he has a view over the wall of our premises to watch the cars on the street. And he even can see me driving away in my Chico.
„Bye, Maggie“, I hear him calling, like always.

Bye, Angel! You will live!