If young Moses Annan was older, he would be happy to be alive today. He would even be happier to

learn that his name is associated with an epic moment in the country when, at the precipice of self-destruction, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan brokered a peace deal that silenced the war mongers.

Josephine Mwakazi at home with Moses Annan after receiving her Jubilee Award, last year. She is raising the little one as her seventh born. Photos: Pascal Mwandambo/Standard

As he plays gleefully at his foster home at Mwakingali village in Voi, Taita-Taveta County, little Annan has no care in the world knowing that his mother, Josephine Mwakazi, will take care of anything that may worry him.

Mwakazi is the angel who found him three and a half years ago after Annan’s biological mother dumped him in a gully in the village soon after birth.

When she held the tiny baby for the first time, Mwakazi was so overwhelmed with her love for him that she sealed her ears and avoided the negative things people said about her.

Generous heart

Some said her gesture did not spring from her generous heart but an ulterior motive to get money from well-wishers.

“If I were a soft person, someone who takes what others say to heart, I would have given up and let the boy go. But I was determined to give him a chance in life and I already loved the baby too much to let go just like that,” the 63-year-old grandmother and mother of six told The Standard at her home recently.

There was something about her reaching the boy at the time she did that makes Mwakazi feel even more attached to him. If she had gone to the place a few minutes later than she did, perhaps the baby could have been mauled by the many village dogs or he could have died of the night cold. She feels, strongly, that her meeting him at the time she did was predestined and there is something spiritual about the whole incident.

As she watches the little one play with vigour, Mwakazi can only smile, her happiness radiating around her.

“After I rescued the child I decided to bring him up as one of my own children. I ignored the juicy rumours doing rounds that I wanted to make money out of him. I knew I had a purpose and it was nurturing Moses.”

The little one’s story is not very different from the one of the Biblical Moses; the only difference is that the latter put her baby in a basket with the hope that someone with a kind heart would pick him from River Nile and take care of him. While Annan’s mother was not thinking on the same line, her son too got a loving mother to take care of him.

Selfless act

“God blessed me with six children and now I have adopted the seventh one, which is a big blessing to me. Seven is a complete number,” Mwakazi says, her face breaking into a warm smile.

Her selfless act of taking care of the abandoned child has been recognised and Mwakazi became last year’s winner of the Jubilee Insurance Samaritan Award (Jisa).

The Jisa award, part of the insurance company’s corporate social responsibility, was set up in 2006 and honours members of the society who are passionate about the welfare of those around them.

The award is usually executed by a panel comprising media practitioners, who, by the very nature of their work encounter individuals who go out of their way to do humble and caring acts.

Mwakazi says her family has welcomed the child as a gift from God and her husband, Roy Mwakazi, a former civic leader in Voi, is happy about his family’s new addition.

Dump babies

“Once teenage girls discover they are pregnant, they get frustrated and come up with ways of getting rid of the pregnancy as they have no means of raising the child. Many of them dump the babies or kill them. But this should not be allowed to happen. I wish they would give up their children for adoption because somewhere out there is someone willing to love that child as their own,” says Roy.

He points out that cases of children being dumped and left for dead by their mothers are on the increases in Taita-Taveta County. His wish is that the county moves with speed and establishes a children’s home and a rescue centre to deal with this reality.

The Mwakazis say they will tell the boy about his miraculous survival once he turns 18. For now, they would like him to continue basking in their love, enjoying his childhood.

By Pascal Mwandambo, The Standard

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