DOB March 1, 2008
Came under Tumaini care March, 2010 – Where do I start with this little one? Independent, strong willed, determined (wait he reminds me of ME!), Liadi, our second youngest, and little brother to Athuman and Harriri, Gaspar and Anna came to us by tragic accident when his mother was murdered in a domestic. His mother had been a friend of mine. I had made her a micro loan which helped her establish a used clothing business and enabled her to feed – barely – the six children who remained under her sole care after her husband died of AIDS.
Liadi was afraid of me (a mzungu, or white person) when I visited his home before his mother’s death and we had quite a tough few days of adjustment after he came to Tumaini. Then, all of a sudden, I became his replacement mama. He attached and has never wanted to leave my side. Liadi is a VERY independent little boy who is bright, inquisitive and a bit precocious! He was the baby at Tumaini until his sister Nasma joined us in 2013, much to his chagrin; he knows he is adorable, and he plays all of us for MUCH love and attention!
I have dozens of stories about this little guy, from his discovering my baby powder, stripping himself naked, dousing himself in it and then parading around Tumaini House, showing off his new look or, asking for my 1.5 L bottles of Kilimanjaro spring water, almost bigger than himself, and insisting that, “I can do it, Mama!”, only to pour water all over himself! Liadi is a HAM for the camera; still very afraid of cats, frogs, almost any living creature but is still inquisitive!
On a much sadder note, Liadi struggled whenever he would see his brothers or sisters after his mother’s death (all but the adult son have come under our care) struggling internally with wanting to be near them yet not wanting to return to the hardship of his former life. And, he missed his mother terribly.
One day I took Liadi to the market in Usa River to get some vegetables. His mother used to attend that market to sell her wares and often brought Liadi with her. Upon identifying the location Liadi began crying for Mama. Our driver told him, “Mama huyu hapa”, mama is here, meaning me, but I was not who Liadi was looking for. He wailed and wailed for his mother, writhing in my arms to get away and go to her until, finally, I had to tell him that Mama was with God now; Mama was in heaven . . . Liadi collapsed onto my shoulder, completely deflated and quietly sobbed to himself. It was a tough, tough day all around.
On a happier note, one day Liadi escorted some of the children to the doctor’s office and a former neighbor of his mother’s saw us there and asked if indeed this little boy was Liadi . . . we assured her he was, at which point she exclaimed, “I could hardly recognize him! He has filled out so much and his skin has changed!” We were so very proud that day . . . for that is our mission. To raise our children in a safe, loving, healthy environment where they will not just survive, but THRIVE! A place where they will get a real chance at a quality education and a real future!
Update – February, 2014 – Approaching six years old, Liadi is now in 2nd grade, no less precocious, no less, flirty, but in this last year he has learned to construct sentences and I have been gifted with many a LETTER, from our little man! Sentences! His thoughts strung together! Having missed this development stage for lack of youngsters of my own, I marvel at how far not only Liadi, but all of our children have come and it is an incredible feeling to witness their progress.
Liadi is still very fearful. He startles at the smallest bug and can be a bit of an attention seeker, but he does have a sweet disposition (to go along with a rather unpleasant temper), and can be very charming. He struggled with attending school and a stubborn streak persists which gets him into trouble with his teacher on occasion. We continue to work with him to encourage good choices and hope that all that is beautiful in this little boy will continue to develop.