On Christmas Eve as we were celebrating as a family and enjoying a relaxing day, we got a call with some devastating news. News that a parent or friend never wants to hear. We got word that Simo, one of the twins we had kept last year after first arriving in Swaziland, had been killed when his house fell in on him. A young life tragically taken before his time. Nosipho, his sister, was in the house as well but escaped with only a few minor scrapes. It hit me really hard and I found myself holding back the tears as I thought about him for the next few days, especially during the Christmas season.
In case you forgot Simo’s story, here is a quick recap. Cabrini got word about two twins dying on their homestead from malnutrition about two years ago. As an organization we immediately took action and had them taken to a local hospital for emergency nutritional care. After they recovered sufficiently from severe malnutrition they came to live at our hostel. After just a short time at the hostel it was time for the children to go home for a school holiday, but we were wary of sending these guys home so soon since they were still recovering.
Enter the Kickert family who had just arrived in Swaziland, we invited them to live with us for the school break and never looked back. We enjoyed a month or so of nursing them back to health, watching them grow, and spending lots of time playing. During that time Mikayla, Ben and I fell in love with these two African babies. They were still very weak and well behind their developmental stages. They were almost two and not crawling, walking or talking. Simo in particular was well behind the growth curve even further behind his sister. As time went on Nosipho began crawling, walking and even doing a little talking. Simo on the other hand, was struggling to pull himself up and figure out the whole crawling thing. They were both developing into their own little personalities and smiling and laughing more each day.
The first time I saw Simo walking I almost cried. It was a beautiful sight, one that I didn’t think we would see for a long time, if ever. He matured so much in the last year and really grew into a healthy young boy. A young boy who if you saw him a year and a half ago you wouldn’t think he would live past the two year mark. Instead he enjoyed a prosperous last year and for the last year enjoyed a full life as a healthy young boy.
So on this day we mourn for Simo, but we also rejoice for the second chance at life he got over the last two years. We will forever remember Simo and his goofy grin, the way he would constantly stick his tongue out when looking at you and his strong desire to succeed just like his sister!