Birthday : May 6
With her father having passed away by the ravages of AIDS, she was one of many others living with their widowed grandmother trying her best to provide shelter in a one-room mud hut – a home without electricity, no water, and rarely any food. Once daily the children would walk to the nutrition center in the hopes of obtaining a bowl of NSHIMA [the basic white cornmeal mush] for all of them to share as their one meal a day. Melody, one of the oldest children [9 years old at the time] rarely attended school, as she was left in charge of the younger children while grandmother would go to market with a few vegetables she grew in the hopes of selling them. Melody’s duties included watching over the younger children, fetching water at the well, cleaning the house and grounds and tending the garden. As the nutrition center was only open during weekdays, the children went with little or no food on weekends.
What a celebration for all of us that Melody was the first child placed in our home by the Zambian Social Welfare officer.On the first night in Vima Lupwa Home, Melody snuck into the kitchen in the middle of the night and gobbled down almostone dozen raw eggs – needless to say, she was extremely ill for a few days. A few nights later a strange crackling noise came from her bed, and upon checking on her, she was discovered sucking and chewing up the bones of the chickenthey’d had for supper that night. During the days she would grab a broom and sweep the house and yard, thinking that inorder to stay in her new home required her to continue to serve everyone.
The malnourished shy Melody of five years ago, who inspired the construction of this home, is hardly recognizable from today’s beautiful young lady. Melody is now 15 years old and has a voice and laughter that can be heard from anywhere in the house. Over the years her protectiveness has grown from just little Shadrick, her biological brother, to the whole family. For the past couple of years, she has been the second in charge after the houseparents and helped keep the children in line and very well cared for. Her perseverance to catch up with her peers in her studies has been incredible. She spent many days in tears frustrated that her progress couldn’t go faster. Slowly she caught up and is now one of the top students in her class. Her favorite subject is English and Writing. Having struggled for so many years to receive even a survival amount of food, Melody was still found hiding food from the kitchen. We have seen tremendous improvements in her and hope to enroll her in a local nutrition training program, since cooking seems to be a passion of hers.