I was crying as I drove out of the church premises. Tried as I could the tears just kept rolling down! I could not believe that I was crying, but I was. I even snapped at the road safety corps marshal that was assisting in controlling the traffic. I hope he did not see my tears. No I do not think he did for it was after I snapped at him that I realized how upset I was and then I started I crying. Hm.. thought I have passed this stage. I hope nobody saw me, but it does not really matter.
Yesterday was children and youth harvest in my church. It is an annual event. This year’s is tagged “harvest of re-union” I think my belle started spoiling when the harvest preacher said that he was baptized in this church, received first holy communion, received the sacrament of confirmation in the church, was a mass server and later went to become a priest, though not a Dominican priest, so it is a welcome home for him, a reunion. His sermon was quite inspirational I must say, but like I said, my belle don spoil as I could not stop thinking; what will my dd, Ziim, benefit from this church spiritually beyond baptism? Ziim is six and there is nothing that is done in the church to include children with special needs like her. The church does not seem to be aware that there are children with disabilities. As I glanced through the magazine, I saw pictures of the pastor with children playing, dancing, having fun, I could not help thinking; of the over thirty thousand parishioners of this church, it is just I, Nonye that has a child that is living with disability, ok, I know Mrs O and her child with Autism, no wonder nobody bothers about us, such insignificant!
Before you ask, I have talked with the powers that be, that there is a need to sensitize the parishioners to the existence of children with special needs in their mist. It will not only encourage parents not to abandon their children with special needs either at home or at the institutions, but will encourage empathy and better understanding from the parishioners, leading to less discrimination. I am still waiting for something to be done.
I think my tears were not just for Ziim, but for all the children living with disabilities whose parents attend mass here every Sunday but their interest is not considered in the scheme of things. Does the church recognize their existence?
The bazaar was after the 3rd mass, though Ziim loves going out, I know that I was not going to take her there. The memory of that of last year is still fresh in my mind. Then I remembered that Down syndrome Foundation has invited us to their family funfair to mark the end of their awareness week. Yes, that is where we shall be today. The venue is just by us, making it easier.
After lunch we went to hang with them. We arrived just as they were starting. As we sat down, a lady approached us. I know you, she stated. No, I do not think you know me. I know you very well in St. Dominic’s. Ok, now I see, I think what you want to say is that you see us, more like you see the baby. Well, I think I can say I know you, you attend the 6 a.m mass. Ok, you see us or stare at us? Not really stare, I do not stare, I have a brother with Down Syndrome so I know what if feels like to have someone you love living with disability. We talked. As we talked, she wondered why a big church like ours does not seem to acknowledge the existence of children with disabilities.
Ziim had fun, with all the attention she received. She even got to carry the Olympic torch which Penny Green who came from U.k
At about 4.45 p.m we left, I took Ziim to her God mother’s and I went to sing at the evening mass.
By the time I came back to pick her, I was greeted with the news that she ate very well. Really? What did she eat? She ate rice and she ate a lot. Hm.. that further confirms our feat.
As we got home, she was barely awake to take her medication, I managed to give her a birth, before I could put on her pajamas she has fallen asleep.
All I could do was to repeat the words of our closing hymn;
Come and rejoice with me,
Come let us praise to the Lord,
He has wiped away my tears,
And fed me with happiness.