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Babies


       Most of the children at Kasisi are babies. The most typical story of a Kasisi orphan is that the mother has died (often of AIDS) and the father, if he is alive, cannot take care of a baby. So, the child is taken to the orphanage so that it can be properly cared for. If there is a family, Sister Mariola encourages that they visit and try to help financially support the child. Rarely, however, do the families help support the child. By the time the child is old enough to take care of itself, a family member (whether it be the father, an aunt, uncle, or grandparent) is usually willing to take the child back, especially if the child is male, because now the child is able to help the family by performing chores or bringing in another income. Rarely are children adopted; the government, in fact, recently passed a law that prevents international adoptions. Since Zambia is a third world country, most people do not have the means to support another child. So, the older the children, the fewer there are at Kasisi. In particular, there are very few older boys, apart from the street boys.

        The babies are a particularly demanding age group. They must have powdered milk, which is a heavy cost burden on the orphanage. Moreover, a great deal of manpower is needed to feed the babies (including middle of the night feedings), bathe them daily at 4:00, change diapers and wash diapers.

        The babies are separated by age group. The newborns are in one room, those that sit up are in another, and the toddlers are in yet another group.

        All those babies that are HIV+ live in House of Hope, an isolationist ward for HIV+ babies, and babies and children that are sick.