Muslim Refugee Adopts Abandoned Baby
By Stephen Steele
Catholic News Service
FARCHANA REFUGEE CAMP, Chad (CNS) -- The faint cries of a newborn baby in the stillness of an August night woke Khadidja Mahamat Ahmat, a Sudanese refugee residing in the Farchana refugee camp in northeastern Chad.
She left her tent to investigate and under a tree about 150 yards from the nearest tent, she and a neighbor found a newborn baby lying naked on a small swatch of white cloth.
Ahmat, a Muslim, told the neighbor that she considered the baby a gift from God and that she would adopt it as one of her own. She then sought out a village chief to seek his help in registering the baby.
Another neighbor, Kaltouna Harbab Abdallah, agreed to nurse the baby, since she already was producing milk for her 2-month-old daughter.
The village chief took the women to the tent headquarters of Caritas, known in Chad by its French acronym, Secadev. Among those who greeted the women was Alan Isaac, a technical adviser for U.S.-based Catholic Relief Services, which has been offering logistical and technical assistance to Secadev.
"I was amazed that this woman was so willing to adopt this baby. It was amazing how both women teamed up to provide the baby with what it needed to survive," he said.
"It is true that there is not enough food, but I am trying to do my best to feed them," she said.
Once the baby stops nursing, Ahmat will have another person with whom to divide her family's rations. She already is caring for four children ranging in age from about 8 to 18. Increasing her food rations for the new child means navigating around the U.N. labyrinth of red tape, but she said she will worry about that when the day comes.
"God will provide," she said.
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