A YOUNG man was on Tuesday left in tears after discovering a newborn baby girl at Khomasdal in Windhoek lying face down with three of her fingers missing. He has given her the name “Miracle”.
“When I saw her lying in the bush, I immediately suspected she was delivered and dumped there, because she had her umbilical cord, and there were blood stains and some other things,” Abisia Sheetekela (27) told The Namibian.
Sheetekela, who has a little daughter himself, says he was on his way home from the Windhoek Vocational Training Centre (VTC), when he saw two of his friends, who heard the baby crying, near the bush.
“I was standing by the VTC waiting for the lights to turn red when I saw my friends curiously staring at the bush,” he says.
Sheetekela says one of his friends told him he thought there was a baby in the bush, judging by the cries.
The bush was so thick it seemed impossible to get in there, he says.
He went in, however, and saw the baby girl lying face down.
“Because I did not know what to do, I immediately called my mother in tears, and she advised me not to touch the baby until the police arrive at the scene.
“But I could not bear to watch the baby in pain as she was lying with her face in the grass and stones, so I had to touch her,” he says.
Sheetekela says the baby reminded him of his one-year-old daughter.
“I thought of my own daughter, and there was no way I was going to watch her in pain and not help her,” he says.
“The police took a while to arrive at the scene, and I was worried about how the baby was doing because of the missing three fingers on her left hand.
“A few minutes later still at the scene, we saw a health ministry vehicle pass by the road, and we pulled it over and the police showed up, and we rushed the baby to the Katutura hospital,'' he says.
Sheetekela says the baby was handed over to a social worker who cleaned her up and kept her warm. Sheetekela says he plans to adopt baby Miracle.
“I promise to go through the right procedures to have Miracle as my own and take her home to my one year old baby,” he said.
He excitedly envisioned how happy he will be to have two daughters.
Sheetekela visited baby Miracle at the hospital yesterday and presented her with clothes he has bought for her.
Khomas regional police commander Ismael Basson this week confirmed the incident, saying it was reported to the police on Tuesday afternoon.
“We did have a report of a baby girl that was discovered on Tuesday afternoon at Khomasdal, and investigations are ongoing,” he said.
WHERE TO SAFELY LEAVE YOUR BABY
The ministry of gender equality in 2019 decriminalised baby dumping to allow mothers to leave their unwanted newborn babies at safe places without the risk of prosecution.
The ministry said this law provides for babies to be left at certain safe places such as hospitals, police offices and registered places of safety.
Mothers have been encouraged to anonymously leave their babies at these places as long as the babies are unharmed. A Swakopund-based organisation that caters for abandoned babies, the Ruach Elohim Foundation, also provides a safe haven for such babies.
The foundation's founder, Ronel Peters, says she and her husband have created the Baby Box, which is a box attached to the wall of their yard at home where mothers can anonymously leave their babies. Peters says once a baby is placed inside, there is an automatic alarm that goes off to alert them of the new arrival.