Parenting 29 children and still going on
She is not that big in physique. In fact, she is fair but in the fairness of her stature, she has enough room in her heart to accommodate one more soul.
For the past 33 years, this simple government recruited hospital ward attendant has brought meaning to the lives of 29 children, some of whom have since completed their education and excelled in their academic studies to secure enviable jobs.
Meanwhile, some of her children are merely less than a month old on their journey of life, and from the number of the little children she has in her custody four are on ARVs.
Born 51 years ago, Christina Kansinjilo, hails from the southern region district of Balaka. She did not do much in school and due to her poor educational background, she sought employment at one of Malawi’s largest referral hospitals, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, in the commercial city of Blantyre where she had her maiden encounter with one of the inescapable truths of life – death. Not her own, but that of adolescent and adult mothers, who have left behind innocent newborns with nowhere to turn to for life support.
The experience nudged the soft spot in her heart to create room and help save the lives of many infants, who otherwise would follow their mothers in death because of preventable causes such as lack of adequate care and support.
In 1980, Kansinjilo told her husband of her intention to expand their family by adopting poor little souls who had nowhere to belong to after their mothers had died.
“We agreed that we would take only those who did not have both their fathers and mothers and whose grandparents or relatives who could not afford to support [them],” she narrated about their first adopted son.
Speaking recently from the central region district of Kasungu where she is now working at Kasungu District Hospital, the woman with the heart of gold said then her family has grown to include 29 children, including six of her own off-spring.
The woman says the family found itself in Kasungu after her husband, who used to work at the state-run public housing provider, Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC), was transferred there.
“Unfortunately, after we got here, my husband was fired from MHC,” says Kansinjilo, who explained that throughout their mission to help young children it was through divine providence that they have been able to make ends meet.
“So, while I am at work my husband is the one who takes care of the children,” she said recently, adding that well-wishers have come up to help with nappies, sugar, blankets and porridge flour while government has taken some of the children on bursaries to provide for their educational needs.Upbeat about one of the experiences in the life of one of the children adopted in Kasungu, Kansinjilo explains that one early morning some years ago students at Chankhunga Community Day Secondary School found a little baby thrown in the gardens near their school.
After reporting the case to the school authorities, says Kansinjilo, the teachers took the little baby to Kasungu District Hospital where doctors dismissed any chances of survival for the baby since they said it was a six-month-old pre-mature.
“I was touched so much that I helped in the nurturing of the little baby until the hospital allowed me to take it home where we called the baby ‘Moses’ in reference to the Biblical Moses whose mother threw [him] away but was later found and brought up by someone,” an emotional Kansinjilo says.
She explains that Moses has this year passed his standard eight primary education examinations and has been selected to attend his secondary education at Chankhunga Community Day Secondary School where he was found nearly dead.
Despite her struggle to make life worthwhile for other people’s children, Kansinjilo, who has since established Chimwemwe Foster Home, says she is seeking the assistance of MHC to provide her with a plot to build a foster home.
“Anything can happen to me or my husband and we want to separate the foster home from the family home so that in future we do not give room to squabbles that may arise between my foster children, their relatives and my children,” said the woman. She points out that her first born biological son, who is working in Blantyre, is also engaged in charitable work and helps the elderly.