As you all know, my friend Nonduduzo died about 2 weeks ago at the Respite Unit. Over the past few months, I had become very close with her family and boyfriend as well. Lucky (see previous blogs), her boyfriend, has been through hell as of late. He stood by Nonduduzo as she fell sick and was even with her the moment she passed. Here in Africa, it is NOT the norm for men to stick around, to tend to their children or to be faithful to their partners. Lucky is a wonderful man. Nonduduzo left baby Andile behind and Lucky has fought hard recently to keep him. Nonduduzo’s Mom threatened that she wanted to put the baby in an orphanage and take him from Lucky.
After she took the baby from Lucky, he phoned me and asked for my help. I helped him figure out the best way to address Nonduduzo’s Mom about keeping the baby. He wanted nothing more than to keep Andile with him. Lucky is HIV+ and does not have a job following major surgery and being “let go” at his job. Raising a baby on top of his current struggles will not be easy, but Lucky is absolutely determined to do the right thing.
After a family meeting, Nonduduzo’s Mom agreed to give the baby over to his Daddy. Of course, both Lucky and I were ecstatic, but we also knew that now he needed a job to take care of Andile. I began asking around the Respite Unit and was prepared to really “spread the word.” In the back of my head, I realized the poverty here and the thousands of Zulus who are desperately looking for employment. I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. Well, prayers do get answered…that is for sure. I spoke with one of our nurses whose fiancé owns a local factory. She said she’d go home that evening and speak to him about any openings. That same night, I received a text from her saying that her fiancé would be glad to give Lucky a job effective immediately. Wow!!!
Today, I am proud to say, I took Lucky to meet his new boss at the factory. He was smiling ear to ear all day. The meeting went really well and Lucky cannot wait to begin work on Monday morning. He has also worked really hard to set-up a spot in the local crèche (daycare) for Andile. Lucky has had a rough go of things, but this is truly a fresh start for him. I’ll let you know how his first week goes!