Monday, February 28, 2011
Clouds and clouds of sorrow
The entire community of this large city is under the shadow of great grief. On Friday, we lost four little souls for no good reason. They were dropped at their individual home daycare just as any other morning.
Then their phones began to ring. Their baby was either dead or struggling to hang on to life, fighting terrible smoke inhalation and/or severe burns. The local stations cut into programming with breaking news.
The scene on our screens was close to organized chaos. A corner house was surrounded by huge firetrucks. There was a ladder on the roof and a hole in the roof that originally was chopped open to ventilate the smoke because there was smoke. Heavy, black smoke. There had been a fire, but it was mostly smoke in that house.
Before the TV crews showed up on the scene, there were firefighters running toward ambulances parked half a block or more away because there was no space closer. They were running with the limp bodies of dear babies toward the ambulance. Other firefighters were doing CPR on those little bodies.
This is a daycare that claimed to be open 24/6, or at least that was what was written on the side of the van. And the van. It had bags of groceries still in it. The owner/director was standing outside the door screaming for help because "the babies are dying." You see, she had left those babies along while she went to the grocery store.
It is known that she was only keeping children 18 months to 3 years. It is known she has been doing this for a year. When she applied for a license, she had two marks against her. One was a fire extinguisher and the other a CO monitor. Nothing has been said about those things. Were they there? But against the rules for running this daycare was the fact she had maybe 9 babies that day instead of 7. Would that have made any difference? Who knows. But the child she shouldn't have been keeping is either dead or fighting for its life too.
Now she has fled the country. She is in Nigeria. What will happen? That is not known now. I guess it's up to the Nigerian government. If she comes back, there are charges already set, and I believe there will be new charges. Four parents have lost a baby. About two more have another baby fighting for its life. The remainder of the parents just had a single child there. The ones that live will probably have health problems for the rest of their life.
Just when, as a parent, you entrust your child to a person you trusted.
Peace be with us all.