Early in January, 2006, the Child and Family Protection Unit of the Entebbe Police Department contacted Uncle Robert about the deteriorating health of 8 month-old triplets named John, Jimmy, and Cheche. They were living in a very poor village with their mentally ill mother. The boys were extremely sick and the community was worried. On numerous occasions the boys were left alone and forgotten about. When the villagers tried to help the children by taking them into their homes, their mother would become irate and belligerent. It was obvious the babies were not getting enough food and were growing sicker every day, causing concern to grow in the community. The Local Council was alerted about the situation and voiced their fears to the police.
The following month Robert was called to a meeting that involved the community leaders, the Child and Family Protection Unit, and a local child advocacy group. It was inevitable that the situation had become life threatening and if something wasn’t done immediately they were going to die. The boys were now in critical condition; each baby was sick with malaria, pneumonia, and severe malnutrition. The local authorities made the difficult decision to rescue the triplets from their birth mother and placed them in the care of Malayaka House.
Robert spent the next week in the hospital with the boys until they were strong enough to go to their new home. They continued to travel back and forth to the hospital, as the infants’ weak immune systems were not strong enough to fight the malaria. High fevers, convulsions, vomiting, diarrhea, and serious upper respiratory infections were some of the triplets’ most challenging symptoms. All efforts would go into getting John back to health and then Jimmy would get sick. Once Jimmy started to get better, Che would get sick. For six months Robert and the aunties fought to keep the triplets alive.
Today they are more than perfect! All three boys graduated nursery school in December 2011. It is almost impossible for one to believe the grave start they had in life compared to how well they are doing now. Their personalities are very different, but each shares an exuberance that is second to none. It is no longer possible to speak of the triplets as a single unit like we once did, but it is also not possible to think of them as separate. They are connected to one another by something that is unknown and mysterious, which is both powerful and beautiful.
Jimmy’s two qualities are sweet and loud – very sweet and very loud. Jimmy is the alarm clock for Malayaka House. He wakes happy every day. Before the sun is up Jimmy can be heard talking in his high-pitched voice to whoever will listen. He was doing this even before his words made sense. Jimmy is something of an anomaly, in that he may be the nicest person ever to move on God’s green earth. It is not that he is careful, because he is not afraid of anyone or anything and is willing to fight wherever injustice sits, but he is connected to everything smaller and in need of his care. He loves to spend time with the babies, and can be seen teaching them words, how to crawl, or leading them around the house hand in hand. Jimmy also loves playing with the animals and has that special affinity and communication with them that is rare in this world. If there is one word to describe Jimmy, he is truly “free.”
Jimmy is sensitive and cares for everyone around him. He is very good friends with Ishmat, much like an older brother, and he likes pulling him around the house on a skateboard.
Jimmy studies Primary in Entebbe Junior, and his teachers adore how gentle he is. The aunties call him “Doctor Jimmy” because for a long time he said that he wanted to be a doctor. However, he recently changed his mind and now wants to be a veterinarian.
Jimmy’s hugs and smile are some of the best and more sincere, on the planet. Everyone falls in love with him from the very first moment.