Bonny mi lik lik poro (my little friend)
Bonny was born under tragic circumstances. His unwed mother did not reveal the identity of his father – an indication that she was a victim of rape, which is common in this remote area of Papua New Guinea.
Rejected by her tribe, she died soon after giving birth to Bonny alone by the river. Fearing that he was a cursed child, and believing he was “as good as dead” anyway, they decided to throw the infant into the river.
However, one family in the village were followers of Jesus and they protested this action. Peter and Afran have three of their own children and they took Bonny into their home as their own son. However, nursing mothers in the village refused to feed Bonny, who they still considered to be cursed.
Using their very limited funds, Peter and Afran bought powdered milk to feed Bonny. Unfortunately, powdered milk is nutritionally insufficient for a newborn and the water used to make the milk caused Bonny to have diarrhea, causing him to become critically dehydrated. In desperation, Peter and Afran heard of a team of health care workers from Youth With A Mission who were staying at a nearby village and they took him there.
Of the first time YWAM health care worker Hannah Peart saw Bonny she says, “I was really shocked at the level of malnutrition. He was so tiny his ribs were obvious and his cheeks and the soft spot on his head were visibly sunken indicating serve malnutrition and dehydration. I remember looking at him in shock as I realized that if he was not fed and looked after he would die in a day.”
Peter and Afran explained the rejection they faced in the village for taking on this “cursed” baby who was meant to die. They described their struggle to feed him and the pain they felt every time Bonny cried.
“I heard of their love for this small child but also the utter desperation and hopelessness they were in,” says Hannah, “I was so moved by their desperation that I knew I had to do something. I told them how much God values life and how He sees all his children and that His heart breaks for the most vulnerable and weak. I spoke life over this child where so many people had only spoken death.”
Hannah walked back to the village with Bonny and his family. As they arrived, a crowd gathered around and Peter spoke to the village about the value of life. His words changed the opinion of the village, who decided that Bonny was not cursed after all, but valued. Nursing mothers offered to breastfeed him and the village offered their support.
Although safe from the threat of infanticide, Bonny was still dangerously malnourished – at one month old he weighed only 1.8 kilograms. The YWAM team arranged for Bonny to be cared for in a nearby hospital and for Afran to stay with him.
Over the next four weeks, Bonny put on weight until he was healthy enough to be discharged weighing 2.4 kilograms.
“There was much laughter, and tears as we prayed and said goodbye” reports Hannah. “I feel so blessed that I was able to meet this family. And I trust that God will continue to have His hand on this child. He is not a cursed child but a blessed one!”