We finally get to the number we had looked for, but find out that Maria doesn’t live there; it is her brother’s house. He says where she lives there are no numbers that is why Maria uses his address. He offers to show us the way.
We drive along the dirt roads between the houses until the road can go no longer. Then we walk along a small footpath through tall bright green grass and maize crops rising up around us. It is hard to believe we are still in Harare. We come to a small settlement of houses, with various children around, some ladies, some chickens, a well.
And then, there is Maria walking towards us, shyly smiling, quite obviously not pregnant anymore. I am so happy to see her, I feared the worst, yet had fervently hoped for the best.
Liliosa explains to Maria that we have come to check up on her and she is clearly astonished. She leads us back to her small home, a one-bedroom wooden structure with a corrugated-iron roof. There on the bed lies a small miracle. Her week-old daughter who Maria proudly says she has named Takudzwa, which means “We have been honored” in the local language. The child is perfect, she is even trying to open her eyes and I swear she smiled when I cooed at her.
Maria delivered her right there on the bed. Two days after she got back from our cholera camp. She not only didn’t have the money for the hospital fees, she didn’t even have the money (2 USD$) for transport to get to a clinic.
But somehow she only had one hour of labor pains and then Takudzwa arrived. It was a clean birth, no complications.
The future, though, still lies uncertain. Maria has three other children. The only income she and her sister have is buying fish wholesale and selling it to individuals. But she has no money to go to the clinic for a check-up after the birth, nor has she been able to take the child for its immunization shots.
But still, a small miracle is before us and we all smile down on the baby. Maria says despite it all she is very happy with her daughter.