In my hand is a leg that is less than ten seconds old, technically, even though it has existed for almost nine months, because we define age in extrauterine terms. But this tiny being, the one who is staring up at me with the widest eyes, who at two minutes of age is already trying to eat his own hand, seems much older than two minutes and much wiser. He seems already to have a purpose. The clinic nurse is happy that there is a baby boy... "We need boys," he says, "to rebuild the Congo." I am saddened for a moment when I think to myself it is in fact boys who have destroyed the Congo. Boys, and men who have killed and tortured each other, burned homes to the ground, raped and plundered and pilaged this country. I think to myself that maybe it is the little girl who was born a few hours before the boy in my hands, she is the one who can rebuild the Congo if we give her the chance. If we can vaccinate her and feed her and keep her healthy so that she can grow strong and survive past the age of five. If we treat her with respect and dignity so she learns to value herself as a human being... If we educate her so that in turn she can educate her own children... the impact would be long-lasting. It's a big job, rebuilding the Congo. It's a lot of responsibility, the hope of a nation, when you are only a few minutes or hours old. Maybe if the little boy and the little girl work together, hand in hand, they will change the Congo together.
© Ron Haviv/VII