I feel a need to talk about Serlande and to share a little about her with you. I have not completely accepted that Serlande is not coming home soon. It is too difficult to face and deal with yet. That will come later. I am finding it extremely difficult to write in the past tense. I want to say ‘Serlande is’.

Swinging outside the school

Serlande was born July 15, 1991. I took her into the Children’s Home and into my heart nine years ago when she was nine years old. I was asked to take Serlande by a doctor at Hospital Albert Schweitzer. He assured me that if I did not take her and care for her she would did at a very young age, as she was diabetic. He explained that Serlande was abandoned by her family and was a very sick girl. Serlande, at age nine, had walked down the mountain and asked people for money to take a TapTap to the hospital. She knew she was very ill and people advised her to do just that.

Pretty in pink

Serlande came to live with me in 2001. I remember trying to get a school to accept a 9-yr-old into Kindergarten. She had no prior chance of attending school. She was a happy girl skipping off in her new uniform. Serlande was in grade seven this year at age 18. Serlande was insulin dependent so my administrative assistant and I had a lot to learn about diabetes in a hurry. Sometimes her blood sugar would go whacky and she would end up in the hospital for a couple days to get things straightened out.

Serlande had a love for life and, despite her illness, looked forward to the future as a wife and mother. She was a young mother to the little children in the Children’s Home. I praised her many times for the excellent way she dealt with the little kids. I had, for some time now, been considering the possibility of Serlande eventually working for HATS instead of leaving to look for work outside. Serlande had what it took to be a responsible and dependable worker with the children.

Serlande with little brother Judel

All dressed up in new clothes.

First day of school, September 2009

Serlande loved to play, sing, and to help others. She was a very big help in the Children’s Home and she was loved by all. Serlande was far more important than she knew – especially to me. I hope I showed it enough.