This week in Pular language studies I learned words for members of the family. I drew my language helper, ‘Binta’s’ family tree for practice. When I drew a fourth child for her baby due in September, she looked a little surprised.
Although Binta is a Christian, I try to take every opportunity I can to share Bible truths with her. I told her that God created her baby and that it is a real, live human being. A lengthy discussion ensued about the fate of unborn babies and children in West Africa.
Binta said she was taught that ‘Allah’ did not breathe life into an unborn child until the mother is four months pregnant. It was only when an American friend showed her pictures of gestation that she knew the truth. She was amazed at God’s handiwork; at how He forms a baby in the womb.
Sadly, abortions are too common in young, unwed mothers in West Africa. I have also been told of babies who are used in spiritual rituals and sacrifices.
Mothers who do not want their babies will put them in a gutter for torrential rains to sweep away; or on the beach for the tide to carry out into the ocean. The more fortunate babies are bundled up and left in the grass, or by the road for someone to find. This was the case for a tiny, two week old baby boy found last week. Fortunately, two colleagues volunteered to adopt him.
And what about older children whose parent’s cannot provide for them? Just today I heard of a van full of ten naked children, ages 4-7 being smuggled across the border to be sold as slaves or prostitutes. It is possible that their parents sold them for food money.
In the U.S. we kill babies before they are born. In Guinea, mothers facing poverty and despair struggle with killing their babies well after they’ve given birth to them.