Annet is an awe-inspiring single mother of triplets living in Businywa, a village in rural eastern Uganda.
After delivering one baby, she was rushed to a hospital on a motorbike where she unexpectedly delivered two more! Abandoned by her husband, she is raising these precious miracles alone.
Christian Charity Compassion International just recently launched a fundraising campaign seeking to help the family, and much to the amazement of the non profit organisation, $5,881 (roughly Ugx 22 million) was raised by well wishers in just 2 hours.
Annet was unable to afford an ultrasound during pregnancy, she discovered she was having triplets the day she delivered them.
After giving birth at home to baby Samuel, Annet knew something wasn’t normal.
“It looked like I hadn’t even given birth to a baby,” she told Compassion International.
She climbed onto a motorbike, clutching Samuel to her chest, his umbilical cord still connecting them. They bumped down the corrugated dirt road toward the health center.
There, a midwife examined her before throwing up her hands. She turned them away, declaring the birth beyond the center’s capabilities. “I was confused as to what was going on,” says Annet, “until she said there is another baby and it’s not in the right position.”
The news left her speechless but overjoyed.
“I thanked God because it is a gift to have twins. Inside I was asking myself, ‘How will I take care of these children?’ But I couldn’t stop thinking that God gave us His grace and His hand was upon the twins.”
At the hospital, an ultrasound revealed another surprise: not twins, but triplets! The doctor realized Annet’s weakened state and pronounced it a life-and-death situation. Daughters Patience and Grace were delivered by emergency cesarean section.
But while she was still recovering, Annet learned devastating news: Her husband had left her.
“When my husband found out that it was not twins we were having but triplets, he switched off his phone so I could no longer contact him. In our community, twins are a blessing but triplets are a curse. He wouldn’t even come and pay the hospital bill.”
Bereft at her husband’s abandonment and despairing at how she would raise her babies and their older sister alone, Annet was at a loss. Her husband’s family despised the babies as a curse, and her husband even threatened to kill them.
Thankfully, staff from Compassion’s local church partner heard about her situation and immediately stepped in to help. The regular food, clothing and medical care they provided through the Compassion program lifted a huge weight off Annet’s shoulders.
Even with this support, as a single mom living in poverty, she struggles to pay the rent on her tiny two-room home. It breaks her heart to see her children, now 3-year-olds, climbing over one another in the cramped quarters. When her rent is overdue, she fears the landlord will chase them from the home.
Samuel, Patience and Grace turned 4 years old on July 18.
These family currently live in dilapidated structures with deteriorating grass-thatched roofs, little ventilation and poor lighting. Water leaks from the roofs, causing fungal and skin infections among the children. The homes are also infested with flea-ridden rodents.
“I hope that Patience, Samuel and Grace get to have an education — something I never did,” she said. “If we were to get a new home for my children then we will be free. I will no longer be worried about rent and getting chased away if we can’t pay.”
Compassion International’s Zoe Noakes, Eryn Carman, Helen Manson, Craig Thompson and Caroline A. Mwinemwesigwa contributed to this report.