It was the morning of a school day when the goat went into labor, so the Round Home was almost empty. Just after mid-day, she gave birth.
When a goat is born, the first few moments are crucial.
She is at risk of being trampled or bullied by older animals that are defensive of their territory. Her immune system is weak; other goats that approach her could accidentally expose her to diseases that her body cannot fight yet. The farmyard is not an easy place to be small.
But the gardener knew what to do. Taking bamboo sticks and a roll of netting, he built a protective pen for the two newborn goats. Gently, he lifted the tiny animals in his arms and placed them inside with their mother.
When a child arrives at the Round Home, the first few moments are crucial.
We lead her through the gardens, the doorways, the rooms. We show her we are glad she has come, that she is in a safe place. Nothing from the outside will come in here to hurt her.
As the sky darkens, she climbs into a bed with fresh sheets. We say goodnight to her and wish her good dreams. Seeing her in front of us, on the kinder side of these walls, we want to help her trust this place. We want to promise her justice. We want to tell her about the day when she will feel strong and loved and free.
But for these first few moments, all we can do is stand in the room with her, holding hope quietly within ourselves. Outside, above the garden, the moon is coming up through the madre cacao tree.