For the sake of Purity
WHEN she was born it was doubtful whether Purity would make it through her first week of life.
On Friday the little Kenyan girl turns one.
The happy and healthy child is a living testament to the work of Ivan and Mary Budulica and their family, formerly from Richmond Hill, who gave up everything to help orphaned babies just like Purity.
The Budulica's sold their home in Australia to set up Mission in Action, a baby orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya, where they now look after 35 babies, many of whom lost their parents to AIDS. Purity is no exception.
“Her mum was so sick, she was HIV positive and Purity was born 1.4kg at full term. A week later her mum passed away,” Mrs Budulica said.
“She was so tiny and we thought she was going to die too, we almost lost her a couple of times. We got her when she was 15-days-old and she was touch and go for a while.”
Mrs Budulica is, for all intention purposes, Purity's mum. She looks after her as any mother would, providing 24-hour care and takes her everywhere.
With Mission in Action staff member Martha Mongina, the Budulica's are in Australia for a week to raise awareness about the orphanage.
Purity is taking it all in her stride. For Mrs Budulica it is nice to return to the Northern Rivers, but Kenya is now her home.
“I miss family and the social life, but Kenya is my home and that is my life. I can't see myself leaving, they are my kids.
“We've got a couple of years left of raising children, they call me Mother Mary.
“I'm there for all of them but Purity, because she was so fragile, I take personal care of her.”
Purity is HIV positive, a legacy of the antibodies passed on from her mother. But with proper diet and care, by the age of two her system can fight the disease.
Many children have done so, becoming HIV negative thanks to the Budulica's care.
Mission in Action has opened an office in Ruskin Street, Byron Bay. It is run by Sarah Eaton and she can be contacted on 0402 768 967.