14 May 2018

My son died of hunger

Growing up in a family where going to bed on empty stomachs was a normal thing left Mpontseng with emotional scars that took 10 years to heal.

Mpontseng and her six siblings were raised by an unemployed single mother. 

When she was 15 years old, Mpontseng dropped out of school and dated a man who gave her money to buy food for her family.

"That was a great relief for my family because we always had something to eat, but the situation worsened after I became pregnant, three months into our relationship. My boyfriend disappeared when I told him about my pregnancy. We went back to sleeping on empty stomachs. My mother would sometimes ask for food from our neighbours," said Mpontseng.

Mpontseng later gave birth to a baby boy.

"My son wore clothes donated by friends and neighbours. I breastfed my child even after six months because I had no food to give him. That was the most painful time of my life because I had to breastfeed while I had nothing in my stomach," she said.

Her son passed away at the age of eight months because of malnutrition and hunger.

"We did not have food at home and we all went to bed with empty stomachs. On the second day without food, my child became weak and he could not even move his body. That same week my son passed away. That was a final blow for me because we did not have funeral cover at home. Knowing my family’s situation, my uncle helped us to bury my son. The pain of losing my son after I had already bonded with him left me shattered. I cried every day and I blamed myself for not having money to buy food," said Mpontseng.

A month after her son passed away, Mpontseng was invited to the Universal Church.

"I attended the church services every day because I was desperate for help, and my heart ached for my son. I did not want to lose another member of my family because of hunger. I prayed for a job at Monday services and applied the teachings of faith in my daily life," said Mpontseng.

After two months in the church she found a job and she was able to take care of her family.

"God honoured my faith. My mother and siblings later also got jobs. I was no longer the only one providing and our lives improved. We stopped depending on other people for food and clothes," she said.

She attended the services on Wednesdays and received counselling.

"I made peace with losing my son and I invited the Holy Spirit to fill the void I had in me. The presence of God gave me the comfort I needed," said Mpontseng.

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