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I Know Sammy Lived

Words from our Founder Delilah…

On Sunday, March 11 the Lord called our beloved Sammy Young D’zolali Rene home to heaven. I had adopted Sammy from an orphanage in Ghana, West Africa two years ago, and he instantly became a part of our extended family and a huge part of our hearts. Sammy’s love and happiness were infectious, his broad smile would light up the room. All who met him were touched by his silly, fun personality and his unconditional love.
Sammy was born in Ghana, we know not when, we know not where, we know not who bore him. When he was a toddler he was found wandering the streets of a village, lonely, hungry and cold. School children took him in and fed him scraps from their lunches, and allowed him to sleep in the school room at night. After a time the school’s head mistress tried to locate family members, and no one claimed him. He was taken to Osu orphanage in the capitol city of Accra, and there he stayed.
An auntie was eventually located and told the director of the orphanage that Sammy would scream at night, and writhe on the floor. They believed he was possessed by demons and they tried to cast the evil spirits out, then they would beat him. When that didn’t stop his screaming, they put him out in the street to die… Little did they know he was writhing in pain because of sickle cell anemia, a genetic blood disorder that afflicts many in West Africa.
When the school children found him they named him “Dzolali”, meaning “spirits fly”… Sammy spent most of his life in Osu Children’s home, he did not ever have a visitor or a relative come to see him. He never received a Christmas present, never had a birthday celebration. He never had his own room, he never learned how to read or write. He was often cold and hungry, there was never enough food for the kids at the home. He never had new soccer shoes or his own soccer ball…But he did have the talent to draw, so he would sit for hours and draw pictures for the other children living in the home. When visitors would come to see the other kids, Sammy would hurriedly draw a picture to bless them.
When he would have his sickle cell attacks, he would be told by the aunties running the home to be quiet and to go lay down, he was disturbing the other children….a few years ago a sweet lady named Auntie Annie came to the home and took an interest in Sammy. She would carry him to the street, get him on a crowded bus and take him to the hospital where he would be given something to ease his horrible pain.
In 2010 while working in Ghana I went to Osu and met Sammy. He had been very sick the day I was there and stayed at the orphanage instead of going to school. He was sitting at a small table in the sun, drawing pictures for the other children in the home who don’t attend school. When I met him he gave me the picture he was drawing, and put his name on it. In took his small, stubby pencil and drew a picture of him, and handed it to him as a gift. As the Lord would have it, there was another lady at the orphanage that day, Lauri Thibert, who lives in the Puget Sound area. Laurie was adopting a boy from the orphanage, Osei, and she knew Sammy well. She offered to help me to keep in touch with Sammy by sharing the cell phone she had left at the orphanage for her son Osei. I knew in my heart that Sammy was special, talented, lonely and that I loved him, I just didn’t have a clue how special he really was at that time or how much more I would grow to love him…So it became a pattern, every Sunday morning Laurie would call me and tell me that she had just spoken to Osei, and Sammy was waiting to talk to me. After a few weeks of wrestling with the Lord and insisting that I could not handle adopting any more children, God had given me peace and the strength and courage I needed. A lawyer was found and the insane paper trail began. It took a full year to get the adoption completed and get his visa to come to the US.
During that time I took him out of Osu and put him in a foster situation at Buduburam, the refugee camp we work in. In no time at all Sammy had all the employees of Point Hope and probably half the residents of the camp wrapped around his little finger. His charm and warmth touched all he met. He had his first real “family” in Buduburam, he lived with a young man named TC and then moved in with Kwasie and Aunt Essie…he was so loved and cherished, and when I came to take him home to America, they did not want to let him go.
Once he was home to America, he could not get enough love and affection. He was like a little puppy, wanting to be held and loved on constantly. He would run his fingers through my hair, sit on my lap, drape his gangly arms around me every chance he got… after a few months, that began to change and he rapidly matured into a sweet, young man, far too mature to be held by “Momma Bear”.
He worked hard at everything he put his hand to. He loved having his own room, and he kept it spotless and neat. He loved having several changes of clothes, and his fashion sense was impeccable…his shoes looked as if he had never worn them, because he would clean them every day. He made his bed each morning and put his things neatly away. He got frustrated when his siblings would not help out around the house and he was constantly telling me to go sit down, he would do whatever task I was working on.
The last week of his life he was highly offended by me that I put him in “Mary Bridge CHILDREN’s hospital”, insisting he was a young man, not a child. When I tried to reason with him and explain that Mary Bridge had the best possible resources to help him, he disagreed. I finally told him it was NOT my fault, that his uncle Dan Diamond had insisted he go there and to blame him. Because he adored Dan and respected him so much, he was able to accept that and be at peace.
Sammy loved to eat, to laugh, to tease, to draw and paint and to dance. He had a sense of rhythm like Michael Jackson, and moved like he had taken years of dance lessons. He was always the life of the party, surrounded by others who would clap and dance along as he danced to every single song… and we had many parties in the short time he was a part of our lives and each time he would say that he was not going to attend, that it would be “boring”…and then he would end up being the center of attention each time!
On the first night that he was fully my son, Sammy told me through his tears that he never dreamed God would answer his prayers. He said “Momma, I always thought I would die alone in the orphanage. That I would never know what it was like to have someone love me”…..and then after several racking sobs, he said “and no one would even know that I had ever lived”
I promised him through my own tears that he would not die alone. That he would not die in an orphanage. That he would be loved more than life by me and many others, and that people would know that he had lived.
He died in our arms, he died surrounded by people that he loved, and none of us will ever forget that he lived. That he lived life filled with God’s grace and mercy. That he lived life filled with hope for the future. That he lived life that was worthy of God’s calling, and that he lives on…

If you would like to Join Delilah and Point Hope contribute towards Sammy’s Place at Point Hope Village, Please click here and Make a Donation In Memory of Sammy
Watch the new music video about Sammy called, “You Lived” by Jesse Funk.
More information at http://www.PointHope.org