Mozambique's flood baby, Rosita turns one this week

February 25, 2001, 06:26 PM

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Rosita safely in her mother hands

Mozambique's most famous flood victim, Rosita Chibure who made headlines worldwide last year after being born on a tree and airlifted with her mother, Sophia, from the flooded Limpopo River valley in a daring rescue mission turns one this week.

A year later, floods are again ravishing central Mozambique, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake, but the Chibure family are now living a privileged life.

Salvador, Rosita's father, is at home while his wife and daughter are in Maputo. The family now stays in a new three-bedroomed house built by the Mozambican government. He's had to take over his wife's responsibilities and look after their other two children.

"My life has changed a lot. It's better because I have cattle, goats and a house. Money is the only thing I don't have," said Salvador.

The family is the talk of the town in Chibuto as many feel jealous that the government gave them a house.

"We are jealous. Maybe the government will also give me a house if I give birth in a tree," said a community member.

While in Maputo every month end, Rosita and her mother go to the bank accompanied by a self-appointed interpreter, Fatima. They don't have to wait like the others.

She receives about R5 000, 20 times more than Mozambique's minimum monthly wage. But Sophia has only one wish for her baby.

"I want Rosita to study to become an administrator because I don't know how to read or write," she said.

Rosita celebrates her first birthday on Thursday. In less than 12 months, she's done far more for her family and her country than any other toddlers her age.

Rosita has travelled the world and has been showered with gifts. Her family is enjoying a life of realtive luxury. But, little is known about the more than 8000 children under the age of five who also suffered in last year's floods. -SABC