Tree baby Rosita captures hearts around the world
Published 02/08/2000 | 00:11
ROSITA, barely five-months-old,is her ravaged country's most profitable celebrity. For the past two weeks this baby girl, who was born in a tree during Mozambique's floods, has been shuttled around America by charities on a fund-raising junket.
Her remarkable rescue by a helicopter crew from the swaying treetops became the symbol of her country's misery and the image charities want to trade on.
Her mother, Carolina Cecilia Chirindza Chibure (23), said in London yesterday: ``Its been great for us. I never thought this sort of fame would happen to me. I am enjoying it.''
It is a far cry from the misery of three days last March, before television cameras filmed the rescue of her and Rosita by helicopter from a tree above the rising floods.
She said: ``I had no food or water. I was feeling dizzy and I was scared I would fall into the waters and drown I still have nightmares of Rosita tumbling into the rivers running beneath our feet and being dragged away from me. I still can't believe we both survived to tell our story.''
Mozambique officials know the value of Rosita in their global appeals for money, now that public sympathy has slipped away, and enthusiastically support the marketing of their miracle child. In the US she has helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Counsellor Americo Fortuna, the acting High Commissioner in London, said: ``People only react to the sight of Rosita. She represents our people. We urgently need financial aid from wherever we can get it.''
In her lace-edged lilac suit, Rosita was oblivious of her celebrity status. All she wanted to do, before the final leg of her 8,000-mile journey last night, was to sleep. Unfortunately the demands of TV news interrupted her nap.
In Maputo her father, her brother, Benedetto (2), and sister, Selina (4), are living on food rations in a transit camp near the capital. After two weeks of living in hotels, Rosita's mother has been told the Government plans to give her family a house one day.
(The Times London)