Jemimah Peace Onalola entered the world at 10:30 Monday night. Besides her mom, dad, and grandma, Dawami was the first to meet her.For more than a decade, Minnick Lenge, Dawami's best friend, and her husband, Felix Mulamba, have been praying for a younger brother or sister for their middle- and high-schoolers, Martin and Grace. Monday, after three days of labor, that prayer was answered with a seven-and-a-half-pound baby girl.
The mood in her room in DeKalb Medical Center's shiny new women's building was festive yesterday, as Jemimah opened her eyes for the first time, and Minnick and Dawami fussed over her, rubbing oil into her hair, powdering her cheeks and feet, and changing her tiny socks. Proud papa Felix Mulamba eagerly passed his daughter around to family and friends.
Minnick's mother, who lives in Atlanta, and Felix's sister-in-law, who traveled from Belgium to attend the birth, arrived wearing bright African dresses, carrying a basket of food; Dawami, her hair newly braided, had come bearing a pitcher of tea; and the room was full of balloons.
The baby's name reflects her parents' history. In the Bible story, Minnick explained, Jemimah, daughter of Job, was given to him by God when at last his trials were through. "After all I see in the war," said the Congolese-American, who came to this country seven years ago as a refugee and is now a naturalized citizen, "He give me this baby."
"Peace" was both a celebration and a continued hope, Minnick said, and Onalola means "child given by God."