Thursday, May 28, 2009

May 26 addendum


Wow! Robin, Craig and I spent the morning accompanying Hendrika as she made home visits to various clients throughout Kawangware. We spent most of our time in the homes of three young women, all of them HIV positive, all with young children equally affected. The first woman had 1 ½ year old twins, Troy and Trevor and they both got a kick out of the video I had on my camera of the students at Ray of Hope singing and dancing. Trevor, the more gregarious of the two, even bopped in his seat. We talked with Hendrika at length about the work that she does and I became more and more amazed the more I learned. She is a tireless and endlessly compassionate woman with a work ethic that is almost unfathomable. She makes home visits 5 or 6 days a week from 6:30 am to check her patients before they go to work, until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. She walks miles and miles every day and often accompanies her patients to far away clinics or hospitals to ensure they receive the care they need. In addition, she has 7 of her own children at home.

After a nice meal of boiled mixed greens, a filling corn meal cake, and homegrown pineapples from Marsile’s home, Craig and I sat down with Hendrika to write the day’s report. Almost before we began, Robin, who had just gone down to the clinic to assist with a delivery, came rushing in and told me to come down. Hendrika and Craig graciously allowed me to leave and Robin and I rushed down to the delivery room. Robin entered and I waited in the hallway until Nathaniel, the nursing student in charge of the delivery, led me into the room. Inside I found Robin with Florence who was in some control of the situation, a plastic apron over her sharp office attire, and a stoic young woman lying on her back, legs propped up, hands around her ankles. As Nathaniel put his hands between the woman’s legs to show me the child’s yet emerged head, I turned to Robin and said, “That’s got to be impossible.” She laughed and assured me that it was and Florence laughed more when she heard what I’d said. I then asked if I could let the woman hold my arm and Florence laughed again and said that she’d probably break it. So I sat, excited and expectant, at the foot of the bed and waited while in energy in the room rose with each contraction until in one excruciating and euphoric burst the child’s head exploded out and the fluid shot nearly to the ceiling, while the mother gave her one and only scream. The body slid out, followed by a short moment of calm and relief, and a few seconds later the silence was broken by the holy cries of the newly born babe.

It wasn’t until later that night that I realized what had happened. Not only had the seemingly impossible became possible, it had become actual. I think that’s a good lesson as I continue to think about the devastating poverty and need that plagues the place we’re in. It’s true that a solution seems impossible, but babies are born every day. The impossible is continually made actual, and birth makes the past irrelevant.

The mother’s name is Sophia, and she had a beautiful baby girl.

1 comment:

  1. Josh,

    You got to experience one of life's miracles.
    Thanks for sharing,