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Saturday, November 17, 2012

A new baby is born to a 13-year old mother and new life on the Project Canaan farm

It’s spring here in Swaziland and everything is blooming. Everywhere I look there is new life.   Anthony delivered the first fruits from the tomato garden this week and we were so blessed to enjoy them with beautiful balsamic vinegar that we purchased in Venice during our visit with the International Egg Commission.

The weaver birds have gone crazy outside our back door, building nests tirelessly and then tearing down nests that didn’t quite make the cut.  Sadly we have a few eggs and small birds that come down with the nests and it is a “danger zone” to walk under the tree to get to our back door.  None the less, we love watching hundreds of these beautiful yellow birds fly back and forth all day with pieces of grass that are 10 times longer than they are.  They are God’s perfect creation.
The rains continue to fall each week and our dams are full to overflowing. They are predicting that the heavy rains will not fall this year so we are so grateful that we will have the water from these dams to help irrigate through another drought.

We were so happy to receive another 40 ft container of life-saving Feed My Starving Children food from La Croix church in Cape Girardeau, MO.  We currently provide 10,000+ hot meals to orphans and vulnerable children in the 30 rural church communities in which we serve and we could not do that without this food. It is saving lives and building healthy bodies and minds.

Each Sunday Ian and I go for a 2-3 hour walk around Project Canaan and are absolutely overwhelmed with all that the Lord has provided.  It is mind blowing to say the least.  Last Sunday we went to the Moringa fields where we have planted 1,500+ trees that were started from seed in our greenhouse.  Guess what we found?  Seed pods on many of the trees!  Ian was so excited because now we can start growing our own seeds and don’t have to import them from the US.  I know you may not find that exciting, but we sure did!

There was new life at the hospital this week. I will quickly share two of the many stories that we experienced in a 4-hour time period.

First was the early morning call that a 13-year old (rape victim) was in labor at the hospital and could we possibly go and take the baby?  All this had been reported to the police and when the young man who was accused of raping her was approached, he denied it.  HIS parents were angry at the young girl for such an accusation so they beat her very badly.  Needless to say the girl’s 32-year old mother didn’t want another mouth to feed and the young girl needed to go back to school, so the next day baby Hannah came home to El Roi.

While I was visiting the young girl I noticed another young mother struggling to walk down the hallway. For some reason her bed was at the end of the hall by the cleaning supplies closet and the kitchen, she was not in the main ward.  She could only walk a few steps at a time and needed to cling to the wall to do so.  I helped her get to the toilet and back where I saw her newborn baby lying on the bed waiting for her.  This girl was from Mozambique and had no family in Swaziland.  She had given birth ten days prior by Caesarian Section and was clearly struggling with the after effects of the surgery. Based on her overall health and appearance I would bet that she was HIV positive, which has a very negative effect on the healing process.

I was concerned about her health (and location) so went and got the Social Welfare officer and the Social Worker at the hospital to come and speak with her.  As the story goes, she had been discharged a week prior to our meeting and given a prescription for pain pills and infection, but here’s the catch.  She had no money to pay her extensive hospital bill (this is a semi-private hospital) and so she was not allowed to leave with her baby.  You don’t pay, you don’t go.  Unfortunately, if you can’t pay the bill, you also can’t pick up your prescription because the medication is included in your bill and the pharmacy is on the outside of the hospital after you are discharged and pay. 

I was speechless. This woman was in terrible pain, but couldn’t leave the hospital.  Her boyfriend had his phone turned off so we couldn’t reach him to see if and when he was coming to get her.  I asked how much money it would take to pay her bill (C-section couldn’t be cheap?).  They had to go to the accounting department and have her file pulled. After an hour or so they came back with the bad news … it was R104.  A big number for this young mother with no work. It was $12.50 USD. 

I am thankful for people who come to visit us and leave a bit of cash with me when they leave.  I get bits and pieces of local currency that allows me some freedom when I am in situations like this.  I believe it is all God’s money and so when my little zip lock bag of “emergency cash” is empty, someone always seems to come along and put a little more in it just for when I need it.  Well, that day I needed it and without hesitation I was able to pay the $12.50 hospital bill. Then we dressed the baby with extra clothes I had brought for our newborn (who wasn’t being discharged until the next day), found some clothes for the naked woman (sorry, I didn’t mention that she was sitting naked with only a cloth wrap over her body  - that is how I knew she had a C-section, because I could see the scar) and we drove her home. 

Lori Marschall helping bring Baby Hannah home to El Roi.
I struggled this week with the pain that I saw in women’s faces, with frantic call by a police officer to help care for a 3-week old baby found on the road, with funding needed for the Heart for Africa organization so that we can continue this work, and with my own inability to “do it all”.  But through the pain and frustration I saw all the new life that the Lord has provided – tomatoes, water, birds, eggs, baby Hannah and His gentle assurance that He has never asked me to “do it all”.  He is all I need and He can do it all, and more. 

Live from Swaziland … He is bringing new life to me every day.


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