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Saturday, January 18, 2014

A day in the life in Swaziland: HIV, DNA, birth control and of course a pit latrine baby


Yesterday was a fairly typical day.  I start by making a plan that requires me to drive to town and spend an hour or so to do what needs to be done.  At the END of the day I drive home, emotionally, spiritually and mentally exhausted and then have a laugh as I tell Ian about all that happened.

There are several parts of the day that I can’t share with you yet, but will another time.  But for now I will give you a blow by blow of the day.

·      Left Project Canaan at 7:30AM with three women from the Kibbutz, two babies from the Kibbutz and an El Roi Baby (and a volunteer from the US named Lynn)
·      Dropped two of the ladies off at a clinic in Manzini to get birth control shots.  Learned that they have to have shots for three months in a row before they can get the ten year “implant”.
·      Learned that the reason that “my girls” want birth control EVEN THOUGH they have sworn off men is because there is so much sexual abuse and rape here.  Better safe than sorry (and my Compassion Purse funds it).
·      Went to Social Welfare office to meet an 18-year old woman and hear her terrible sorry of being kidnapped and into a forced-marriage (not uncommon here). She married a police officer, who beats her regularily and last week used his hand cuffs to tie her and then beat her. She wants to get a restraining order and go back to school so we were being asked to help work this through complicated situation.  We agreed to help in some areas, but insisted that she be tested for HIV so that she at least knows her status while we working out other things.  We went to clinic with her and sadly, she learned that she is HIV positive.  I hugged her and told her that she can live a full live being HIV positive, but that she will need to make some lifestyle changes and go to clinic on a regular basis. It was a very sad moment in the day.   We are still helping her with her crisis.
·      Went to a private clinic where they do DNA testing.  One of our Kibbutz women is adamant that a certain man is the father of her two youngest children.  The man claims he is not the father and will not help with payment for the babies.  Social Welfare insisted that he raise the $250 US to do a DNA test on the eldest of the two (to start).  We all met at the DNA lab for testing and my Kibbutz lady was so adamant about the truth that she paid the extra $100 US to have the little baby tested too, even though that baby lives at the El Roi Baby Home now.  We will know the truth for sure in 4-5 weeks. This is not something that is important to me or to the baby being with us, but it is important to her and she wants me to know that I can trust her … and so it is important to me now. Oh, I didn’t mention that the man brought his new wife with him to the DNA testing lab? The same wife who was pregnant at the same time as my girl was? Awkward.
·      Went to RFM Hospital to meet up with Futhi from the Kibbutz who’s baby was rushed to emergency room the night before because she was having great difficulty breathing (and lots of vomiting).  This is the same baby who is severely disabled and HIV positive so we must take extra care with her.  She was diagnosed with pneumonia and almost admitted to the hospital, but we were able to get her home because Kenny could give her the antibiotic injections here on the farm. Oh, that is if we could find them somewhere. Turns out all the pharmacy’s in Swaziland are out of that prescription.  Would deal with that one on Saturday.



·      While at RFM Hospital we were approached by a woman, whose 13-year old son had been in the hospital for a long time, and had just been discharged, but she didn’t have enough money (around $13 USD) to pay his bill so he was made to stay in the hospital until she could pay.  We walked her to the Social Workers office where she could seek assistance. 
·      While at the Social Workers office we were asked again when we were going to take the baby who had been dropped in a pit latrine two weeks earlier and had been discharged a week ago, but who was still there.  I explained that we were waiting for the proper paper work from another government department, but that it was being delayed, again.  The Social Worker was very concerned about the baby getting a hospital infection, which is what happened last November while waiting for paper work and that baby died.  This is a frustrating situation and one that we are praying for a miracle about.
·      While going and checking on the pit latrine baby and making sure that the diapers and formula that we took the week before were still enough, I was approached by another lady who had a 3 lb premature baby in the NICU ward.  A nurse told her about the El Roi Baby Home and she begged us to take her child so that he won’t die when he goes home.  Again, I walked the lady to the Social Worker office and explained that she must speak with her, not with me. We can only help through the proper channels. Stay tuned for more on that one.
·      Went back and picked up the three women who were getting their birth control sorted and the three children they had with them, loaded up Futhi and sick baby.
·      Learned on the way home that my Kibbutz girls spent all their money at Christmas so they have no food from now until payday on Jan 31st.  Had a little talk about budgeting for Christmas 2014 (!).  Stopped at another store to buy them bread then called Anthony to have some maize, vegetables and Manna Pack dropped off at the Kibbutz to tie them over.  SO thankful for Manna Pack and compassion purse funds!
·      Dropped baby off at El Roi, three women and two babies at Kibbutz and then got home after 5PM.

This photo isn't relevant to anything in this blog, but its really cute :)
Have I mentioned lately that I love my life?  And my babies?  And my Kibbutz girls?  I really, really do.

Live from Swaziland … tomorrow is another day, and I get to visit Nomsa.

Janine

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