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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Healthcare in America

This week I had a call from one of our Project Canaan team members who is focusing on ministry on the farm.  She leads bible studies, teaches, prays and loves on people who are hurting and in need.

She called to see if we could have a quick meeting and I said yes.  Minutes later she was on my patio and, without hardly taking a breath, she quickly explained to me a situation.  The sister of one of our workers was dying.  She had been diagnosed with Cervical cancer many months ago, and was told that she needed a hysterectomy.  An older woman counseled her against that because she was only 26-years old and still had a responsibility to bear more children. So in order to keep her womb the “friend” took her to MANY Witch Doctors (Traditional healers) to seek treatment. This would include consuming all types of potions made of live and dead things and dirty river water.  She just got more and more sick. (No kidding).

Finally she ended up in a hospital and was given blood transfusions as treatment.  She was not treated with chemo or radiation and was failing quickly.   Early in November she was sent to hospice, but after three weeks the hospice people sent her to the hospital because they didn’t want her to die at hospice and she was becoming hard to manage.  Three weeks after that the sister (who lives on Project Canaan) was called to say that the hospital had discharged her because she was bleeding heavily, only had a few more days to live, and the nurses didn't want her to die in the hospital ward. (I will say that this is all second-hand information, but it is the information that I have been given).

This particular family has no parents or Grandparents and no homestead to return to.  There was nowhere for her to go for her final days, and worse (to the family) nowhere for her to be buried when she died.  In this culture, you must be buried at your family homestead in order to meet up with your ancestors after death.

After a short conversation we agreed to let her come to live, and die with dignity at Project Canaan in Nomsa’s House.  The team quickly rallied to buy a mattress, borrow an open back truck to transport her, gather adult diapers etc and headed to town.  When they arrived they were told that she needed four more blood transfusions before she could leave and each one took four hours.   She could not leave without the blood because she was bleeding so heavily, so they were to go back the next day. Well, that was Saturday, and confusion ensued and she was not able to be picked up until Wednesday AND after the bill for her 3-week stay in hospital was covered.  I sent R115 ($11.50 US) with the team to get the WHOLE bill paid and they carried her to the back of the truck..  She arrived at Project Canaan and six of us helped carrying her on a blanket in to her small room where she is staying for the days ahead.  When she passes, we have agreed that she can be buried on Project Canaan.

Meanwhile, in the same hospital there was a baby who had been badly beaten by both his/her mother and father. Subsequently both were arrested and Social Welfare was looking to us for assistance after the police reported that there was no one to care for the child.  I was contacted last week about the baby and I asked the age of the child (we only accept under 12-months). I was told that no one knew, but that they would go to the homestead to get the health card.  Yesterday (10 days from the first call) I asked for an update on the child and was told that they still don’t know the age because no one has been able to visit the homestead. 

This baby (of unknown age) has been in a hospital for more than two weeks with no one there caring for him/her.  There is no update on the child’s condition or how long he/she will be in the hospital.  There are no parents or relatives there asking those questions, just a “white lady” living on a farm down the road. Having stayed at that hospital before I know that the nurses will do their best to help care for this little one (but that’s not their job) and the other mothers who are there caring for their own child might take pity and pat the child on the head from time to time or even maybe help feed him/her.  Maybe not.

Just down the hall from this baby is a woman who was hacked by machete (or bush knife) by her husband. He accused her of not caring for their one-year old baby well because she would go to work and he thought that she should have stayed home.  He does not work and provides no income for the family.  The investigation continues, but it seems that public opinion is going against her.  She is a police officer and is lying in bed while the family fights over who is forced to care for the baby now?

Oh, sorry, I mis-titled this blog. I meant “Healthcare in Swaziland”.   We “westerners” have so much to be thankful for.

Come Lord Jesus, come.

Live from Swaziland … giving thanks for the reason for this season.


PS - I did not have any photos that were appropriate for this blog so I am adding a couple from our staff Christmas party on the farm today for your enjoyment. It was a great day.
Look who crashed the staff party.

I love these women and their traditional dance - written about Project Canaan!

Two VIP workers on the farm - yes they were THRILLED to get a goat as their prize.

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