Saturday, November 24, 2018
My heart ached
This week has been another action-packed week dealing with burned children (not ours), visitors, birthdays (including my own) and preparation for Christmas.
I have spent much of my week working on the details of the 8-year-old burned girl who I wrote about in an earlier blog https://janinemaxwell.blogspot.com/2018/09/5-day-old-baby-girl-burned-in-house-fire.html . She was 5-days-old when the grass roof of her house was lit on fire and collapsed in on her tiny body, burning her face beyond recognition. And she lived. I met her at the hospital this week so that I could meet with the doctor as he assessed her situation and prepared a report for the US hospital who will be offering her life-giving care.
I knew her burns were severe, but I didn’t expect to see a chunk of her skull missing where I could see her brain throbbing each time her heart beat. Her left eyelid has melted to her eyeball underneath, so when she moves her eye, her whole eye socket moves. When asked, we learned that she has been in extreme pain every day of her life with a headache and face-ache that never went away, my heart ached. WHY didn’t this child get care sooner? Why was she left in the rural bush to suffer with a Grandmother who had no way to soothe her pain?
Soon she will get help. Soon she will get pain relief. Soon she will be loved and cared for as she begins the long road to healing her body, heart and mind. But until then, she suffers, and continues her fight for life.
We see the fight for life every day, and in doing so we are often reminded not to take life for granted.
This week one of our staff suddenly lost her brother-in-law. His arm swelled up, he started vomiting blood and a day later he was dead. Another staff had boiled water to bathe her two small children and was just about to add cold water to the wash bucket on the floor when her excited 2.5-year-old did a playful summersault in to the scalding water, burning her leg/thigh/buttock and side. Accidents happen. Pain and suffering are real, and until Christ’s return, we will live in a world of suffering.
I’ll never forget the day that we welcomed a little girl (nameless for this blog) who was 18-months-old, weighing 14 pounds. Her femur had been broken when she was only 6-months-old, by her mentally disabled mother, and she also had a broken nose and fractured skull. She fought to live, and this week we celebrated her 4th birthday. She is full of joy, full of love and full of hope.
As I watched our older children perform in the Project Canaan Academy 2018 Christmas Pageant, I couldn’t help but look back at each of their lives and where they came from to where they are now. Each and every one of them are miracles, with the scars to prove it. We couldn’t be more proud of the young people that they are becoming and seeing them up on stage singing, dancing and reciting their lines brought tears to my eyes and joy to my soul.
Many people will spend this weekend with family and friends, celebrating Thanksgiving in the US. I encourage you all to look at your lives (the good, the bad and the ugly) and give thanks for what you have been given – access to clean water, a roof that is not made of grass, walls that are not made of mud and sticks, access to healthcare when you need it.
Live from eSwatini … I am thankful for the gift of life.