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Saturday, January 19, 2019

We are fragile right now

“We are fragile right now.” This is what our nurse Anthony said to me yesterday.  It was at the end of a conversation about the baby Pearl, whom we lost last week (, and our toddler Morris, who was in hospital with seizures, fever and pain. We also were discussing the 12 other babies who were in the isolation room at the El Roi Baby home with fevers and diarrhea.   We’ve had a tough couple of weeks.

Yesterday we were called by Social Welfare to ask if we could take a 15-month-old boy who was severely malnourished, with dark yellow eyes and looked sick.  After several conversations it was agreed that the child would go to the hospital first, and then come to us once he was discharged. When I told that to Anthony he said, “That is a good plan. We are fragile right now”.  He is right.

As a nurse, Anthony is trained in life and death scenarios.  In fact, as we had many conversations about Pearl’s death, Cerebral Palsy (Morris’ condition), and other childhood illnesses with our medical team (including doctors and nurses), I found myself reminding everyone that medical professionals are trained in life saving, and end of life situations. 

Now think about our staff. 

We have the most incredible team of caregivers and I have the greatest love and respect for each and every one of them.  Each of them started with us either on nightshift or as a cleaner. This is how we are able to observe them, see if they are hard workers and see if they mop around a crying child or stop and pick them up.  We are looking for people who have integrity, are teachable and who love children.  But we don’t hire them with the expectation that they will have to hold a dying child or quickly try to get a fever down so that a massive seizure does not ensue. But that is what they do.

These are not trained nurses, but they have become a crack medical team knowing when to nebulize an asthmatic child, clean a wound and apply glue, or perform CPR in the back seat of a car to a child who is lifeless.  We have learned the difference between treating bacterial meningitis vs. streptococcal meningitis. We know IF and how long a child is contagious when they have tuberculosis and when to notify our Doctor when they see the signs of a child who is not responding to their HIV/AIDS medication.  All of this under knowledge has come under the tutelage of the incredible Dr. Moira Lemmer, and our remarkable nursing team (Hannah, Anthony, Rebekah and Brooke in the early years). I am eternally grateful for each and every one of them.

Some of our Aunties and Uncles are educated and some are not. Some finished High School, some finished Primary School and some do not read or write, but they are teachable and they love our children like they are their own.  They are the hands and feet and arms of Jesus, every day, and that love is reflected the faces of our children.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for going above and beyond the call of duty, every single day.

This week we are fragile, but we are not broken.  Morris is home from the hospital and we are focused on loving him and keeping him comfortable (it is evident that he has significantly more brain damage in the past few weeks with ongoing seizures and fevers).

Thank you all for your love, your emails of encouragement and your financial gifts to help us with our medical expenses.  It does take a large village to raise 217 children, and I love our village.

Live from eSwatini … praying for our care givers today.


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