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Saturday, April 11, 2020

Looking at our children’s health through the lens of COVID-19

With 261 children living at Project Canaan we have a lot of health issues every day. We deal with “the normal” HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, asthma, boils (lots of boils!) and allergies, but we also have bicycle accidents, playground falls from kids just being kids.

COVID-19 has not appeared on campus yet, that we know of, but knowing that it is hiding in the bushes around us makes all of the above more complicated, and tense.  Two weeks ago, Miriam had a serious bike accident resulting in a head injury and broken tibia and fibula.  It took ten days before she could see the only orthopedic surgeon in the country for surgery, and that was at a private hospital, and another two days for us to get a one sentence report of what surgery had been done. 

Earlier this week our little boy Simeon (3.5 years old) suddenly had a seizure while on the playground, which lasted 2-3 long minutes.  He was unresponsive for a long time and was taken to a different private hospital and was admitted. They found a chest infection and tonsillitis and he was admitted for treatment, and they decided to do a COVID-19 test.  The results take five days, so we should have them tomorrow.  Several days later, when he was ready for discharge, he started vomiting, so is still in the hospital.

Yesterday we had TEN babies from the El Roi baby home go and see nurse Hannah with high fever and coughing.  Our children’s campuses have been on lockdown for two weeks now and any staff presenting with a fever in the AM (all staff are monitored daily) were sent to quarantine out of an abundance of caution. And yet, here we are with ten babies sick in one house.  Could it be?

Kitchen preparations for Easter breakfast.
Last night at midnight I was called by Anthony to tell me that Roderick (one year old) couldn’t breath and after being given oxygen and then nebulized, they were rushing him to the same private hospital Simeon is in.  I could hear him in the background gasping for air and it sounded like an adult saying “Help me! Help me!”  When they arrived at the hospital the doctor said it sounded like he had a chest infection and he was admitted. He will get a chest x-ray today. 

And then there was the day this week that a senior staff member presented with acute abdominal pain, possible appendicitis, and was rushed to a third private hospital for care.  On a prompting from the Lord, we sent her to see an OBGYN, who found a 4” x 4” ovarian cyst that had two twists in the fallopian tube and did emergency surgery.  I simply don’t know what would have happened to her if she had gone to a government hospital for care at this time.

Ovarian cyst removed this week.
If you are like me, living during this time of fear and uncertainty, you likely wondered how COVID-19 might be involved in or impact any or all of the cases above, and the truth is, we just don’t know, but I think about it a lot. We pray for protection over our children and staff daily, but the truth is there is a monster outside our gate who wants to come in, and he is here to kill and destroy.

Tomorrow is Easter and the timing is perfect.  We will focus our eyes on the resurrected Christ, knowing that He is our protector, He is El Rofi (the God who heals) and He is El Roi (the God who sees). Please join us for our live Easter service at 9:30AM EST on the Heart for Africa facebook page – I know you will be blessed. 
Today's craft at Kid's Club.
If you would like to give a very special Easter gift to a loved one, please consider making a donation to help us with our mounting hospital bills.  You would be giving the gift of life, and isn’t that exactly what Jesus did for us?

Live from Eswatini … He is risen indeed!


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