...flu, AIDS, E Coli, leprosy, scabies, skin fungus...you name it, it's been by our doorstep in the last few weeks. Just among our mission staff there have been at least 4 infant deaths and 2 sibling deaths since January, mostly related to malaria, AIDS and diarrhea. And in between is a steady stream of cases of malaria and all the above mentioned illnesses. Sometimes they wait too long to seek help thinking the person will recover. Often, transport is difficult and help is far away. And since about the time of the floods further north, there has been a shortage of antimalarials (diversion of resources I guess). The mission has stepped in to help fill the gap in the provision of medication, but it's hard to keep up with demand.
And as if life here weren't difficult enough, there are folks like the ladies pictured here. The woman on the left is an aging widow with a blind daughter (middle). They have no one to care for them except each other. The widow uses crutches since she lost one leg during the war era. Since then she has managed to plant enough food to feed the two of them each year, but this year was a bad one for her as she has struggled with arthritis. As a result, the corn she planted was overrun with weeds and their crop was pretty much a failure. They live in a single room hut and the weed patch at the edge of the yard is their toilet facility which offers no privacy. These are the situations we have the challenge...and opportunity to help on an ongoing basis.
In my last blog entry I mentioned that we were putting a ceiling into our new little place. The dust and moving things around got so bad that we eventually just moved into a tent to sleep! I can't believe I'm in a tent again!! There were times when I felt rather sorry for myself, but as you can see from the above accounts, my self-pity parties tend to be of very short duration. How can I complain about sleeping in a tent and having a house that's in disarray when I and my family are healthy and happy??? It's all perspective isn't it.
And to end on a positive note, how's this little guy? Cute as a button. Thanks Joanne for the great photos (top one and this one).
Until next time, I'll be counting my blessings.