Saturday, August 29, 2009

Big Shoes To Fill

It’s been one of those crazy kinds of weeks with its fair share of strange happenings and stories. Sometimes I experience the strange events myself, and other times I just hear about them. And then there are those times when the two come together, like earlier this week.

Rick had had malaria all week so Heather and I decided to check on how work at the bridge was coming along. Now, if you were to take all the knowledge that Heather and I have about bridge construction and put it together in one place, there wouldn’t be much to sneeze at. But we had some guidance from our husbands and were willing to wear the supervisory “big shoes" even if just briefly. Besides, we wanted to take some photos (because we always want to take photos).

The sun was hot and time was of the essence so we decided to drive instead of walk to the bridge. When we were done taking photos and seeing how the guys were doing, we left.

On the way home, we came across 2 fairly petite grannies walking barefoot toward us. We knew the one woman, Milicina. She cares for her orphaned grandson and has been in the mission’s widow/orphan program for several years now. The other woman was carrying a very tiny 10-day-old baby.

I stopped so we could greet the women. When we asked who the baby’s mom was, the lady carrying it said,

“This is my daughter’s baby. She’s very sick at home and cannot nurse it.”

Apparently, her daughter had been very sick for a while with what I guessed to be pneumonia. Their home was a stiff 4-hour hike along a footpath into the bush. The daughter was too weak and sick to come for help and vehicles could not get to where she was. (The “strange story” part is that apparently the daughter “belongs to a spirit” and this, they believe, is why she is sick and has been relegated to live in the far reaches of the bush.)

After some urging, they agreed to come with us to the health post to have the baby weighed

(1.750 kilos!) and to get some milk. We sent medicine home for the baby’s mother as well with a plan to follow-up.

(The two grannies, Simon, Celestino, and Heather holding baby)

When we were done, we brought the grannies as far as we could by car then watched as they picked their way, barefoot, along the long path that leads home. And I thought: What big shoes they have to fill--these who have such heavy responsibilities in such difficult circumstances.

This is Milicina with her grandson. In this photo, he had just received new clothes bought with money that a young boy in Canada sent. This Canadian boy runs a small business with his grandpa, and when he heard about and saw pictures of needy kids in Mozambique, he decided right then and there that he wanted to help. And so, one little boy helped another. Now THAT’s the kind of story I like to hear!

And with that, I will sign off. Dwight gets back home this evening and I still have some responsibilities to tend to. Small ones, by comparison, but responsibilities nonetheless.

1 comment:

Russell said...

don't feel too bad mom, if you put all my knowledge of bridge building in a room, you'd need a microscope to see it.