It’s a 45 minute drive into town and when we arrived, we stopped and got out. I walked and Paulo hobbled with his walking stick up the path to the reception door, then we went inside. Inside, it was wonderfully cool and nicely decorated: black leather chairs, hardwood wall paneling and a white shiny floor. The reception staff were friendly, helpful and sharply dressed. One, a pretty young woman in a slim black dress and high heels, busied herself with a stack of papers. There was a young couple with us in the waiting room as well. The woman wore a flowing red skirt and high heels. I noticed her fingernails and toenails matched her outfit. The gentleman with her was well groomed and wore crisp new jeans. They busied themselves on their cell phones.
Paulo and I sat and took in the whole scene quietly since we didn’t really have anything to busy ourselves with. It was like suddenly stepping into a new world. We come from the bush and in this place, felt oddly out of place (probably more he than me, all things considered).
He and I looked more or less as you see us here during a home visit last week.
The grass mat we’re working on is his bed and the crude stick on the floor is his temporary walking cane. There’s a world of dirt beyond the cement floor of his home, and water is lugged, 25 liters at a time, by hand, a long way from the community pump. It’s terribly hot here for most of the year, too. Because of this, and for a great many other reasons, few people who live in the bush look crisp and polished. Pretty is nice, but survival is much more important.
Water jugs in front of Paulo and his family's home.
So there we sat, me feeling frumpy in my “practical-for-bush-living” clothes, and Paulo in his thread-bare play clothes. His crude walking stick rested on the chair beside him and as one tip rested on the floor, the other tip pointed toward the hardwood paneling as if to point out their differences as well.
After a long wait, we were taken to a consulting room. The Dr. we saw was Cuban and spoke what he claimed was “Portañol” (a mix of Portuguese and Spanish). He was nice and was concerned about Paulo, but his Portañol, and the speed with which he spoke it, made him nearly impossible to understand. I had Cuban friends years ago though, so my ear just needed a few minutes of retraining and in fairly short order we were communicating. “Quiero hacer esta cirurgía hoy!” Surgery today then, ok.
As we chatted with the Dr. and clinic staff, we discovered commonalities like mutual friends, a common faith, and of course a desire to see Paulo get better. Paulo had to be admitted for a few days, so here’s hoping things started to feel a bit more familiar for him too!
Other news this week:
Rain, and reckless wind, captivates these little ones.
Our rainy season has returned and for this, we are thankful! Although some people will replant their fields, many simply don’t have the resources to do so. Even now, there is hunger.
Here, Pastors from remote districts meet with Dwight and Francois to help find a solution to the hunger in their communities. People are reportedly eating grass seed and any fruit they can find.
The socorristas took the health bike to its “home base” this weekend: the health post. Now it will be handy for urgent trips they have to make. “But first”, I said, “it needs to have some identifying marks on it (since ALL the other bikes in the community look just like it). Maybe yellow paint on one of two of its bars…” When it was done, I couldn't believe my eyes and had to get a picture of it when Simon came to pick it up. The guy who did the paint job put splotches over the entire bike! (Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?) So we've decided to call it “The Leopard”. One thing’s for sure, no one will mistake it for another bike.
...it looks far too odd!
I’d best sign off for now. I was going to write about someone who is an inspiration to me but this entry is already long so, next time? ☺