One of the first things I do each morning, time permitting, is check facebook and my email inbox. I like to know what's happening with my family and friends. Several days ago, I read snippets about the Boston terror bombings while getting ready to head up to organize my day after devotions. There weren't a lot of details at the time, and my daughter and I were trying to chat. We don't get to connect very often, so when we do other things get put on hold. Just about the time we got chatting, our internet line "dropped" but it was also time to head out the door.
While the health workers and I were organizing our day, a woman approached us. She had a malnourished child slung to her back. An older daughter (about 10 years old) accompanied her and had a baby slung around her back as well. The child on the girl's back was about a year old and both were healthy. The child slung to the mom was 3 years old and only weighed 6 kg. She said it was the surviving child of a set of twins. Here, where twins are involved, survival is always dicey. There is too much hunger and struggle, so the odds are against survival of both, sadly. In this mom's case, the twins were already competing for adequate food supply when she got pregnant with the child on the little girl's back. This is just a bit of background info though, her real concern for the malnourished child was that it was struggling with a thrush infection as well as an eye infection. Thankfully we had something for the thrush infection at the health post. Unfortunately, our antibiotic eye salve is gone as all health posts are experiencing a serious cut back in govt supplied meds. We have helped this mom with infant formula to improve the child's nutrition, but we've encouraged her to have the child further evaluated at Vanduzi Hospital. And we will help her get there however we can. She is currently participating in our work-for-food program to help provide for her family.
This afternoon, Ernesto (one of the health workers) popped in since we had a few matters to discuss. When we were done, I asked how his family was. Kids? Wife? Everyone was fine, and his wife just had a baby. For him, this is #9. That's quite a few kids to keep track of since I feel I barely managed with 2 myself! We got talking about numbers of children when Mr. B., who was working nearby, said, "Well, white people generally have fewer children. One, two, maybe three. We have more. I have ten children myself." Of course, much more than race factors in to how many children people have so I couldn't help but share that my own grandmother had 15 children. And she was white. I smiled smugly as that information sank in. Both guys seemed duly impressed. We then went on to discuss how life is changing everywhere. Kids are going further in school and have higher expectations to earn an income. How there were many years of war here, not long ago, and how at the time it was really hard to focus on anything more than just survival during those years. Now things are different.
Things need to continue to be different in order to not see malnourished children here, but I'm thankful that things have changed as much as they have for us all. I feel for this mom who lives on the edge of survival, and I hope to see less of this as Mozambique changes.
My thoughts are also for those grieving in Boston right now.