Today half of the team had the opportunity to join staff from Mercy Hospital and participate in a Village Outreach. We piled into the ambulance and the CRC car and drove over some very dusty, bumpy roads to a village. We arrived at what felt like the middle of nowhere and set up shop in a stone and thatch church. It seemed odd that there was no one around, but we’ve learned to just go with the flow. So we waited. Pretty soon they started arriving: pregnant women, nursing mothers and young women with babies. So many babies! I was assigned to help weigh the youngest children. We used a scale that hung from the rafters with a kind of bucket for the children to stick their legs into. Have I said there were lots of babies? I was working with Sister Cadi from Mercy Hospital. I would weigh the baby, and she would measure the length. Then she calculated whether or not the baby was growing properly or was undernourished. The mothers were very grateful and eager to have their children weighed. The babies—not so much. Many of them had never seen a white person before and let everyone within earshot know how they felt. One baby girl was asleep when her mother handed her to me, but as I put her in the bucket she woke up. Imagine waking from a sound sleep to a strange, white woman hanging you from the rafters in a bucket. I’m afraid she may have nightmares for some time to come. The mothers and older siblings thought it was all very amusing.
About halfway through the day I weighed one little girl who had a different look about her. I told the Sister what her weight was, and she looked at me almost fiercely and said, “This child is why we have come.” The child was very undersized for her age. This child did not cry or struggle. She just let me do what I needed to do without a sound.
Later when all the weighing and other testing was finished some of the women and children gathered with us again. Sister had me hand out two bags of nutritional supplements for each child. As I handed the bags to each mother I felt very humble to be a part of this medical outreach. God is so big that he is able to use even untrained white women in a village in the bush of Africa. Because of our powerful God, babies who might otherwise suffer from malnutrition will have the chance to grow up and become the person God has created them to be. Women with difficult pregnancies will be identified and given the chance to deliver safely. Women and children with Malaria will receive medication and be well. A village will know that they are worthy of the care of talented nurses and lab technicians. Little children who have never seen a white face before will know that the world is full of all kinds of people. And a group of young adults will discover the face of God in the smile of a grateful mother.
Submitted by Barbara Miner
For a quick laugh…Today as the children at the CRC enjoyed a sweet treat, I noticed a sweet little girl, Isatu, cringe as she bit into a “bon-bon.” (It looked like the American version of a Ferrero Roche chocolate ball). Her tooth was “shaky,” and I encouraged her to pull it out. I squealed in excitement as she pulled it out, but she stood horrified as it lay in her hand. I excitedly told her to be happy because the tooth fairy would be coming; however, it took me a couple of moments to realize that there would be no tooth fairy visiting her tonight. Another girl took her tooth and threw it over the roof of the peace hut with the tradition of throwing it to the sky to allow for the new tooth to grow in! The kids are so full of joy and never fail to share the passion for life that they have. We love them and are thankful for the amount of time they’ve loved on us, and we’ve been able to show them love!
Submitted by Liz Verrecchia
Photo Credit: helpingchildrenworldwide.org