I made it to church today and wasn’t sick!!!!! It was the most exciting, extreme, terrifying and amazing experience I’ve ever had in my life. I got up and sang a song with my team and then sang a song alone and it was such an feeling that I can’t describe to you. As I sat there and watched everyone in the audience singing, crying and reaching their hands up to the sky, I realized that I owe it to them to tell their stories to you. I know I said that I wasn’t going to post about the things we’ve seen here, and words aren’t going to even come close to the real thing, but I am going to try my best to tell you about Africa.

As I’ve said before we’ve seen over a 1,000 people and each one of their faces play in my head over and over. The things they are ill with, you don’t see in the United States and even if you do it is easily fixable. A hospital stay here is $20,000 shillings… that is only $20 US and they can’t afford to 1) pay for being in the hospital or the treatment and 2) pay for the transportation to get there. Cars are and extremely large luxury here, we drove to all of our out reach clinics on the back of a flatbed truck with a metal cage around it and we looked like we owned the world to some people. It is so different than home, you’d be arrested for driving 50 miles on a highway with someone in the back of your truck, here you’re lucky to be able to do it. We had people walk for 3-4 hours to come see us for treatment and many of them we had to say ” I’m sorry but we just don’t have the means to treat you” and have to turn them away. You’ve never seen desperation until you look into those peoples eyes when you say those words. For many, they will die and it won’t be easy.

A few cases that stick out in my mind are a little girl who couldn’t have been older than 5, she can’t walk straight because she has a tumor growing out her back that is almost as big as her, it hangs half way down her back because it is so large and heavy. She is suffering and her quality of life is depending on whether this can be removed or not. I am praying that we can remove it and it be a benign growth and she can live, if it’s malignant…. it will be in God’s hands. I’m praying for a miracle at this point for her. I saw two babies under 1 years old the other day, they were twins and they had contracted worms. Walking back to the make shift clinic we had in a remote village after lunch, I saw them outside, throwing up and looking like they weren’t going to make it much longer. They didn’t have a card to come in and at that point they wouldn’t have had time to come in and see us. I am blessed to be part of such an amazing team, one of the providers saw this as well and we took them in and made sure of it they got immediate treatment. I have seen feet swollen to a point where they no longer are recognizable as feet because of the parasites in the dirt here that burrow into peoples feet because they can’t afford shoes. Goiters that stick out so far that you can’t tell that a person has a neck. Injuries that are infected beyond anything you can imagine. And surgeries that have gone horribly wrong and there is no reversing the damage. The hardest part for me was to tell people that they were positive for HIV. Since I was in the lab/pharmacy most of the time, I did the testing. The look that takes over their faces and embeds in their eyes is haunting, I can’t see anything else but their faces when I lay down to go to sleep.

I am not ready to come home. There is so much work that needs to be done here and yet we are out of resources to do anything more at this point. The steps needed to make a difference here seem impossible to climb, I don’t know how, but I know I am determined to do all in my power to help in every way I can. The people here have nothing. Yet they are so happy all the time and grateful for what they have. I am in love with Africa and now feel like I have a second home that needs my help. In one week I will back in the United States and I am scared of how I am going to feel, I don’t want to leave yet.

Published in: on May 31, 2009 at 4:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

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