Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Dark Cloud

On Tuesday afternoon I got a call from a HOPAC teacher who was beside herself with worry.

She told me about another teacher, Victor, whose four-month-old baby was rapidly declining in health.  Victor and his wife are from Zimbabwe, and he is an excellent (and quite popular) teacher at HOPAC.  This is their first child, and baby Christian has been in poor health since birth.  Due to the absolutely infuriating lack of response from their hospital (which is supposed to be a good one), the baby's kidneys were shutting down and the situation was become more and more urgent by the minute. 

When the HOPAC administration realized how serious the situation had become, they asked a HOPAC parent, who is a British doctor, to intervene.  He had the baby transferred to a better hospital, but the baby was so weak by this point that that hospital couldn't even perform the tests to find out what was wrong.

The teacher that called me asked me to pray; asked me to spread the word; asked me to push for action.

The kids and I were at a Children's Club, and I was reeling from this news.  Just a half hour later, more text messages started pouring in.  This time, two teachers who are here with YoungLife were in a serious accident.  Mary and Ali had been traveling to a Bible study in a "bajaj" which is a three-wheeled taxi that is one step above a motorcycle.  Somehow (no one really knows what happened), the bajaj was hit and they ended up in a ditch, probably having rolled.  Both were very beat up.  Mary had a serious head injury.

Over the last 24 hours, my phone hasn't stopped ringing or dinging with text messages.  What can we do?  How can we pray?  Updates coming in from all sides.

Mary was medically evacuated to South Africa in the middle of the night on Tuesday.  Baby Christian's progress went up and down on Wednesday like a roller coaster.  Last night (Wednesday), his kidneys completed stopped working.  Dar es Salaam has no dialysis machine for infants.  It was decided to medically evacuate him to Nairobi.  His life is now hanging by a thread.

In the 9 years I've lived here, I've only known of one person to be evacuated.  Now, HOPAC has had two in one week. 

We praise God that Mary's tests came out completely clear.  The doctors were really worried about a fracture behind her eye, and yet she is totally fine.  No surgery, no stitches....and yet, she could have lost her life. 

Christian's outcome is yet to be known. 

And to top it off, over a dozen people on campus (including poor Josiah) were stung by angry bees yesterday after their nest was destroyed. 

Tension is thick throughout the HOPAC campus.  My dear Student Council leaders have Spirit Week planned for this week, and they are doing a great job, but these emergencies take a bit of the joy out of smashing eggs on top of each other's heads.  The entire school has stopped for group prayer meetings yesterday and today. 

Sometimes, we really feel the weight of living in Africa.  Just last week, another of our families experienced an invasion robbery in the middle of the night.  This morning I told our school counselor (who is a very good friend) that she could practically have a support group for the children who have experienced these type of robberies, since I can think of at least 10 families.

I know that people get robbed in the States.  I know that babies die, and people get in car accidents.  But it's rare that someone in a suburban neighborhood gets invaded by a gang wielding machetes.  In the States, you can get emergency medical care within 15 minutes.  Here, it took Mary 24 hours before she was seen by the specialist in South Africa. 

And in America, doctors don't let tiny babies with kidney failure lay in a bed for four days and do absolutely nothing.

Yeah, I'm a little bit bitter today.  And sad.  And wishing life just wasn't so hard for some people. 

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
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