I went last Friday to give worm pills and vitamins to one CarePoint, and as soon as I got there, a little girl was having a seizure. I think that she has epilepsy. She lives with her grandmother (gogo) who gets drunk all the time, so I'm told. So she has not been to the doctor and is on no medication. I couldn't really do anything else, so I prayed for her. The ladies that cook the food for the children, were holding her on the ground to keep her from getting hurt, her clothes were half off of her and she was drooling and having difficulty breathing. After a few minutes, she settled down, and starting breathing normally again, so we carried her inside and put her on a mat to rest. Later, she was up and eating her lunch with the other kids. It is amazing that these kids survive as well as they do. At home, we would have called an ambulance and taken her to the hospital.
Many of the kids I see, have ring worm all over their heads, and big bellies full of worms. They need worm pills about every 3-6 months. This is funny, as I was giving them their pills, I was trying to tell them to chew and swallow them, or so I thought (my siSwati stinks). They were all chewing them and then spitting them out. I said why are they spitting them out? One of the student nurses that was helping me said, because that is what you told them. Evidently the word for chew (kuhlafuna) and spit (khafula) are very similar and I was mixing them up.
One kids’ ear had sores all over it, and it was swollen and full of pus. The whole side of his face was swollen. He said that it started last week with the inside of his ear itching and then the painful sores. I started him on an antibiotic and gave him some antiseptic ointment to put on it. I will have to follow up with the ladies that cook at that care point next week to check on him and see how he is doing.
We started off Thursday with a phone call from one of the teachers at a CarePoint about the little girl that I have been worried about that has had diarrhea for 3 months. She said that she had spoken with the mother and that the child was very sick and she was ready to go with us to take her to the hospital. So we rushed over and picked up the teacher and drove out to the little girls’ homestead which is way out off of the road and onto a dirt road and then you can't drive any further, you have to walk the rest of the way to the little house made of cement, with dirt floors and tin roof. When we got there, her brother said that the mother had to go away to a funeral and the little girl was at the river washing. So we headed down the steep hill via a dirt path, full of rocks. We finally found the little girl, and she said that she could not go with us since her mother was not at home. So we told the teacher to let us know when the mother returned and have her meet us at the CarePoint when she was ready to take the little girl to the hospital.
The kids have been a big help this week at the CarePoint parties. They have been doing face painting, finger printing for the Christmas Cards and dishing out the food for the kids. They are real troopers, Joelle and Nathanael love playing with the kids and making them laugh. Every time I look around, Joelle has another baby that she is carrying around. Danielle, Nathanael and Joelle went up to the rural area with me and another nurse (Robin, our pastor's wife), and our pastor. We go up there once a month to do a health clinic. They had a blast playing with the kids and helping. Nathanael had one little girl laughing so hard playing peek-a-boo with her, it was so cute.
On one of my trips to the VCT (voluntary counseling and testing) clinic where people are tested for HIV and counseled and then started on ARV’s (anti-retrovirals) and monitored, we were waiting in the line (que) for PePe’s CD-4 count. PePe is a 9 year old little girl who is HIV positive and has been on ARV’s for a year. She has made a vast improvement in one years’ time, although we still have a long way to go. We have to watch her very closely for infections which her immune system just can’t fight off. Anyway, we were waiting there and this older Swazi gentleman went up to the front of the line and starts shouting, “please help me I am dying of AIDS”! Everyone in the room (except me, because I didn’t know what he said) started laughing. The lady that was with me interpreted what he said and she was laughing so hard, because, everyone in that room (except me) is also infected with HIV (AIDS). They are all in the same boat, and so they weren’t feeling much sympathy for this older gentleman.
Friday, we had the Children’s Cup staff Christmas party. We had roasted wart hog on an open spit (Swazi version of a cochon de lait). All of the Bible Club teachers, preschool teachers, builders, drivers, secretary, and ex-pat staff were there. It was a great time to come together and celebrate the successes for the year and challenge each other for 2006.
Today, I met a little boy named Gift, who is probably about 9 years old. When I first saw him, his face was painted with red paint like spider man. It was the CarePoint Christmas party, and the kids were getting their faces painted by volunteers. He wanted me to “shoot” his picture with my camera. After that, every time I turned around, he was at my side. I asked him if he went to school and he said yes, and that he going into the third grade. He told me that his father died this year, with his head bowed, I told him that Jesus would be a father to him. I asked him if he had Jesus in his heart and he said yes. Later he asked if we could get him a book to read, I told him that I would work on that. As I sat there on that hill in Mbabane , watching all of the children eat their Christmas dinner (chicken, rice, potato salad, coleslaw, and red beets) with their little hands, I thought, how much we have to be thankful for and what a wonderful privilege it is to be able to work with these beautiful little children. I felt a tap on my shoulder, it was Gift, he said, pointing to his plate of food, “this is nice”. I told him that I was so glad that he was enjoying it.