I met Aisha, the matron for the little girls dorm, and her two children Vivian and Vianey when we moved here in July 2017. Since then, her son Vianey has been my sidekick, my shadow, and sitting in my lap at nighttime devotions every night. He doesn’t even ask: I sit down, he plops into my lap. At church on Sunday’s you’ll often find him in my lap, many times falling asleep. He’s 3 years old, full of mischief and spunk but loving all rolled in to one.
So many children have been sick here. Measles has been going around along with a variety of other viruses. With measles running through the village like wildfire, it was only a matter of time before it hit close to home. Last week Vivian spent 4 days in the hospital, this week it was Vianey. As I held him at church Sunday he was lethargic and burning up with fever. I checked on him Monday and Aisha said he also had diarrhea and vomiting. We took Aisha to the hospital with him and dropped them off. A member of the ministry visited them late Tuesday and the news was not good. He had been put on a feeding tube because he couldn’t keep anything down on top of everything else that was going on with him. My heart sank. There was nothing I could do but pray for him. When fear of the unknown crept in I prayed to God, the ultimate physician, to heal his little body. We serve an amazing God and he answered prayers. Wednesday, Vianey was not well at all. As we prepared to go to the hospital Thursday to check on him the girls in the dorms informed us he was coming home. We picked them up and he was eating popcorn watching Beauty and the Beast in my lap this afternoon.
Being in a hospital is never a fun experience but being in a hospital in a third world country is nightmarish. When you are admitted into the hospital here you don’t get a private room with a tv, chairs, and/or a mini sofa for family. When you are admitted into the hospital here you get a bed, if you’re lucky, in a room filled with 20-25 other beds lined against the wall. You do not have three meals per day delivered to your bed or a button to push for the nurse to attend to you. A patient must have an advocate (family member) there with you at all times. Your advocate sleeps on the floor next to you. If you need food, your advocate must go out and get it. If you need medicine, your advocate goes to the pharmacy, gets it and brings it back to be administered. You bring your own sheets for the bed. You’re lucky to see a doctor for 5 minutes as they care for dozens of other patients.
As Aisha recounted the past few days I just can’t imagine what she must have felt. On top of the conditions already not being ideal, the children’s ward was grossly overcrowded. Vianey had to share the bed with two other sick children. Children were dying in beds next to them as they sat and waited for Vianey to get well. There was no place for her to rest, the floor was completely full. They slept sitting up each night they were there. How can a mother’s heart process all of that? Death is a part of life here in a different way than it is in the U.S. Children may not get the medical care needed because children are not looked upon as “as important” as adults. This is what they know, what they’re used to.
This is not from Vianey’s visit, but a picture I found online to help you get the visual.
I haven’t slept for the past couple of nights. My mind wandering and wondering how my little friend would be. Praying for God to spare his little life. I’m so thankful we could pick them up and bring them home today. He still needs to rest and recover but he’s on the upside. Please pray for continued healing for Vianey and for the many children that have been struck by illness. What a blessing it is to say that we got to bring him home when so many other people could not say the same.