The doctor’s office was simple and bleak. The walls were empty except for the chipping beige paint on stone walls connected to a stone floor. There were two worn cots with a simple white sheet on each one and a small wooden desk with a chair on either side.
This was the room where a young Somali mother brought her dying, infant son and the room where I came face to face with a malnourished baby.
This wasn’t an infomercial and there were no famous actors and film crews pleading to me through the television. Less than a foot away from me was a baby boy – barely breathing with sunken cheeks and a bloated stomach. His arms and legs were like toothpicks and he laid in his mother’s arms lifeless. Except for a faint irregular breathe that sucked my own breathe out of me.
The mother was young and guarded. The volunteer doctors that I was there with tried to get information from her but her answers were vague. Who knows why … Muslim girl in an Islamic neighborhood in a Christian clinic; young and scared; threatened by someone…. We didn’t know. We just needed answers if this baby had any chance of living. And even with an answer it didn’t seem likely that this young boy had a chance at a future.
The baby hadn’t eaten in weeks. Why? We don’t know. But the baby was starving to death. I literally thought he would die in her lap and several times we all paused waiting for another breathe to escape from his tiny mouth. I’ve never felt so helpless. The doctors felt the same way. They didn’t have the resources at the clinic to help the boy and there was no reason to believe the woman would do what was needed now if she wasn’t willing or able to do so before. The nearest hospital would not see her because she had no money and Somalians are hated by most Kenyans. The doctors debated what to do knowing the baby had only minutes. They reached into their own pockets and gathered enough money to send the mother and baby to a nearby mission hospital. They went out and secured the ride themselves to make sure she went. They weren’t hopeful that the baby would even make it to the hospital. But they had to try. They had to do something.
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There were four items in my mailbox today:
1. Letter from my sponsored child in Kenya.
2. Letter from my sponsored child in Rwanda.
3. Packet from the America World Adoption organization.
4. The water bill. (not so exciting but small so that is good.)
Just interesting to have such diversity in my mailbox related to children around the world. A great way to start off 2009! I’ve sponsored a boy in Rwanda for a few years now. His name is Sylvain and he is a handsome young man. I haven’t had a lot of personal communication with him but as he gets older and he is able to better communicate, I am sure that will change. In the meantime, I send cards and special mailings that World Vision sends to me to personalize and send to Sylvain. I wish there was a way to help more children that are suffering in Rwanda but at least I’m making a difference to Sylvain. The community that Sylvain is in has suffered food shortages due to the financial crisis. You can make a difference as well by checking out World Vision.
The other boy I sponsor is Kelvin from Kenya. I’ve just been his sponsor for a few months. I had the opportunity to visit Kenya in October and will be returning a few times in the next few years. I thought it would be meaningful to sponsor a child in that region since I would have the opportunity to visit him in the future. Plus, I met such wonderful children and people while I was there it is meaningful to know that I’m helping another child and his family. I received my very first letter from Kelvin today. He is very young and so he drew some great pictures at the top while the World Vision project leader wrote the letter for him. I look forward to getting to know Kelvin over the next several years.
I’ve had some friends who have recently adopted children from around the world. I’ve been praying about whether this will be something I do in the future. I’m not married and don’t know that I will be. I’ve never been certain about whether I want to be a mom or not. But as I get older, I need to spend some time praying and thinking about this. I’m not planning anything right away but I need to be investigating, saving, and praying if I decide to in the future. So, I have a thick packet of information to read and look through.
And the water bill…well nothing exciting there other than you know that at least I bathe.