Saturday, February 14, 2009

I fell in love this week...

I took Monday off because I woke up with a really bad headache. When I arrived at the respite unit on Tuesday morning it was pure chaos (not too unlike every other day there). Hanneke pointed to a crib and told me that I should take a look at the new little child that we were in the process of admitting. I walked over and peeked inside and simultaneously fell in love and was heartbroken at the same time. The little 7 year old boy was named Zanele and weighed less than 20 pounds. He was brought in by his sister who looked to be about 14-16 years old. They were both AIDS orphans. The sister left once the care-workers finished the admissions process.

I sat with him the whole day. He has AIDS and TB and could barely move at all. His skin was covered with marks and so sores. He was laying there almost lifeless and I could barely stand it. I just kept talking to him and singing him songs and though he didn't move, his eyes were glued to mine. I fed him breakfast and lunch and just held his hand over the crib's edge.

He slept for a while. When he woke up, I brought a book to him. It was in English, but I figured it was something to keep him interested. I read all about Winnie the Pooh. I had one of the care-workers ask him if he wanted to hear more stories and he said yes, so I kept on going. I left that day, got in the car and burst into tears. 7 years old...alone...sick...motionless...scared.

This little boy did not ask to be sick or orphaned or alone. He deserves a childhood just as all children do. Instead, he's fighting for his life. I can't imagine what fear this little boy must be feeling not only about his body and how he physically feels but also about where he is, who these strange people are, why they're hovering around him, etc. I could not wait to get to work the next day. I went straight over to him and starting reading. He still looked so sad and scared. The care-worker told me they were admitting him to the TB hospital so he was leaving. I drove with him in the car to the hospital. Again, how scary? I gave him a hug and told him he was going to be ok. Please say a prayer for him. If I can get any details, I'll pass them along.

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