Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Zitsile (the church secretary and my "Swazi daughter") and I stopped by the hospital this evening to see how Nonjabulo is doing.  I am so thankful to be able to report that Nonjabulo is doing better.  On Tuesday they took her off the oxygen, her fever was gone and her mom reported that she was drinking and eating without crying at every bite.  This afternoon, she had the oxygen back on and her chart said her afternoon temperature was 100, but her eyes were big and bright and she wasn't missing a thing that was going on in the room.  She held my finger with a good grip and she "played" with the little toy that Deb bought her. Played is probably an exaggeration, but she did reach for the toy, hold it and try to put it in her mouth.  So, overall, she is doing much better.  Still no smiles and she doesn't have much strength, but I feel so encouraged that this will come.

Zitsile had never been to the children's ward at the hospital.  She didn't like it.  One reason is that hospitals bring back the memory of her sister's last days and watching the woman in the bed next to her sister die.  She couldn't believe the conditions.  She asked where the mothers sleep.  I told her on the floor, under the crib.  She was shocked.  She talked to the mothers of the other children so I got the scoop on them.  They all have TB.  (I'm not sure Zitsile figured that one out.)  One little one about 2 has a huge sore on his head where they normally put an IV on small children.  The mother said the nurses did something wrong with the IV and caused the sore.  A second little one also about 2 was dropped by a care giver when he was 4 months old.  They did a brain scan soon after the fall and said there wasn't damage.  However, he can't sit up.  He has been in the hospital for a month and he has also been waiting for about that long to get a referral to the Mbabane government hospital to see why he cannot sit up.  I'm guessing he has some brain damage because he is obviously developmentally delayed.  The third child is a boy of 12 years old.  He is extremely sick.  I'm sure he is HIV+ in addition to having TB, but there is probably more going on.  He is nothing more than a skeleton.  Literally.  Think of the most severe case of anorexia that you have ever seen and then take more weight off.  I've had a hard time talking to him and looking at him, but I try to wave and talk to the kids equally, but down deep I know that I can't face the physical sign of his illness.  I am so amazed that the child is alive, but he did seem to be a bit better today than he has been.  He sat up for a while and ate a little.

I sat there and a part of me wished I could take pictures to show you, but the other part of me, the part that always wins out, just can't do that because I feel it would be too much of an invasion of their privacy.  Maybe one day they'll develop a device that can print the pictures in one's mind.

Please continue to keep these children, and many more like them, in your prayers.

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