Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rain, rain went away so I could go out and play (with Nomile)

Thursday Thoko and I went to measure some of the Lutsandvo Lwa Krestu kids at Lutfotja for uniforms, shoes, etc. and to see how they are doing.  It was another cold, rainy day.  The roads were really bad.  We went to the High School to ask when school reports were coming out and I just slipped and slid down the road.  When we got back to Manzini Thoko and I stopped in to see Nomile.  Nomile was in a bad mood.  I think she wasn't feeling well.  We couldn't get a smile out of her no matter how hard we tried and she didn't want to be held or touched.  We stayed for a little while and then left.  It was still raining.  It rained all night long and all day Friday and Friday night without letting up.  By Friday, I was so tired of looking at the torrent of water and the mud and being cold that I stayed home all day with a blanket wrapped around me.  I didn't even go visit Nomile, which I did feel bad about.

Saturday morning the rain stopped.  Briefly.  I did some things on the computer and then decided I better eat some breakfast.  Breakfast didn't go in my stomach well but I kept going.  I went to visit one of the members of St. Paul's that had some clothes to give Lutsandvo Lwa Krestu.  We visited for a couple of hours and by then it had stopped raining for good.  My plan was to go from her house to the hospital.  By the time I left her house I was achy, really sick to my stomach and my head hurt so i went home.  Tylenol helped.  This morning I awoke to the sun shining, birds singing and the sounds of soccer players glad to be playing after so many days of rain.  I was feeling better, but still not great.  So I took more Tylenol and took a nap instead of going to church.  By afternoon I was feeling a bit better and went to see Nomile.  I was feeling real bad that no one had gone to see her since Thursday and that was not a good visit.

I walked into the Malnutrition Unit and she was lying in her bed, but she smiled as soon as she saw me.  I laid my head down on the bed with her and talked to her and then started tickling her.  I just love that sweet girl's laugh.  It is so precious.  I spent about three hours playing with her, giving her the special milk to drink a couple of times, rocking and singing to her.  I brought some bubbles but she didn't really know what to think about them.  The greatest thing is that she is now making some noise and she initiated touching me (hitting my hand and patting me as I rocked her).  She is the best little motor boat there is and she was making all the little sounds I've been making to her.  Once she even said "ba" when I blew the bubbles.  I held her for a long time singing "Jesus Loves You" to her and she was humming with me.  (I have this thing that I always change the words to Jesus Love You when I'm singing to a baby or little one.  I know He loves me, I want them to know He loves them.)  The ladies and nurse's aide kept laughing at how happy she was.  I understood as a new mom said to one of the moms that has been there for awhile that I loved Nomile.  Towards the end while I was rocking her she cuddled her head up next to my neck and fell asleep.  I tried to put her in her crib so I could leave, but of course she woke up and cried.  I held my hands out and she got up and came to me.  I could tell the mothers thought I was spoiling her.  But as I rocked her, I whispered in her ear that Grandma Shirley (my mom) would say I'm not spoiling her.  She would say Nomile just needs to be held and rocked a little more.  Soon it was time for her to have another drink of her milk, and after that I kissed her goodbye and left.  She didn't cry, but those big sad eyes of hers make me feel so bad when I leave her.

it is amazing what a couple of hours holding a precious little one, singing and laughing will do for a person's emotional, physical and spiritual health.  By the way, she weighs 8.1 kg.

Most of the kids that were in the malnutrition unit have been released.  Only three other kids that have been there for a while still remain and one of them is an orphaned child born to parents from Mozambique.  They don't know what they are going to do with her, so in the meantime they keep her in the malnutrition unit where she receives a bit more care and it's not as noisy as it is on the regular ward.  They've moved Nomile into the crib next to hers.  Most people play and talk to both children as they walk by.  There was a new small child.  I don't know the child's age and the mother must not speak English.  The child is quite a bit taller than Nomile.  But the child was either seizing most of the time I was there, or has very, very severe cerebral palsy.  My guess is she was having slight seizures and has severe cerebral palsy.  That was real sad to see.  I know there isn't going to be much that can be done for the child.  The mother was taking such care in feeding it spoonfuls of milk; wiping the child's mouth after every spoonful.  The child reminded me of a few of the kids I worked with at the State home in Southern Indiana.  I can't believe the pain and hardship the mothers and the children who are handicapped endure in this country.  I am even more amazed that so many handicapped children and adults are alive because not that long ago they would have been killed.  I know that many of these children are alive because their mothers or gogos refused to follow cultural tradition and kept them alive many times risking abuse to themselves and certainly not receiving any help to care for the child.  That is true love.

Thoko and Samkelisiwe,  Samkelisiwe was so sick when we first met her in August of 2008.  Doesn't she have a beautiful smile?

The Lutsandvo Lwa Krestu kids from Lutfotja.  Our little family has grown.  We are now seeing that 14 children get to the clinic to get their monthly ARVs and medical care for other illnesses as needed.  We have about 6 or 7 families that we help in other ways as appropriate.

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