Monday, March 29, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
It was only three weeks ago the desire of change stirred within me. Not only a change of scenery, but a change of attitude… a change of heart. In just ten days, everything changed in my life. I had to wake up in the early hours to leave with the screening team before most of the crew made it to breakfast. I went from being a nurse in the operating room keeping watch over a sterile field to being outside bending down in the dirt to meet the eyes of children. Instead of a scrub hat, I had a bandana to catch the sweat as we worked in the heat of the day until the last person in line was seen. With help of a translator I heard many stories of suffering. My hands were first on the tumors to assess and then to pray over them. Screening paperwork were sheets of checkmarks under columns labeled fibroids, cerebral palsy, and even cancer. These checkmarks kept track of who we could not help. Who we had to say “No, we can not fix this with surgery.” So many faces I remember full of sadness, suffering, and shame because of their illness or deformity. All I could do was offer them hope in prayer. All I could do to keep from carrying the burden was to pray for them. Tears streaked down my face as I prayed for them each by name. Jean-Baptist, only a toddler, suffering from rheumatoid arthritis with joints so swollen, he was unable to stand alone without his mama’s help. Emmanuel, a 13-year old boy with cerebral palsy, bowed his head with me to pray. His brother carried him away and was so grateful for the prayers for strength. For Collette, I prayed for a miracle like the woman in the Bible that was bleeding for years. Bella had a goiter, Mati had bowed legs, and Oscar had hands that were contracted due to a burns when he was a year old- all of them will see a surgeon. A mama came in hopes of her 4-day old receiving surgery for her cleft-lip, but before she will need to gain weight through our feeding program.
Thursday was one of the last screenings in Togo and I will never forget my final “patient”. Mama unwrapped him from her back and handed me this six-year old little boy with cerebral palsy. I held him in my lap and just wept. His arms and legs were so thin and contracted in to his body. However, he smiled, giggled, and his eyes made contact with mine as I kissed his forehead. All I could do was pray, but before I asked his name. His mama responded, “Mawulolo.” My translator turned to me and whispered “It means God is great.” At that moment my heart changed and instead of asking why this little boy has to suffer like so many, I prayed for healing to a God who is great.