Wednesday, April 28, 2010

80 cents

What can you buy for 80 cents?

A really good candy bar, king size snickers. A soda from the machine
at Walmart. A cheap cup of coffee at the gas station. 88 cents buys
you some junky stuff at walmart or target that breaks in the car on
the way home, but the kids always love to buy.

Today we had about 80 cents to spend and bought a malaria blood test.

Yesterday we were visiting homes of children sponsored by the Hope for
the Afflicted Ministry. We were in one of the homes at the very end of
the day and met a boy there who was laying sick in the bed.
As we walked into the main living room of the house, we noticed there
was a bed in the corner. It was very dark inside the house, no
electricity and we were there to visit a little girl named Dyness. We
were talking with her when her mother said that her nephew Chola was
sick with malaria all week. He had been in bed. Mrs. Kabwe and Lister
asked whether he had been to the clinic. She said no, and they asked
why not? The medicines are given free at the health clinic but you
have to go and get a blood test for malaria. I asked how much it cost
and they said 3,500 kwacha. About 80 cents. Then she said they did
not have the money.

One of the orphans we had visited just a few minutes before had both
parents die from malaria.
So sad, and preventable and treatable.
So that was much on my mind and heart when we met him.

We finished our work there and were getting ready to leave. I asked
Mrs. Kabwe about the amount again and she said she did not have it
with her and I only had large bills, and knew not to just give the
money. So we left and I kept him in my mind. We had a few more houses
to stop by and then had to race home and pick up James and get Maureen
back to the bus station and dinner and the kids to bed.

Today we had planned to visit one more young man that was sponsored.
We went to Sharon's house and met him and talked with him briefly.
Then I asked her if she remembered the boy with the malaria and if she
had time to take us back to his house so we could get him to the
clinic and get medicine. She said, sure, no problem and she and her
older son rode with us and directed us to the house.

Sharon and I walked up to the house and said we came and wanted to
take him to the clinic. He very slowly came and Sharon's son Joshua
came and helped him get up. He moved very slowly to the car and
carefully got in. He looked to be in alot of pain. I handed him a
cold bottle of water and said, "drink some".

The kids were with us since we had a shorter day today and they all
squeezed in the back.
When we got to the clinic, Leah stayed with my kids and Sharon and I
walked up to see about getting the test.
they told us they were closed for lunch and we would have to wait an
hour. I told them we really couldn't just wait an hour, but they
would not go along and so we decided to have a picnic under the tree
while we waited.

As soon as we started getting things out, they came and said they
could see him. So Leah and Sharon sat with the kids and I waited with
Chola. (We later found out his name was actually Immanuel Chola) He
was the only one there and it was a very small clinic. They took his
blood and then he sat down and waited. He still had his bottle of
water unopened and so again I said, "You should drink the water". So
he tried to twist open the cap and did not even have strength to do
that. He is 18 years old.
I opened it for him and then asked if he was hungry. He said yes and
so I went back to the tree and Sarah made him a peanut butter and
guava jelly sandwich.

I brought it back for him while we were waiting on the results and he
ate it. I asked him if he ever had one before and he said no. I told
him what it was and that PB and J were my favorite. He said it was
very nice.

After he finished the nurse said to me, "How much are you going to
give me?" I was so thankful I knew what the cost was supposed to be,
so I answered, "3,500 kwacha. That's how much it is supposed to be.
And the medicine is free, right? " She said yes and took the money.
The "about 80 cents."
Then she said told me the results from the test and that in the one
slide, he had 10 different parasites in his blood. And then told me
it was a +2. The rating for it I guess.

Then we walked over to the dispensary where we waited and then I
encouraged him to drink the water again, to which he replied that he
had been told its bad to drink water when you have malaria.
The nurse was walking by at that point and I asked her and she said no
it is fine. You can drink it.

So I really don't know where he would have been told that, but the
only thing I could think of maybe was bad water, maybe that could
make it worse? I am not sure...
Anyway, they looked at him for a minute and then brought him into a
room to give him the medicine. She called me in as well to explain the
medicine. It was alot.
The specific type for the malaria. 4 tablets twice a day every 8
hours. So I asked if he could take it then and then have her write
down the next times to be taken. In addition he was given an
antibiotic for 5 days, so many tablets so many times a day, then
another pain medicine for pain he had in his back. Again 5 days, so
many pills so many times a day.
It could have easily been confusing and so I tried to explain it and
then asked her to tell him in Bemba. He said he understood. I thought
she was writing down all the info on a paper that she handed me as we
were leaving. I looked at it later and realized she had been extremely
nice and smiling the whole time looking at me.
The paper was "confidential", or at least the phone number was. But
she stated that she was a divorcee with one child looking for a white
single man in his 40s who was also a divorcee. And please, my me find one.

I was a bit surprised when I realized that was the note. She followed
me out and said something about reading it and I said i will read it
and think about it. ( not knowing what it said...) well obviously I
did think about it.

We got in the car and took him home. I tried to encourage him to drink
alot of fluids and take the medicine. he said he had malaria 2 times
before but had not ever had the medicine.

We said goodbye and left.
80 cents and maybe his life was spared. Who knows. Only God knows,
but as I was thinking today about so many that are sick and dying or
have malaria or HIV positive. So many, you can't help them all.
But for yesterday and today, the Lord brought a young man across our
path, in the context of someone that was known and supported, and we
could help him. Just that one.

As I talked with him a little I found out that he lived on the streets
in Lusaka for 7 years.
He was hit by a car and was taken to UTH. The University Teaching
Hospital in Lusaka. He actually stayed somewhere near Emmasdale.
(Where James preached a week ago).
I couldn't understand from what he was explaining about the timing of
these things, but he is an orphan and at some point came back to Ndola
to see a relative. i didn't know if he was talking about his father
before, or his uncle now or what, but he said he was a bad man. And
then he pointed to his heart and said, "he had a bad heart".
He is in grade 7, but has not been in school recently. I asked if he
wanted to go back to school and finish school. he said yes. But who
knows. I am sure if he couldn't afford the malaria test, he couldn't
afford school fees.

Will he finish the medications he was given? Will he heal and then
head back to the streets?
In Lusaka? Ndola? Will he be around a year from now?
I don't know. But I do know I just spent the best 80 cents I could
spend today.

1 comment:

  1. wow.. thats great! ( and funny about the nurse..i would have been..what? but any way..) i am glad you had the oppurtunity to help.. I have been thinking more and more about coming there to help next year..i hope i can.. but thinking how i could be useful, and i thought maybe if i refreshed my emt/medical training that would be helpful.. at least maybe i can help with minor injuries and sicknesses if the orphanage is up and running.. i can see how little medical access they have.. anyway, it breaks my heart to think of people suffering and having no money to go to a clinic, or hospital.. how many just suffer with broken limbs, stomach bugs, sprained ankles, and other non life threatening things that turn into permenant or chronic problems untreated..not to mention those seriously ill who do nothing but suffer becasue they cant even afford that test.. it makes me grateful all i have is a cold.. and i have medicine.. maybe if i took some training in specific things.. beyond the emergency medicine.. do you think , as you have been there and seen things, that would be a helpful skill i can contribute with, if i come to help the children? i cannot stand by the needless suffering of children, if i can help.. I am so glad you are doing these things, and im sure Le is totally in her element as you say.. i can picture that.. i have seen it.. :)