Today we worked in Ward 14, the thoracic-cardio-something-or-other ward. I helped bathe patients, prepare and serve their breakfasts, mopped floors and helped patients with toileting needs.
The doctors are coming by to do their rounds, but there are still no nurses to assist with things like putting in an IV drip, wound care, etc. There are many volunteers, and they are wonderful, but without medical training they can only do so much.
After we finished in Ward 14 we headed over to Ward 22, the nursery. At least three of the babies in there were orphans. It was heartwarming to see the soldiers playing with the babies and taking care of them. One of the soldiers is even making a plan to adopt a baby who had been abandoned by its mother.
I got to hold and rock a little boy. I thought he was six months old or so, but he was over 2 years. He is so malnourished that he can't walk, and he suffers from TB and AIDS. His mother just passed away and there is no father. He desperately needs ARVs, but without parents or even a guardian to consent to the treatment he will not receive them. And without them, he will die.
He cried when I put him down. He cried when Dan put him down. That cry - such a weak and feeble cry - haunts me. I cannot fathom being two years old, so sick, and utterly alone in the world.
As we left the hospital we had to walk through the striking workers once again. They were dancing and toyi toyi-ing, and my brain could not handle the juxtaposition. I felt a surge of anger well up in me. And now I am back home, staring at this screen, wondering what my duty as a Christian is. What does God want me to do? How far must I go to love my neighbour?