This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not
that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Meet Charles!

I met Charles and his mother Annette just two weeks ago.  A few of the girls walked down to Shimo (the slum near our house) to visit with families.  While I was there I saw several kids with shilingi spots on their heads so I took out my latex gloves to apply antifungal cream.  As soon as I put on the gloves people swarmed me from all directions.  One child caught my eye, his name was Charles.  His mother had carried him out to where I was standing to show me his legs.  The ankle area on both feet appeared to have been severely charred, the skin shriveled in towards the bone.  

I brought Leila over to translate for me and I found out that his feet hadn’t been burnt; instead, this had all started from one small spot that had grown to consume his feet.   His sweet mother, Annette, was doing all that she could to help her son, but sadly she only had unclean water and miscellaneous herbs to doctor his festering wounds.  I knew nothing about how to treat his feet, I only knew that he needed help.  I took pictures so that I could take them with me to Sister Freda’s the following week, but that night I couldn’t stop thinking about Charles.  When I woke up in the morning I knew I needed to take him to the hospital.  Sweet Leila agreed to come with as my translator and we made our way down to Shimo to get Charles and Annette. 

Annette was grateful to have her son taken to Sister Freda’s medical center.  It turns out his wounds were definitely not the result of a burn; although even the doctors thought this at first.  It was a septic fungal infection that was eating away at his skin.  This was something that if it remained untreated would continue to take over his body and in time lead to further infection or even disease.  Charles is especially susceptible to such things because of his living conditions.  I decided to have Charles and Annette admitted so that he could have his wounds cleaned and taken care of in a clean, infection-free environment for the next few days.  

On Monday, Leila and I took piki pikis out to Sister Freda’s to visit Charles.  Because it had rained earlier that day, we had to have Elijah (our usual piki driver) drop us off were the paved road ends about a mile from the hospital.  The walk was muddy, but delightful—especially because we ran across Freda’s kids (the orphans we took swimming) on their way home from school!  I loved getting to see Charles and Annette.  It was obvious that his wounds were healing well, but in order to continue to see improvement in his condition we decided it would be best if he stayed a few more days.  

After helping out at the hospital on Thursday, we were able to take Charles and Annette home!  I can’t say whether or not Annette was actually glad to return.  At Sister Freda’s she had a bed, three meals a day and a room with concrete walls and tile floors—something far different from her dirt floor, tin roof and mud wall one-room house that she shares with her sister, two cousins and all their children.  Despite her circumstances, Annette has such a sweet spirit and at the age of 18 seems to understand what it means to be a mother to her son, which I’ve learned isn’t very common here.  I love stopping by to see Charles and Annette even though neither of us can speak the other’s language.  I’m excited to see how my relationship with this family of two develops in the coming months.     

Annette (age 18) and Charles (age 1 1/2) in front of their home

No comments:

Post a Comment