Now that I am home I will be blogging about my past days in Africa. On the last night of our Visiting Orphans trip, I asked every team member what was their most memorable moment. Here is mine:
We spent a day at one of the many Mother Theresa Orphanages in Ethiopia. This orphanage has about 400 kids with HIV. The number is staggering and a very small percentage of these children are ever adopted. It is one of the most hopeless places we visit as a mission team.
The guys played football, aka, soccer with the older boys while most of the women led the children in songs and arts and crafts. While I was working with one set of kids, a team member named Audrey cried out my name. When I turned to see what was the matter, she was trying to help a little 4 year old boy out of a ditch. He had been pushed by another child head first into this rock ditch and blood was running all down his face and onto his hand, while he cried in pain. Without thinking, I picked him up immediately and rushed him to the clinic that was on this large compound. I was with a volunteer who worked there and she asked me if I had any open wounds. I had not even thought about that. Not once did I hesitate to not pick him up because he had HIV. Thankfully it never crossed my mind!
However, in that moment, the danger of this virus and the threat of it scared me. I quickly realized there was no concern as I did not have an open wound, and I laid my head against his bloody head and tried calming him and comforting him. It seemed to work. Pretty soon the nurse took him and laid him on the table. He was crying as she pressed on his head. She uttered something to him in amharic (the national language of Ethiopia) and he quickly stopped crying. I was amazed as she put disinfectant on his sore and he didn't let out a peep. I myself would have been crying and carrying on!
I asked her what she said and my heart broke with her answer. She told him, "If you keep crying, I will not help you and you will get an infection". So, no matter how hard she pressed, he did not let out a sound. You know this tiny boy wanted a Mama during this time. Someone to let him cry. Someone to kiss his wounds. Someone to reassure him he will be okay.
Most orphans NEVER have someone to pick them up when they fall, or to kiss them, or to comfort and hold them. They either go uncomforted or are hushed like this nurse did to him. I excused myself from the room as for me even, it was too painful to watch. Pretty soon, he found me in the multitude of children and grabbed my hand. He was such a quiet and shy boy that even the interpreters couldn't get him to talk, so I don't know what he thought. But he did manage to say that his head was still hurting. Then all the sudden he left with all the other children to go to lunch. He didn't look back..he just walked away. That was a sad moment for me too. I realized that they are used to visitors coming and going and never seeing them again. He didn't even bother to say good-bye. Why bother...he doesn't seem to have any hope.
Later that night I laid awake in tears as I realized he could have had a concussion and no one looked into that chance. I was so worried. So, my husband and I prayed for him until we couldn't stay awake any longer. I wish I could tell you his name. I am more than ashamed that I do not know it. He just wouldn't talk though.
This is one reason why I love my job as our Development Director. I get the chance to work for a fundraising campaign that does bring orphans some hope. Our Orphan's Ticket Home campaign works tirelessly to help bring more children home. I love knowing that even though I was unable to bring this particular child home and could only be there for that one moment in his life, I can still help other orphans find their way home through this campaign. If you are inspired in any way by this blog post, please pray about giving to this campaign. You can do so at www.orphanstickethome.org.
Until They All Have Tickets Home,
Director of Development