Saturday, June 28, 2008

to recreate us....

all things go, all things go....

What an insane couple of weeks. Thoko went on vacation and I am amazed at her organizational skills. She got so much stuff ready for the doctor to come out and do Lily Clinic last Monday and then because of some mix up the doctor didn't come, which led to a lot of confusion on my part about who needed medication and who didn't. Straightening that out ended up being a several day ordeal. Then Warren and Sungmin left for a mission trip to Zambia, but for the most part it's been really smooth sailing since they went.
This week literally flew by. When I realized last night that this Monday is time for the Lily Clinic again I couldn't believe it. We had a couple of hospital trips this week (including one where we waited for an hour and fifteen minutes just to get the file so we could proceed to the waiting room) and miraculously, we've only had one trip to the doctor. I am completely amazed at how many of the kids can be sick at the same time and none of them have the same thing. They are really good at giving me variety. In the past three weeks we have gone to the doctor for pneumonia, bronchitis, tonsillitis, an ear abscess, scabies, infected excema, septic ringworm....and the list goes on. If I could just give out antibiotics here we could probably skip going to the doctor most days because for almost anything they have they get an antibiotic and tylenol. I think they would probably prescribe amoxicillin if their limbs were falling off. (on a side note, the local doctor is incredibly generous with us and sees all our kids for free and gives us medicine for free, and the staff treats us and the kids with complete respect which is not the case everywhere. they just really like antibiotics.)
When we were at the hospital this week for the diabetic clinic, I went in with the child and her house mom to talk to the doctor. I was wearing a MSU tshirt, jeans, and running shoes, and at the beginning of the meeting the doctor asked me if I worked in pediatrics, which I thought was a little odd but I told her that I did at home, but I was a volunteer at this NGO and that I lived there. A few minutes later she asked me if I would calculate the child's BMI for her. I was completely surprised but thought, I pulled out my post it notes (always handy) and my cell phone and worked it out. Then a few minutes later she was reviewing the child's insulin dosage and turned to me and asked, "Is Humelog the same as Actraphane?" and by this point I'm thinking, what in the world is wrong with her. Then before we left she asked me again if I worked in pediatrics and I said again, no, that I lived with them at the NGO. This time she got it, I guess, and told me the whole time we were in this meeting she thought I was one of the other doctors. A very unprofessional looking one, apparently.
A few weeks ago I wrote about one of the kids who has been having these panic attacks where he looks like he sees someone coming at him. Since then, he's being doing really well and has been happier than I've ever seen him. He sat in my lap one Sunday afternoon for about an hour AND didn't pee on me again, which was nice. He's been playful and laughing and even talking a little bit, which he wasn't doing before. I was also weighing him the other day and I was kneeling in front of him taking his shoes off and he leaned forward and wrapped his little arms around my neck. So cute.
We have another baby girl here who is very developmentally delayed but has been making a lot of progress. She's over 3 years old but she still isn't walking or talking. In the past week, she's started pulling herself into a standing position and her house mom told me yesterday she was standing in front of the tv and was completely shocked to hear her say "hey hey.....suga!" (which means, move!).

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

oh the sweetest winds, they blow across the South

So I don't have much time to blog but I wanted to share this real quick before I forgot about it. The other day we took 26 of the kids who had gotten our homework club and reading prizes to see Prince Caspian at a movie theater about 45 minutes away from where we live. Afterwards we got KFC (THE most popular chain in South Africa) and the kids were enjoying themselves for sure. One of the grade 1 girls had thrown away her box but still had a half eaten, greasy piece of chicken she wanted to take home with her. I was standing around talking to one of the other volunteers when I felt my purse moving. I looked down and she was putting her piece of chicken in my purse! She was completely baffled as to why I did not want to carry an unwrapped half eaten piece of fried chicken in my bag for her. It's hard to tell them not to do something when you're laughing so hard.
I can't believe we're more than halfway through June. The time is going by so quickly, it just blows my mind.

Friday, June 6, 2008

miss sarah, you shouldn't be cold... you have hair on your arms

...but I am, in fact, cold. It is winter here now and at night and in the morning it is COLD! We visited our social worker's house last night and she has a space heater and none of us wanted to leave.
I was going to update last week but I realized that I did almost nothing except sit in the hospital all week, so there wasn't really anything exciting to tell about that. We did have a going away party for Simone, one of our volunteers from Germany who had been at Lily for a year and went home on Sunday. I can't believe she's not here anymore! I miss her a ton already.
This week has been a tough one. On Sunday after we dropped Simone off at the airport, we went to eat in Durban and a girl came up to our table with her baby asking for money. Ana, my roommate, asked if we could buy her something to eat instead. She told us her name was Mary, she was 16, and she had been homeless for a long time. She said her dad was dead and her mother was also homeless but she didn't know where her mom was. She ate with us and we talked to her about her life and basically told her that God loved her and cared about her, even if it didn't seem like it sometimes. I was so impressed of how well she was taking care of her baby when people in better situations than her are abandoning their babies here every day. We left her with a prayer and our phone number and I have been thinking about her every day.
One of our toddlers is also having these panic attacks. His house brothers told me that he sees someone that they can't see, and just screams and shakes and cries. I don't know what happened to him before he came here but he's been really really traumatized, and when I went to check on him the other night it was heartbreaking to see the terrified look on his face. Whatever is frightening him is evil, any way you look at it. I just held him and rocked him until he fell asleep and then his house mother and I prayed for him and that God bring peace to his little heart.
Yesterday Natalie and I went into the township visit a family in the community who's son just died of TB. He was the best friend of one of our staff members, who asked if we would come. In the days before the funeral, people come to visit the family and pray for them and give a little money (about a dollar fifty) for funeral expenses. We were invited to the funeral today, which is pretty cool that we would be invited to a Zulu funeral by people who hardly know us. When there's a funeral they put these big colored tents so everyone knows where it is, and we see those tents at least once or twice a week. People are dying here right and left. The impact of disease here is mind blowing, and there was an article in the paper this week about how the denial of the South African government about the realities of AIDS has led to skyrocketing infection rates. The whole country will have to change its mindset for the impact to slow down.
On a lighter note, I would like to give a shout out to Margaret Cole's Sunday school class, who I am told are faithful blog readers. This story is for them: One of our first graders is a very adorable, very mischevious little man. A couple of weeks ago he had his finger smashed really badly so we took him to the doctor to see if he needed stitches, so of course the kids are all in an uproar because there's excitement and blood and a trip out of Lily! Our victim was all tears and wails until we got halfway down the road and he got more interested in seeing everything around him. He didn't even really cry at the doctor until he had to drain his finger with a needle. It was the middle finger on his left hand and the doctor put this huge white bandage on, like the kind you see in cartoons, and we headed back home. When we got back, all the kids had to be in their houses for lunch but they were all, literally all, pressed up against the windows to see what had happened to him. Never the one to miss a moment for glory, he paraded back to his house with his hand high up above his the process giving the entire children's village the finger. He milked that injury for all it was worth for about 4 days, until he forgot about it completely.