...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 head.....in 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.