Monday, November 12, 2007

Friday, November 2nd

Karen introduced Yoella and me to the roof of the school with its view of Bod Me Limbe. We came down to find that Steve had been awake all night, vomiting. We walked over the Jo’s house for a breakfast of oatmeal, mango, bread and manba with coffee, and passed a group of kids with shaved heads and white designs drawn with chalk. I asked the translators later if there was any significance, and they said, “Just for pleasure. They don’t have much.”

Yoella saw a man, grunting in pain, his neck muscles straining with the effort of holding up his head as he was helped away for IV fluids. I wondered if that was what end-stage AIDS looks like.

Dana saw a man whose nose was kicked off by a donkey. Angela saw a baby with pneumonia in respiratory distress. The girl is too sick for her mother to walk home with her, then come back in the morning for a second injection of antibiotics, so the two will spend the night with us.

I met Juliette, 18 years old and one week beyond her due date, covered with scars from being beaten by her parents for being pregnant. When I asked her who would help her with her birth, she said, “My parents.” Then a woman, looking sick as death, but with normal vital signs. Tiffany told her she felt it might be typhoid fever, and she told us that, yes, she’d had that in the past. There was a fifteen year-old girl with scabies so bad it looked like leprosy. A nine year-old kid who barfed up a worm.

Yoella met two elderly women who explained that they were homeless; they were covered with infections and had nothing in the world but each other. She was nearly in tears presenting their story to Tiffany, who felt for them (and her), but maintains a strict policy of giving money to people only for medical treatment. Yoella handed them pain medication, treatment for their infections, vitamins, a drink of water, and then she ran to our room to make them a care package from her own store of granola bars.

I had my first bout of bowel antics this morning. I knew something was brewing because this morning I woke with a headache and back ache that would not go away. I’m hoping for a 24-hour thing.

It’s Blackstone’s birthday today. Late in the afternoon, he was pretending to be drunk, singing a song about how everyone hated him. When he wasn’t at supper (bulgar, beef, pickle and fried plaintain), we wondering if maybe he hadn’t been pretending.

186 people today, and tonight, a sky full of stars.
~ Monica Kidd

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