Sunday, 11 December 2011

Hospital visit

I walked in and I smelled India.
Well, to be more precise, the hospital in India.  Except I'm in Africa.  But there's something about hospitals... and apparently the ones here remind me of the one there. 
Tall metal bedposts with folded mosquito nets hung high above the beds.  Beds with random mattresses and bare sheets.  Children of all ages, some who could have been poster children for a charity ad, many with IV's, some draped exhausted on their beds, others held in a parent's arms.  All with big brown eyes.  It was not a pristine hospital.  Roaches and rats roamed the room. 
At least... at least they were getting care.  And it was free for those under 5 years.  At least there was hope in that room.
Approximately 20 of us from the ship went to spread some holiday cheer.  We brought a small box of props, and sheets of Christmas music.  We practiced carols as we walked from the ship to the hospital.  Once there, Megan introduced us and led us in the first song.  Then she read the Christmas story from a Krio bible.  We asked for volunteers to play the parts of the characters in the story, and mothers pushed forward those children who were well enough to take part.
So we draped pillowcases on a couple heads to play Mary and Joseph, strapped wings to one child and gave animal masks to others.  They stood confused, or perhaps had no energy for the parts.  The parents probably got the most out of it. 
Then we sang a few more carols, and I saw some of the adults singing along.  Finally, we prayed for them, and then split up and visited with patients.  Beautiful, beautiful children.   And the families were so grateful for the visit.  Made me wish I had visited this hospital before this, found other ways to spread hope and encouragement.

I'm glad I went.  The hospital may not be up to western standards, but it is what they have here, and is helping those who most need it.

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