Saturday, 5 July 2014

Two small steps forward

Tonight our volunteer nurse Lydia is on duty - looking after three very sick folks at the JSK centre.

Two of them are married - to each other.

We had talked 2 months ago about Mr. and Mrs. Tamam.

At that point she was admitted at JSK and he was wandering around in a drunken stupor.  Things looked grim.  Very grim.

But it all became even grimmer.  She got fed up of our hospital and demanded to go home.  We tried to counsel, coax, cajole.  Nothing doing.  She was going home.

In our mind it was a death sentence.   A slow suicide.

Over the last 4 weeks our staff have been visiting this family in their hovel.  Both have TB.  Both are lying next to each other weak and emaciated.  But at each visit they refused help.

Their oldest girl had dropped out of school and started working as a maid.  She seems to have taken up with a local young man who does not have a good reputation.  Given the shambles of her home it is unsurprising that she wants someone who says he loves her.

The middle boy stopped school and started going out with his grand mother to collect garbage.

The youngest boy - HIV positive and without sight in one eye because of an accident with an ice-cream stick some years ago - continues in school somehow.

Our JSK staff would come in and report the horrible condition.  All we could do was to continue visiting.  And pray.  And visit and pray.  And visit. And pray.  And pray.

Last week we had Dr. Henry Sunpath from Durban, S. Africa spend a morning with us.  He talked about how he and his colleagues at the McCord hospital had built up a programme for people with HIV where 5000 were being given the free Anti-Retroviral Medications through the US Pepfar programme.  And how 60% of their patients in their hospital were HIV positive.  And how they have also developed a 'step-down' care centre where people too sick to go home are cared for.

He reminded us again of our mission.  To look after the very sick that others don't want to look after.

We have in Mr. and Mrs. Tamam a couple who fit this bill.  And on top of it - they are so tired of life and everything - that they don't want us either.

We did some more praying.  And then tried again.  We told them that we would like them both admitted at JSK for a month.  And that their daughter should be with them to help care for them. 

Mr. Tamam was on it in a flash.  He was desperate to get out of his condition and get better.  She did not want to come.  So we admitted him.  A few days later Mrs. Tamam changed her mind and joined him at our centre.

They are sick.  Deathly sick.  But they are still alive.  As long as they have breath we will try to help them rebuild themselves.

So it goes.  Last month I was sure they would not see July 2014.   We are 4 days into that month and both are still alive. 

Despite their adamant refusal to be helped... we now have both of them admitted at the Jeevan Sahara Kendra.  Our prayers are being answered.  One small step at a time.

Mr. and Mrs. Tamam still have many things seriously wrong with them, and in the squalid conditions they live in.  But they are still alive - and we hope that by getting live-saving and life-restoring treatment at the JSK Centre - they will take 'two small steps' and will develop real lasting change in their lives.

Thanks for walking along with us on this journey.

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