Monday, 23 August 2010

Dina and Mangal

She had a high fever. 104 degrees Farenheit (I'm basically a metric-wallah - but fevers don't sound right in centigrade).

Let's call her Dina. Dina was sick. She has HIV. So does her husband. So does her oldest child - a boy aged six.

Dina and Mangal have 3 more children. One is 4. One is 3. One is a babe in her arms at 7 months.

Except when Dina is sick - then Mangal tries to look after the 4 of them.

Dina is 24. She married at 16.

Sheba asked Dina where her husband worked - she said 'at the Naka'. At first Sheba didn't understand - then she did. Mangal is a day-labourer. He goes to a cross-roads in the morning and waits for people to come and choose him / and or others who are also sitting there - waiting to be hired for the day.

When Dina is sick, Mangal is at home. He tries let his brother look after the kids - but the brother is tired of it. They are all tired of it. No one wants to be sick.

Sheba had Dina admitted on Thursday. She had a very high fever. Probably malaria. It's never nice to have a very very sick person under your care.

On Friday afternoon we had a staff meeting - and I walked out into the JSK room to answer a call and saw Mangal lying on a mat on the floor with the 4 kids spread out around him. He looked up sheepishly - and I could not help but think of 4 small puppies snoozing in the sun.

On Saturday evening - after the training for Church members - a small group of JSK staff spent some time praying with Dina. Her husband and the older 3 kids were at home. She cradled the 7 month-old in her lap while she sat on her bed. We sat around her and prayed.

This morning I asked our nurse Sandhya how Dina was because I did not see her sitting with our staff at our morning prayers. Sandhya said that she had gone home the yesterday!

Its not like everything is hunky-dory. Dina and Mangal have asked us to place their oldest 2 kids in a 'hostel' - something we are loathe to do - because we believe so strongly in parents being with their children - even in hard times. Dina and Mangal are tired. Tired of being sick. Tired of changes. Tired of trying to get their family members to help them out.

And yet, in a small way we have been able to help out this dear, young and brave family.

Today is a new day.

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