Monday, May 12, 2014

in memory of

Today I found out a little girl who we have supported since she was a baby has died.  Because of reception problems and lack of airtime we just found out.  She died 4 days ago.  So far, I have been told she died from malaria.   A death that should have been prevented.  The orphanage is next to a good hospital, there are four donors.  I still cannot grasp this news.  She was going to turn three years old this month.   One more death from malaria.  One more under five years old death in Congo.  And I want to vomit and the anger is hard to slow.  We have lost children before at the orphanage.  I first went there four years ago (this past February).  There have been other deaths, all babies, never a child that was this old.  Some I have held in my arms, knowing there was little to be done, knowing death was close.  Knowing soon the next arms to hold such a precious one would be the hands of God.  Others I never met, I never even had a photo sent.  Some were just a name.  This little one I've met.  Her picture was one that I always knew would show a little girl with big eyes and sometimes a shy smile, perhaps only sucking her thumb.  This little one I have a small infant photo of and then many more photos over the past almost three years.  Now I sit here, feeling stunned.  How does a child just die?  I am quickly brought back to my days in Congo.  When a friend would learn their sister or aunt or cousin had died.  Sometimes they had been sick, but often it was unexpected.  For them the unexpected death was expected, for me it always meant that I was offering some sort of condolence in a murmured state of shock while thinking, how is it possible that he or she is now dead, without explanation.  I can't stand that this little girl was not with her family.  I don't even know anything about her family.  Because we only recently were able to buy a moto and only recently received funds to hire a social worker, we have not been able to start doing visits on all the children's families.  We have a limited role at the orphanage; we do not run it.  There is much we dream of doing and are often hampered by factors outside of our control.  I know the mamas there will mourn her death and the local church will give her a funeral.  But, she should be alive.  She shouldn't be dead.  So many things do not make sense.  Questions flood and I can't find answers.  So much is not fair and not just.  Sometimes, I have no words and only can sit in the presence of God, praying for direction, justice, comfort, and peace. Praying also for her family and the mamas that cared for her since she was a baby.  Immanuel.  Never alone.  Light in the darkness. 


I received this photo six days before she died.



One of my favorites, sweet Mwamini

 

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