Kuya Jerome

A waiting shed for public transport. This has been his bedroom for many months. Family? No, he doesn’t have any. O, wait. There is one guy he met who has the same last name as his mother. It must surely be his cousin, he laughs.

His breath comes in short, shallow, sharp gasps and I know his sickness is very bad. My mind is whirring. We just finished our weekly feeding to 130 children and I dealt with 50 medical check-ups. This day always leaves me feeling burdened for these people that make a garbage dump their home.

But the community has brought this man to me. Their eyes are watching my every move. What will I do with a homeless man? A man with no history? A man who is so very very sick. I am scared, he says ever so quietly. I look long and hard into his teary eyes. I know he is.

I sigh. I am sure they saw me hesitate. My ICU is full… I can only put him on a mattress in my garage. I explain that to him. He smiles and says that’s so much better than what he has. I tell him he needs to shower because he stinks so bad. Another smile.

As long as there is breath, there is life, he says, as though I need convincing. I smile back at him and with his little plastic bag of all his earthly belongings, we pile into our van. For such a sick man, he is very generous with his smiles.

Tuberculosis in its late stages is almost always a killer. I watch him try to sleep as we drive. My heart cries out. God, we’ll need a miracle for this… Jason's camera january 380

Baby Mando

It’s December 30th, 830pm and I cannot believe there is a woman at my door wanting me to take her baby. Happy New Year.   

 

Full cleft pallet, club feet, spina bifeta, congenital issues to say the least. 6 months old, just 2.5 kilos, the size of a newborn. What a pathetic little creature.

 

With tears in her eyes, she waited for my answer, almost holding her breath. She doesn’t even know me. I sighed. After spending half the day yesterday in the hospital with the father of one of our boys who drank himself into a coma and then discharging two of our little ones, and the general worries that running this place brings, I was not convinced I wanted this baby. This would be intense care, he was so deformed, so underweight, so weak. And I was kinda tired.

 

Amidst all the chaos in my mind, his little eyes looked up at me and I reluctantly took him into my arms. He was quiet, almost still.

 

This is what I live for, I thought. The rescue. My heart warmed just a little. Okay, I’ll try, baby. I’ll try. I held him close for a moment and I knew God had a plan. I just had to be willing. Happy New Year, baby Mando, I whispered.

 

Mando intake, 2.5 kilos Mando, after 3 weeks, 3.9 kilos

Jan 2010 884  Mando 1

 

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Like the form of a beloved mistress

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