Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Between the Hands of God

Agbessi and Ama

I went to a meeting at David’s house yesterday morning.   I was in a good mood.  One of those days or hours that all seemed right with the world.  After my meeting with David I decided to go see Honou Koffi.  Honou lives a short distance from David.  As I walked to Honou’s house a woman stopped me.  I had never seen her before.  She told me her name was Ama.   Ama told me her child was sick, and she pleaded with me to come and see her.  I did.  Her little girl, Agbessi,  is five years old.  She was laying on the hard floor of the hut motionless with only a piece of fabric under her little body.  She looked very sick.  Very sick.   The little girl was barely conscious, and she groaned in pain when Ama pulled her up on her lap.  Ama’s husband was sitting on a log in the compound.  He looked desolate.  There was something else in his eyes…. I thought that maybe he just felt bad because he didn’t know how to help.  He looked ashamed.  He looked worried.   I asked Ama if she had taken Agbessi to the clinic.  Ama replied that they didn’t have any money.   I sensed this was very serious.  

I called Mathew the clinic director and told him I was sending a little girl to be examined, and that I would pay for whatever they needed.   Mathew has the most difficult job in Tchekpo.  He has to turn people away every single day because they don’t have money.  He has no choice.  He see’s people die who shouldn’t die.  He sees people suffer who shouldn’t have to suffer.  Literally a few dollars would prevent death and suffering in so many cases.  Mathew is a quiet, humble man.  He’s a good man.  He rarely smiles.   He looks deep into your eyes.  He speaks with a very soft voice.  He makes no excuses.  I can feel the wieght of the burden he bears every time I see him.

Ama  took the child to the clinic right away.  I had a meeting to go to, but I asked David if he would check on them later in the day.  David called me that night and told me that Agbessi was much better.  He said that Mathew had given her an injection.  He didn’t know what was wrong with her.   I guessed it was malaria.  It usually is.  I was feeling happy that I had helped.

I was going to go see Mathew this evening to find out what had been wrong with Agbessi, to thank him, and to pay him.  The fee was equivalent to two American dollars.  But first,  this morning I walked over to  Agbessi’s house to see how she was doing.  She looked much better.  She was standing, and she didn’t have a fever.   Ama thanked me.  Both of them seemed so sad though.  I sat with them for awhile, and tried to cheer them up.  I took their photo and showed it to them.  I think what I took for sadness was the look of pure hopelessness.  They both knew what I didn’t know.  That this was something they’d been dealing with for some time. Ama and Agbessi both looked like pictures I’ve seen of holocaust victims.  Blank stares.  Dead but alive.  Hopeless.

Mathew told me the bad news.  Agbessi has AID’s and so does her mother and her father. 

I see a lot of sick people here, too many sick children.  I’ve seen a child die right before my eyes because her parents didn’t have enough money to buy four dollars worth of medicine.  I know that Mahsoblee would have died without our intervention.   Death hangs over the people of my village like a dark cloud. 

Ama and Agbessie know there is no hope.  They know it’s just a matter of time.  They suffer.  I have no answers.

Agbessi's name means Between the hands of God.

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