I am writing from the peace ward. It's not really peaceful at the moment. The little two year old boy in bed 63 is terrified of the hospital and white people. He is inconsolably scared. His cries are filling the air. I don't blame him. I am sure he has never been in an environment remotely similar to the hospital. And we put both his little legs into long itchy casts and poked his skin. You'd be inconsolably scared too.
We started our orthopedic surgeries this week. At this very moment I am looking after five beautiful African children who have undergone club feet repairs. They all have at least one leg held hostage by a stiff cast.
I love looking after the VVF ladies but taking care of children feels like home. And they have stolen my heart. I cannot help but kiss their foreheads when I tuck them in at night.
There is "B". A nine-year-old charming little boy with club feet. We have repaired his left foot and he has been getting around post-operatively on a tiny pair of crutches. You should see him move. He flies around on his still turned in right foot with determination and grace. Never complaining. Always wearing an ear-to-ear smile. Some times he wears a hand knit grey skull cap. It's rather cold on the ward.
Tonight we looked through a "Where's Waldo" book together. I remember having a "Where's Waldo" obsession at that age. I said a goodnight prayer with him before he went to bed.
"Is there anything you'd like me to pray for?"
"What would you like me to pray for?"
"Pray for my foot."
We prayed for his foot.
Then there is little "C". At age 1 1/2 she is already potty trained. Her mother and 6 month sister are staying with her. Tonight I held her while her mother fed her sister. She carefully examined my white face. Touching my eyes. Trying to place her hands in my mouth. I started to sing her a little song. She started to sing with me.
"You are here, Lord, watching over me," was harmonized with a series of loudly pronounced coos.
A far too precious moment. Did I mention that working on a hospital ship in Africa is great?