The ward is still filled with pediatric patients and fiberglass casts. I love working with children.
Little James was one of my patients tonight. He has been terrified of me all week. We are the first encounter with white skin that many of these children have. They are understandably terrified.
But today James was happy. He is three and has the softest, darkest black skin. And the happiest little smile. When he's happy.
We played lion tonight. I got on all fours, He got on all threes (His fourth leg was occupied by a cast). I made scary lion faces at him. He made them back. Slowly, we approached each other in a pounce-like crouched position. And finally, after a 30 second stare down, I would let out a loud roar and he would let out a deep-rooted belly laugh. His smiles and laughter were worth my dirty knees.
Little Manja is a year old. All the kids here are breast-feeding addicts. You kind of get use to walking into a room and seeing two or three mothers feeding their children uncovered. The new normal. While Manja was being fed her mother started singing to her. She would intermittently reply in baby coos. Such a beautiful sound.
My oldest patient was ten. We fixed his left foot. In the older children we can only fix one foot at a time. This patients dad was concerned about his other foot that is still turned in. Mercy ships will be in Sierra Lionne in February. I assured the father that we would try to schedule his son then.
It's so sad to see these kids before surgery. They are the walking crippled. But not anymore.