The other day I was talking to our son via skype about his mission work in Mozambique. He was telling me about taking some of his church members to a government hospital in Maputo to visit another member's child who was sick with a bad case of malaria.
The scene he described was heartbreaking: two children per hospital bed, all in a room with other sick children-- sharing the infectious germs. Children were crying in pain from malaria, lacking the necessary medicines to treat it. Nathan said that the hospitals were known as "death traps" because once you go in you probably won't make it out alive. In order to receive care you must "pay" the health care workers a little something (in other words--bribe) and even that is no guarantee. It really isn't a place you would want to go if you were sick, but these people have no other option.
The image he described has stuck in my mind--I can visualize a small child in pain--and wish there was something I could do to help these people. There are probably so many people in this same condition that it becomes overwhelming. It really makes you thankful for what we have.
It convicted me as I recall sighing to myself the other day about "having to go grocery shopping again." Can you imagine? I have a refrigerator and freezer full of food.....plenty to eat, and I grow weary of shopping? I imagine there are many in other parts of the world who would long to have the money to buy the food we so often take for granted.
I don't live in fear of my children getting malaria, or that the water we drink will make us sick. I do recall when we lived in Mexico what that was like. A Mexican friend of ours had a baby born with spina bifida and swelling of the brain, and what would have been treated immediately in the United States was left untreated, causing her head to swell to the size of a large watermelon, and now she has irreversible brain damage and paralysis--all because of the lack of resources.
May we all learn to be thankful, and do what we can to help alleviate someone else in need.