Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Morning Sounds and Rounds

They come like clockwork: the rooster's early crows, the children's lilting laughs as they walk by our house to school, then another child's screams as his burns are debrided in the nearby pediatric ward. We hear music, in stark relief, at 8 AM as a Prayer and Praise service begins on the portico near the hospital lab. I said goodbye for the day to Emmah and Douglas, a medical officer who has returned to Rotary House, and then made my way to morning rounds, waving "Jambo! Habari?" to the cows and their milkers along the path. Judy, our neighbor and a Maseno Hospital aide, greeted me with her beautiful smile, en route -- the beginning of a blessed friendship.

As always, mixed blessings awaited us: another HIV-positive toddler was discharged, a newly-admitted female with chest pain had an unremarkable EKG, a stalwart male underwent a colonoscopy (negative for polyps; hurrah) and a 36-weeks-pregnant 16-year-old had a normal ultrasound. Everywhere Dr. Hardison goes, Linet, his Kenyan assistant and translator, accompanies him. And everywhere they go together, respect and gratitude follow them. The people they are, as well as the people they see, provide living examples for me of the power of faith, hope and love, "these three."

We so often hear the words, "We cannot save the world." It is true. We cannot even save ourselves; that is up to God. But together we can -- and must -- do something. "Can't" is a four-letter word in both English and Swahili. I pray as I write, and I risk sentimentality, because I want you to come to know and walk with the people of Maseno. Their (only first) "real" names are used with great respect. Patient confidentiality is important; but, half a world away, it is not as important as Christian love.

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