"And if you SPEND YOURSELVES on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday."
"The Lord will continually guide you. He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."- Isaiah 58:10-11
Friday, November 4, 2011
I am still tying to process through the events that occurred here last week when we traveled to the Bush. We had gone there for a community celebration to announce the day program. Right after we finished lunch and were walking towards the beginning celebration, a group of 15 or so women from a nearby hut came frantically running up to us screaming that a woman had swallowed some poison in an attempt to kill herself. They pleaded with us to take her to the hospital.
Changing directions immediately Rick, a local pastor and I ran to the car and drove over to her hut. She indeed had poison spilled down the front of her shirt and was clearly becoming delirious. We quickly loaded her into the car along with her 10 month-old baby and a neighboring mama and drove as fast as possible to the main road where there was a local clinic.
At the clinic, we were able to get her to throw up the majority of the poison but didn’t have any of the drugs she needed to stop the effects and she seemed to be deteriorating rapidly. So we all climbed back in the car and Rick drove the 45 minutes to town in about 25 minutes. All the while the baby girl was screaming for her mother.
As we reeled into the hospital parking lot, I again turned around and looked back at the scene behind me and my mind snapped a picture that is forever engrained in my memory. The baby - a healthy, beautiful baby girl - had finally stopped crying as she rested her head on the neighbor mama’s shoulder that was closest to her own mama. Her searching black eyes were fixated on her mama’s face and her small, chubby hand was extended to its limit as she desperately clung to her fainting mama’s vomit soaked shirt.
We left the poisoned woman in the capable hands of the hospital staff who assured us she would be fine and went back to get our own children. As we did so, we were thanking God for the car and that we happened to be in the bush that day.
About 10 pm that night, we received a call from one of the nurses at the hospital. She told us in faltering English that unfortunately the mother had died. What? Died? What happened? What went wrong? The questions flowed and as the story unfolded over the next few days our hearts became sick.
The reality was that a beautiful 19 year-old girl, a child herself, had died at the hands of a 45 year-old husband who had beaten her to death. He had done this the day before when he couldn’t find his cell phone and accused her of taking it. Upon returning to the hut the following day, he had found her fainting on the floor. He knew she was seriously hurt and in an attempt to cover up his actions from the previous day, forced her to take poison so it would look like suicide.
The night she died, her family caught wind of the situation and sent out 80 warriors armed with bow and arrows, pangas (swords), and rungus (clubs) to ‘take care’ of the man. As they approached the hut, the elders from the community stepped in and calmed them down insisting that two murders were not necessary. The warriors listened to the elders and instead beat him severely and hauled him off to prison where he was convicted of murder. He was hung the next day.
The image of that precious child with outstretched hand reaching out in love to touch her mother one last time keeps playing over in my mind. She is an orphan now, as is her 2 year-old brother, at the hands of a wretched, horrible and sinful situation. Is there redemption in this? And what is our role in this?
Here it is week later, and the community is still reeling from this event. They buried the girl and the children are currently living with the grandmother who doesn’t really have the means to provide for them. This community clearly needs a Savior…