Showing posts with label help. Show all posts
Showing posts with label help. Show all posts

Monday, 10 April 2017

The Atman (world) Hospital


                “This is sure a junky, old hospital,” Jyoti grumbled. “As soon as I can I’ll be glad to move on to a better place. Why in the world is it called Atman hospital anyways? “
                Vivek stood behind the floor-length mirror in the staff washroom. She arranged her nurses’ cap just so on her long wavy hair that was formed in a knot at her neck. “That’s the Hindu word relating to ‘World’ or person. This huge hospital holds a cross-section of people from all walks of life. "
                “It looks like most of them are from the untouchable caste to me,”
                “Not so!” Vivek’s eyes flashed. “And besides we are not allowed to call them that!” How she wished to really tell this snobbish newcomer off. Every day since Jyoti had volunteered to work in Shalputa’s inner city hospital she had found something to complain about. If she finds it so dreadful why doesn’t she just leave?  She obviously doesn’t know a thing about the caste system and the benefits of it! Why if -----------wasn’t from the caste he is, he wouldn’t have received the assistance needed to find a bed in even this economy hospital.

                Jyoti’s voice cut through her thoughts. “Pardon me, your royal highness, and what caste are you from?”

                Vivek flushed red but didn’t deign to answer. She thinks her western ways are so superior to ours, but they aren’t, they simply aren’t. The Eastern Culture is as varied and beautiful as a rich tapestry.

While trying to keep a tight rein on her emotions, Vivek turned and sashayed out of the room.
Fifteen minutes later, while she was chatting with other caregivers at the nurses’ station, she lifted her eyes to see Jyoti strolling languidly towards them, coffee cup in hand.

                “What took you so long?” Leila, always the outspoken one, demanded. “Shift change was fifteen minutes ago, and Report is over.”

                “Oh, this and that,” Jyoti chose a chair and sipped indolently of her steaming beverage.

Vivek saw a spot on Jyoti’s uniform but Jyoti either hadn’t noticed or more likely didn’t care.
                “It looks like a long night is before us,” Jenna sighed.
                Jyoti shrugged, “The moaning and groaning doesn’t seem any worse than usual.”
                Vivek leaned back and peered down the dimly lit hall. A look of concern shadowed her features, but she kept her thoughts to herself. Will tonight be like every other night, with the staff enjoying the comforts of the brightly lighted lounge and only superficially going through the motions of making sure everyone is all right?
            Last night she had verbalized this concern, but Jyoti had responded. “They will come to us if they need to. They can ring their bell.”
                Vivek had nodded but she knew better.  How many would actually call? They are afraid that every act of service we provide will cost them something. Our ways are so strange and foreign to them that they will shrink back and think that…Vivek glanced at Jyoti and her lips curved slightly; that they are untouchables.
                Just then a bell tinkled from somewhere down the hall.
                Leila glanced pointedly at Jyoti. “That’s your patient.”
                Jyoti sighed, “I’m not quite done my coffee. It will be cold when I get back.”
                “Must you always put your own needs before others?” Leila snapped. “See there it rang again. It must be urgent.”
                Jyoti checked the number against the chart. “That only old Mrs. Farah. Probably wants to use the commode again.”

                “Well, what if you needed to use the commode, and couldn’t wait…” Feeling embarrassed, Jenna’s voice trailed off.
                “I’ll go,” Vivek said quietly.
                “Nah, I’m almost done.”
                “If that what’s Mrs. Farah wants, you’ll need help anyways.” Vivek started down the hall and Jyoti trailed after her.

                They attended to Mrs. Farah’s needs in a professional manner, but Vivek’s heart ached for the elderly woman. I almost wish I would have gone alone. Mrs. Farah is so sweet and frail. I wonder if she is afraid of the great beyond. She would never call out to ask for spiritual help, but shouldn’t we be offering it, somehow?

                The long night wore onThe girls went the rounds when it was time, and answered the bells when required to, but Vivek wished they could do more.

                Around three o’clock that night, the girls couldn’t resist the urge to slumber and sleep although they knew it was against the rules. When Jyoti was sound asleep on the couch, Jenna dozing in the rocking chair, and Leila deep in the pages of a book, Vivek took her little candle and slipped away into the darkness. She went into one room after another, the tiny light illuminating her face and a small area in front of her.  Some were sound asleep, but not everyone. She knelt beside Hanzia’s bed. The tiny child was weeping for her mother so Vivek smoothed a lock of hair off the small, delicate face and offered words of comfort.
                A little further on Gabi was muttering and tossing, sleepless. Vivek knew he must be in a lot of discomfort from the fractures suffered in a gang war earlier that week so thought of offering him a sedative.

                Gabi looked like he was going to lunge at her with his fists and hurled a few choice expletives her way, so she backed out hurriedly.
                Gabi stared at her in dismay. Why did I ever act like that? She looked like a ministering angel. I am so used to having to protect myself, but what if, just what if she had intended to show mercy? Vivek didn’t know how he felt in his heart and avoided him next time she passed by.
                Eventually, Vivek reached Mrs. Farah’s room supposing she would be fast asleep by now. The round orbs that were the old woman’s eyes were wide and staring as Vivek crept closer. Vivek placed the candle on the bedside table and knelt beside her. She placed the wrinkled, claw-like hand between her own, and stroked it gently.
                “Oh, Vivek, thank you for coming.” Mrs. Farah murmured. Vivek saw that her cheeks were damp where a tear or two had coursed down it.
                “Would you care to talk?”
                In the silence that followed Vivek dimly heard a bell tinkle, and the sound of passing feet.
                “What is beyond this life?” Mrs. Farah asked hesitantly.
                As Vivek quietly shared her hope of eternal life with God, Mrs. Farah listened eagerly.
"If we confess that we have sinned to Jesus," Vivek continued, "He will take them all away. Jesus has prepared a place in Heaven for them that love and serve Him."
                Eventually, Mrs. Farah fell into a deep and peaceful sleep, so Vivek let herself out of the room.
                Far down the hall, she saw the brightly lighted nurses’ station with the staff all dressed in white.

They were enjoying each other’s fellowship, which was pleasant, yet here in the dark and gloomy corridors, only the occasional beam of light was searching out the needs of a suffering society. Some cautioned against penetrating the darkness with all its dangers, and reminded her that they can come to us but once again Vivek wondered how many would actually dare.

          She slipped into a comfortable recliner and had nearly dozed off when Jenna’s words floated into her consciousness.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

I Searched for You

We searched all over for you. Remember me? I met you sitting on the curb by Goodwill and got down beside you. We chatted for quite a while and it was easy to tell that life had thrown you some nasty curve balls in the last few months.

My heart went out to you, but we felt so helpless. I even asked you, ‘what can I do, how can we help?’ It wasn’t money that you wanted and you said so, but we did go to a nearby restaurant together to get a bite to eat.

The timing may have seemed off to some since we were super busy at home with a wedding coming up as well as BnB guests, but bringing you home with us was hardly the solution anyway because there are not many job opportunities in a rural area such as where we live.
You said you wanted to come to church with us and would find a way, but we knew that would be easier said than done since so much had been stolen from you already, including your cell phone.

So we came into town tonight, a week later,  using the excuse of picking up groceries. You weren’t where we expected to find you nor at any of the other places where the homeless might be inclined to hang out and we drove around for a long time looking.
We found another girl who was obviously troubled; her eyes red,  face sad and we told each other maybe that was who God wanted us to come into town to comfort, but I wasn’t totally convinced.

Where are you? Are you reaching up and holding to the Good Shepherd’s hand? Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Let Him hold your hand so it won’t slip. Remember He is always looking out for you even when you can’t feel Him. Learn to trust Him and surrender your all to Him and He will lead you down the tunnel where there is a light at the end.

You, and you and you…are in my thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

No Time to Call the Vet

We just had a terrifying moment with our adorable, little puppy. I use an old pitcher little this with a more curved neck to water houseplants with than the one in the picture, and Cuddles got her head stuck in it. I tried to pull or twist it off, but that was impossible! Next, I grabbed a stone to break out an air hole for her. She had been calm til now but was beginning to panic, like me! I raced into the storage room and grabbed the vice grip but it seemed to take forever to chip pieces off that in-my-mind-too-durable vessel. But we did it, we did it, and Cuddles definitely wanted a reassuring moment of cuddling after that. What if our daughter hadn't noticed the puppy's predicament so quickly? What if she hadn't been there to hold her for me? God cares even about the little things.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Alone and Suffering

This poem is my gift to you  if you feel all alone and as if no one cares.  If you can, print it out and tuck it in a safe place where you can always find it.

You are the one
That needs a home
A mother's love
A Daddy's care

You are the one
Who haunts my dreams
Disturbs my sleep
With your sad stare.

You are the one 
Who will be sighing
In some dark place
Alone tonight.

You are the one
I'd love to find
Take to my heart
And hold you tight.

Oh Precious Child
Just pray to God
And trust in Him
I know He cares

Oh Troubled Child
I pray someone 
Will Find you soon
And call you theirs.

Monday, 15 February 2016


The fog was thick like walls around
Impen'tratable and deep
And there was I so sick and sore
And too inclined to weep.

But move I must so slowly walked
With weary feet and mind,
The trail was slanting lower still
But I was feeling blind.

How long I plod this downward trek
I cannot think or say,
I longed to feel a hand in mine ,
A Guide to lead the way.

I dimly knew that God was kind
And won't forsake His own
But demons taunted in that mist
Which made me sigh and groan.

Yet when I felt all hope was gone
And I had lost the road
I weakly said "I'll not give up"
I'll trust in Christ my Lord. 

I'm standing now on Blessings' Peak

(An angel brought me there.)
Rainbows of hope swirl all around
The Lord God answers prayer.

Marilyn Friesen

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Border Crossing- Simple??!!

Is any border simple--no big deal? Maaaybe...somewhere. But certainly not between Mozambique and Malawi. I'm not sure why it had to take so long, but being ignorant with the language and customs certainly didn't help.

Look around you. See all the traffic, even huge older trucks nosing it for a better spot? See all the pedestrians and all the different stops we have to make and all the papers we have to sign. Quite a deal, huh?  I reckon this is a favorite spot for both beggars and sellers! Ah, but they have such appealing eyes...the beggars, I mean, and the craftsmen sure did want us to come to their open air markets. Sometimes they would come right up to us with their goods. Did I actually say sometimes??!! They must spot a tourist a mile away and make a beeline towards us! But hey, we can't help everyone, not that we were even tempted, sorry to say!

There is one unforgettable border crossing though. We had a man and a boy in our truck. The boy had had a club foot that had been surgically repaired, earlier, and now infection had set in so Milton was bringing him in to the Be In CURE hospital. This memory isn't about them though, because they were so quiet, I hardly noticed them.

While we were milling around, mostly waiting, of course, I caught sight of a young mother with a sad face and a baby on her back. She was holding a little boy by the hand. For some reason she tugged at my heart so I said Bon Deah. (Good day) She responded without any light in her eyes, and a little while later I decided to try again, so pointed to her baby and said "Bonita." Surely that would make her smile. I think it means "Beautiful" in Portuguese and doesn't every mother like to have her child complimented? It brought a response alright, but I couldn't understand a single word she said, so Milton had to come to my rescue.

It came out that she wanted just a little money, but our son investigated further and found out that her little boy's arm had gone limp a month or two before, and he strongly suspected that he had Malarial Cerebral Palsy. (Groan) So we  brought her with us into Malawi and to the hospital. It was hard on me having her sit in the back of our covered truck while we sat in comfort in the front, so offered to join her there. I was told that it was okay,  she was probably sitting on our luggage so I went quiet.

An interesting cultural difference showed up at the hospital. She didn't mind if I helped carry her luggage, but when my husband picked something up, she quickly said, "Let it be, let it be."

She was overwhelmingly grateful for the room in the hostel and other assistance All I could do was haltingly try to point her to the Giver of All Good Gifts.

Please pray for her. I hope all is well with her and her family.

Friday, 7 March 2014

The People Next Door (Part three)

Pieter gazed worriedly out of the small east window facing the trees. “Why didn't Papa come in for supper? An' why didn't Mama come either? Their soup will be cold by the time they get back.”
“Come away from the window, Pieter, and eat your own food before it gets cold.”
Pieter turned back slowly but his pale, freckled face was troubled.
Margariete scurried around cleaning up the before supper mess but her face also looked quite thoughtful for a normally merry twelve year old. Why did they leave right now? Was it something to do with...She didn't even want to think it let alone voice it. Every once in a while someone would be thrown in dungeon—or worse-- because of being a Christian. Just as she was brushing the crumbs off the table and in to her hand, loud voices caused her to look up out a different tiny window. What she saw made her heart pound with fear. Four or five big men silhouetted against the sun were shambling up the street. And their voices carried well.
She froze in her place as one of them pounded loudly on their neighbours door. George slowly opened it and cupped his hand to his ear as if pretending to be more deaf than he actually is.
“Piersom you say? What Piersom? I reckon there be many Piersom's round these parts. It's a right good handle.”
“I said Piersom des Muliers!” the man practically shouted.

George, although stooped with age, was still taller than the spokesman, and he glowered down at him. “What you think yer doing, disturbing our peaceful little town like this?”
“George,” a neighbour called warningly. “That the Inquisitor you are talking to.”
“Inquisitor? What need we of--”
The spokesman clenched his fists. “If you warn't an old man and hoary of head, I'd lay you flat, or better yet, lay you out on the racks. Now tell me where is Piersom des Muliers?”
George appeared to wilt under the onslaught. “You're askin' the wrong beorn, mann,” He shrugged. “Like ya said, I'm just an auld man and don't know about all the goin' ons in this 'ere town.”
“Foolish old mann,” one of the baliffs muttered as they turned to go.
“Aye, let's ask one o' these other neighbours.”
“Pieter! Nicholaes! ” Margaurite snatched her younger brothers by the arms. “We must hide! Quickly!” They pried open the root cellar door but before they could climb into the dark, musty stillness some men crowded into their house.
When it became evident they would get no information from the terrified children, the men turned to go to question someone else.
But where were the onlookers? They had seemingly melted away.
Except one. And those that were peering from behind ragged scraps of curtain.
Claus seemed nearly ready to burst his buttons as he strutted closer to the bailiffs and the Dean of Ronse. Now here was his chance to get some respect and shine in the sun.
“Look ye,” he called after a quick, jerky bow. “There goes the wife! See that woman with a baby straddling her hip? That's the minister's wife! Nab her while it is yet day.”
The bailiffs wasted no time brushing past the tale-bearer.

When Claudine heard the sound of pounding feet she started to run, but the babe was heavy on her arm, she tripped over a root, got up ran some more, darted down a narrow side trail and tried to conceal herself was too late. Soon she was hauled off with the infant clinging and wailing around her neck.