by Sr. Mary Deighan
Sometimes when I am preparing for bed at night I think about the day and wonder what occupied all those hours. I know they flew by and I try to recall who came on our compound looking for help.
Early this morning Apeaver came carrying her child who suffers from sickle cell anaemia and with her were two of her older children who needed treatment for fever and cough. Apeaver was Sr. Gwen’s friend formerly. She has a husband who farms in a nearby state and five children. The youngest is the one with sickle cell. I thought when I withdrew a little from Primary Health Care that I would not be using my nursing skills as much but find that I don’t have to go further than our verandah to have a small clinic of regulars who are too poor to pay for treatment anywhere. Some are like Apeaver who treks at least 10 km to reach us. She comes monthly for medicine for her youngest child and at times with her other ones who are sick.We treat her and her children and give her rice and beans to carry home along with money for their transport.
Shortly after Apeaver left Anna Abul arrived to greet and see how the sisters were. Anna is an old lady who married but never had children – a terrible suffering here where children are so valued. She has suffered from this stigma and has been rejected for years by her neighbours. We met Anna for the first time in March and in August gave money to trade in locust beans.She seems to be on her way to self-sufficiency now and it appears that her neighbours even see her differently.
After Anna left, Moses, who had been waiting patiently, complained of pain. I have known this young man for years and have always admired him for farming cassava and paying his own school expenses. He never asked for help until he developed a kidney problem over a year ago. At that time I referred him to a local doctor who made a further referral to a teaching hospital in Jos. As his family are very poor we helped Moses with hospital expenses.He is now on a waiting list for surgery and, as he has completed secondary school, he is also waiting for examination results. In the meantime he has been employed in our Primary Health Care canteen.
I am grateful for all these people who give meaing to my life and as I drift into sleep I hear the policemen arriving on their motor bikes. I give thanks for this nightly protection which makes it possible for us to stay here in Vandeikya.