Had to be up early this morning to meet Augustino and activista ladies from the church to walk for what seemed like 15 miles, going from house to house to visit people who are apart of Project Life. The people in the program are sick or dying, so there are a group of women (activistas) that go every morning and visit these people and pray with them and help meet any needs they might have. Most of the people we met with weren't super sick. Everyone was very nice and welcoming and offered us food. There was one woman that was HIV positive and had been battling tuberculosis for months. She had a head wrap on and took it off for us to see cantaloupe sized masses on each side of her neck. My hypochondria started to set in a little at this point.
We grabbed the soup and went to the hospital. There is two buildings next to one another, children and adults. Each building has 4 rooms with 6 beds per room. It was dirty and smelled like the worst nursing home you've ever been in. The mattresses were stained and there were little mosquito nets covering each bed. There were only 4 kids admitted there today, 2 of which were just a little sick, 2 that probably won't make it. The patients aren't given hospital gowns so everyone is in their own clothing that they showed up in. I never saw a doctor or nurse.
In the adult building, there were probably 20 people or so. A few of which would not make it out of there alive, several others who probably had malaria. Pastor Augustino would talk with each person and find out what was wrong with them. Since there aren't accurate ways to diagnose people, they all just said they were very sick. He would read a passage from the bible and pray over them and then we would serve them and their family members soup, as food is not provided here either.
I have never felt the need for a hot shower more than I did after leaving the hospital today. Project Life is a wonderful ministry....just not the ministry for a hypochondriac.
We came back to the farm house and Natalia had cooked butternut squash, coconut rice and fried chicken. I wish I could bring her home with me. My poor kids never get good food like this.
This afternoon Manuel picked me, Christa and Afonso up and we headed to one of the families who are waiting to get a Green Door home. One of my ideas for Green Door is to have a video interview of each family. That way I can take those videos to people I know and hopefully get lots of sponsors. So Manuel wanted me to do one of the interviews so he would know what I'm looking for.
We pulled up to Pedro Sande's mud hut, one of the worst I've seen here. He is older and disabled, was sitting on the ground in front of his home. His wife, Lucia, was with him and several of their family members. Pedro and Lucia have been married for 57 years, he said that Lucia was his greatest gift from the Lord. They had 10 children, 5 of which had died and now they care for several grandchildren. I asked him what their biggest hardship was and he said hunger, never knowing when his next meal would be. I asked him what the biggest challenges were living in his home. He said that there were always repairs that needed to be made, and he couldn't keep up with it anymore. That the mosquitoes were bad, malaria is the number one killer here. Then he said something that took my breath away. He explained that during rainy season, which is coming up, a lot of times their homes flood and they have to sleep standing up....but he can't stand up.
I asked him if there was anything he'd like to say to me? He asked what my name was and couldn't pronounce it, nobody can here. I told him he could call me whatever he wanted, so he said he'd call me Ruth...my Nana's name. That's when I promised Pedro a house and he started singing hallelujah and waving his hands in the air. Manuel told me I couldn't promise people here things. I will not be able to sleep until Pedro and Lucia are resting comfortably in a Green Door home. To think there are thousands of other stories like his. So much work to be done here, so much work.