Yesterday Fezile, Buyile, and I set off to visit Spelele. We left at 830 and, after a lot of waiting, and a long bus ride (on that dry, dusty, dirt road) we get to the stop at 11ish. As we were preparing to walk the long distance down to Spelele’s house, we were stopped by a man who identified himself as the gogo’s brother. He said that Spelele was not there, that she had been taken to the hospital in Mbabane. What we gleaned from what he was saying was that they were intending to amputate the arm above the burned off hand. We waited another hour for the bus to return to bring us back, resolved to go to Mbabane in the morning to see Spelele, certain that she was frightened and lonely. We were met this morning at the bus station in Mbabane by Brendan, a former PCV who is now helping to run the Young Heroes program for NERCHA, the governing body for HIV outreach here. Brendan is as close to a perfect young man as you could get- handsome, self-contained, intelligent, sincere- you kinda want to pinch him to see if he is real. He is so much so that you wonder, if you are cynical, if there isn't some deeper pathology ready to erupt. He was so welcomed by and integrated into his Swazi community that he was chosen by them to represent them at the annual Reed Dance, the most important ceremony in the country, just a couple months after he arrived in country last year.
Anyway, Brendan went with us and we found Spelele on the children’s ward. She hadn’t had surgery yet and we learned from her aunt (the gogo wasn’t there) that they weren’t amputating. Instead, they are going to try to remove the significant scar tissue that is preventing her from extending her elbows. We also learned that the doctors think that beneath the scar tissue covering the stub of her missing hand, they can detect finger movement. It seems they think at least some of the fingers may be buried beneath the mound of scar and that they can sense movement. Swazi hospitals are not equipped to deal with that type of surgery but they may be able to refer her to someone in South Africa who can help. The auntie tells me there is simply no way the family can afford that. I tell her all she needs to do is find out the details and get Spelele there, and I believe the rest can be taken care of. How exciting and how timely. If this had come a month later, I’d be gone and her hope with me. If there’s anything we can do to make this happen, then it will happen. We saw Spelele smile and heard her talk for the first time. Some days are altogether good to be here.
Life expectancy 10/14/
Swaziland has recently achieved a new distinction- the lowest life expectancy in the world, now 32.62 years of age.
Free my soul 10/29/06
And so it ends 11/7/06
If you get this image,stay with me.
As I start on my new journey, I am leaving this site which highlights my volunteer experience with HIV outreach work in Africa. I will travel on through west Africa, Egypt, and India and will find a new blog site to describe my journey. I wanted to leave this as is. I will be posting my new home when I find it. These journal entries will be included in a book currently being edited by a couple RPCVs and will include the experiences of a number of PCVs in Swaziland. I will post more about that as time goes by.