Yesterday, I drove a little seven-year-old girl home from the hospital where she will probably die.

I was in the Cobán hospital with a short-term mission team from Canmore, AB. We take all the teams there to pray for the kids and give gifts to the new mothers in the maternity ward. When a few of the team arrived at one bed, the parents were dressing their daughter to take her home to die. Aleyda has advanced meningitis and a tumor in her head, along with several infections. Her eyesight is failing too, as a result. A nurse commanded us to take them home as they live nearly an hour away, practically guilting us into it. I had my car along, so I was a natural choice to go, and I'm glad for it.

I took a couple men from the team with me - Walter, a programmer from Edmonton who grew up in Bolivia with his missionary parents and Trevor, a pastor from Canmore of Japanese descent. Aleyda lay in the back seat with her head on Trevor's lap. He cooled her forehead with a wet clothe the whole trip. Her body and legs where held by her parents. Her older sister stood up in front of her father in the backseat and held on to my headrest. Her father looked like a very nice man, devoted to his family, hard worker, wild hair and very defined Mayan features. They hardly spoke Spanish, in fact they spoke an indigenous language I had never heard of. I could hear Aleyda moaning in the humid air.

The drive took us north of Coban on the highway toward Chisec. We journeyed 40 km (45 minutes) over 2 mountain passes and through a thunderstorm. We took an exit for Playa Grande where the road was gravel, and then another turn onto a dirt road. I had to stop half way on this road (about 2 kms short of Aleyda's house) because my car couldn't manage the ruts. Some people had received a phone call that we were coming and they met us on this road with a hammock. Aleyda was placed in the hammock and we bid our farewells. We gave them some money as the father was at the hospital for 10 days and those 10 days went without pay.

We drove the 90 minutes back to Tactic with a quick stop in Cobán for bathrooms and ice cream. I washed my hands when I got home. Blaise was already sleeping.


saison said...

It's heart breaking to see death so close and in a child. We are so lucky to have our health. Sounds like an emotional day for you, Give Blaise a kiss for me.

Sirdar said...

That was deep!! It is so sad to see a child in such pain and suffering. Glad you were able to do something that touched the lives of her family. It won't bring her good health, but at least the family can prepare for what will be excruciating sorrow. Hope you can deal with the thoughts in your mind...and I know you probably have some. I know I would. I know everyone would. We are both so blessed to have healthy children.

littledeb_04@yahoo.ca said...

I'm glad you were there to help, Zaak. What a heart wrenching experience. It is one of the hardest things for parents when their children are sick. What a graphic account...I could envision the whole trip and what everyone was feeling.
we are raising money this month for the children's hospitol. Everytime I watch the video I cry. It's so hard to see children suffer.
love you, Mum

Zaak said...

It was heart wrenching. For me, the hardest part is knowing that I will never know if she lives or not. We've heard of many miraculous recoveries after the fact that groups have prayed at the hospital.

I'm also trying to live and think in a state of mind where this is normal. For the most of the world this is normal. How we live in North America is the strange way - cheating early death, living lives of comfort, educated. So, rather than focusing on this incident as unreal or surreal - which is how it felt - I'm trying to normalize it.

Thank you each for your thoughts.