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.