Susan has been getting more involved in helping out with the malnourished kids up at the hospital. For me at least it’s a complete sensory and emotional overload up there. The rooms in the pediatric service hold 31 beds. Over the past several weeks there have been a lot more than that – I think it peaked at 89. Bear in mind that every child admitted has a care-giver (usually their mother) staying with them. And if the mother is there – that means that if the admited child has a very small younger sibling that needs to stay with their mother, then they are there also. So there are at least two, sometimes three people for every admitted child. So those 89 pediatric patients really means there is probably more like 200+ people – in those 31 beds in four rooms. It’s hot. The smell is overwhelming. The sight of twins (who are actually the two surviving of a set of triplets) who are 15 months old and still weigh less than any of our kids did at birth is almost too much to take in. Yet she goes up there essentially every day – to play with kids. And when there discharged she brings them bag of dried beans, BUSOMA porridge flour, soap, and an outfit for every. It really is a meaningful as these kids often are in families that are so poor that the children are starving in the first place – which is how they ended up in our severe malnutrition ward.
It feels like there hasn’t been anything significant to mention lately – but in some ways that’s nice. So here’s a rundown of a rather uneventful past few weeks:
The kids really are thriving here in their new environment. In many ways it’s a kids dream. Free reign for you and a pack of friends running around, in a place where essentially every day is beautiful, temperatures in the mid to high-20’s, and even when it rains, it’s usually rather intense, and short. You can see your friends bedroom windows from your own – so you make up codes and signs to communicate. Gathering eggs from the chicken coup.
Their time away from school is a lot of climbing, running through gardens, playing in dirt, making up games, helping in the workshop, capture the flag, swinging, and more recently… band practice.
Lots of grasshoppers, frogs, butterflies, plus chickens and chameleons and the cat. Jonah is now the resident lawn-boy (with a brief slow-down while his broken arm was in a cast). Oh yes – Jonah broke his arm – so I guess there was that.
Easter was a great time here – we had a brunch in our garden with almost everyone who lives here in our little community – and a few guests. Our Burundian colleagues found the entire concept of Brunch quite funny (if I were them I would probably be thinking something like: “you people eat so much you are literally making up new meals”), the word itself quite humorous, and the fact that it seems like an excuse to eat sugary dessert as a meal in the middle of the day – all quite amusing. And it’s hard to argue with their perspective.
The kids put on an Easter pageant – that involved LOTS of memorization – and they did great.
There was a wedding between someone who works at the eye-clinic, and the daughter of the kids Kirundi teacher – so we went to that.
We had to go to Bujumbura to be registered (along with all foreigners) at immigration so we got a weekend of the Buja heat
Someone I used to work with at Hope Africa was here this weekend to oversee the customs paperwork for the container to arrive – and she told me that we should come back to Bujumbura, as everything is calm “only 1 or 2 grenade attacks a week….next to nothing.” Literally ‘presque rien’ was how she phrased it. It’s all in your perspective I guess. Seems there have been 3 assassination attempts in the past 24 hours down in Buja, at least two successful. A grenade in front of a church Sunday morning. One at the bus terminal the day before. Shooting in several neighbourhoods. Over 31 killed in the month of April. I think the perspective of our security committee which made the decision for our family to leave the city will not share the sentiment of ‘presque rien’.