Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Africa: Gratitude

I love what Africa does to my heart...  I'm finally learning not to take so much for granted...

Last night I hugged Mackenzie good night…  she jumped back in pain and tears came to her eyes…  she was in terrible pain from her ear, it was radiating down into her jaw, but she had been trying to wait and see if it got better…  I looked at the clock and realized there was still time to take her to Urgent Care…  (In Swaziland, a mother in a similar circumstance, in a rural area, like the one I go to each year, would have had to wait till morning…most likely with nothing to help relieve her child’s pain…or her own concern about why the pain was so bad)

I got my keys to my car…  I knew I had plenty of gas, I had just used a wonderful plastic card yesterday afternoon to stop at a pump to fill it full, I didn’t even have to think about how I would get to the Urgent Care… It was a little warm outside, so I turned on the air conditioning to be sure Mackenzie was comfortable for the short 5 mile ride to Urgent Care… (In Swaziland, the mom would have to figure out a way to get to the clinic…  The  5 mile ride would most likely be a 5 mile walk (one way) for her and her sick child…  In the area we serve in, not only would there be the walk, but the fear of walking the road through the sugar cane field where dangerous men sometimes hide…  If she knew the kind pastor who could give her a ride, there would be no guarantee that he had petrol (gas) to fill his truck to take her)…

We went into a nice clean clinic, we were seen quickly by the doctor…  Sure enough, red, swollen, infected enough to have bubbles of pus…  No wonder her ear hurt so badly…  Again, I used a great little plastic card to pay and left relieved that my daughter would soon have some relief! 

We went across the parking lot to the 24 hour pharmacy and waited inside while the doctor emailed the prescription.  While we waited the oh so long (sarcasm) 15 minutes…  We distracted ourselves with looking at shades of tinted chapstick and we giggled at fun colors of polish for our toenails…  (What little I know about medical clinics in Swaziland, the mom might have waited a good portion of a day to be seen…  I have no idea if there would have been medicine, I assume so, but I know there’s no 24 hour pharmacy with chap stick and nail polish!) 

Mackenzie just got up and her ear still hurts really bad, but I know that with a few more doses of medicine, she’ll feel better soon.  What about the child whose mother can’t get him to the medical clinic?  Where does his relief come from?  What happens to his ear?)

I’ve thought before about the privilege of living in the US, but what hit me last night are all the little things I take so for granted…  Urgent Care, gas in my car, air conditioning, 24 hour pharmacies where you can giggle while you wait…  Safety getting to the clinic…  Easy access to medications for most of whatever ails us…  I could go on and on…  There is SO much we have to be thankful for in this country…  I think when I feel like complaining about anything…  I’m going to look for a blessing instead, something that I normally would take for granted…  I’m certain I won’t have to look very far!