I had more time today to think than I do on a usual day. David and I had to take a quick road trip and so we had several hours in the car both yesterday and today to talk, reflect and enjoy time together. Yesterday was full of talking about us and today we had a few things to talk about that we wish we didn't have to even think about.
We received word today that Tia and Garrett's birth mom is very ill. We were told early last week that she had typhoid but after being medically evaluated something more is going on.
I spoke to Nicco on the phone today and after having an ultrasound (not as modern as our ultrasounds) Werke has a large growth or tumor near one of her ovaries. This will need to be surgically removed in order for her to regain her health. She will need to leave from the island and travel to Addis to get the medical help that is needed. As Nicco was sharing me the information that he had gathered my heart was breaking for this lady that I have come to love- Here are a few of my thoughts:
Who will care for her?
Who will care for her six kids while she is away from the island having surgery?
How can she have surgery in a place where medical care is so poor?(a broken arm was unbelievably scary when it came to health care)
How will she ever be able to heal in an environment where she is expected to do so much to care for the basic needs of her family?
How long has she been so very ill without the opportunity to seek health care?
How scared must she be to know that they only hope to get better is surgery yet she has no money to get the help she needs?
My thoughts then went beyond Werke's health:
How does she live every day and night in her hut which is in the photo above? This photo is from last week and as you can see it is in need of much repair. When we visited her last summer we purchased an orange tarp to cover the roof until a new roof could be constructed. Obviously this has yet to happen and so her home is open to all of the outside elements. Below you can see where she and the kids sleep. Notice the water marks on the wall and the ground where the roof is not providing protection for them.
What does it feel like to be so ill and yet lay on the ground to rest and sleep? As I saw the photo last week of her sitting on her "bed" I was reminded yet again of the contrast between her life and mine. Each night as I crawl into my nice, fluffy, king size bed I forget that so many in our world are sleeping on the hard ground. To think of her in pain trying to get comfortable on the wet dirt floor of her hut makes my heart break.
Who is caring for the kids while she is not feeling well? David and I both noticed that Tia and Garrett's siblings didn't seem very happy in the photos taken last week. They were very happy and excited when we were there yet in the photos from last week they didn't seem very joyful. I am sure that they are each very scared. Welde (the oldest brother) and their older sisters remember when their father died and so I am sure that they are worried about their mom. Tia and Garrett often say that when people got sick on the island then people would be very afaid because when people would get sick they usually would die. This must be a very real thought for the six kids who are watching their mother progressively get more ill.
Here are a few thing that I know:
I would give up my bed, pack it up and overnight it to Werke if I could. I would sleep on the ground in her place right now if I could so that she could be comfortable in my bed while she is ill. How could I not?
I know that God wants to me to go and help care for Werke if/when she agrees to have surgery. A trip to Ethiopia may come very soon for me. This is overwhelming to me yet I know that today God clearly told me to go. How could I not?
Our family will find a way to provide for all of her medical expenses. I am not sure of how we will do this but how can we not?
I am going to be proactive the next few days finding the best care for Werke in Addis. If you happen to know of a great physician in Ethiopia please let me know. I do have a contact with a Hospice nurse in Addis and I hope to be able to contact her soon.
I know that these are all rambling thoughts and not very put together but this is where I find myself and my thoughts tonight. We are trying to protect Tia and Garrett from worrying about Werke and so each night we are praying for Werke to be healthy. We just ask that you join us in praying for her and not mention this to Tia and Garrett.
Pray specifically tonight that as we sleep that Werke would be willing to travel from the island with Nicco to get the treatment that she needs in Addis. I know that it will be scary for her and the unknown is great yet she needs to receive this medical care in order to regain her health. Praise God yet again that Nicco is willing to help us love on our extended family when we can't.
Below is a photo of Werke (sitting on her bed). I hope that God will remind you of your many blessings as you look at this photo and as you pray for her and her precious family.