We closed on our house today. After returning from Africa, I had one day off and then 5 days in a row at work, then a two day garage sale, and the daunting task of moving after living in the same house for 13 years. I was quite disappointed the google does not list moving in the top ten most stressful events in life…number one was death of a spouse. Does it count that we didn’t kill each other during a move, but thought about it a few times? These chain of events were almost too much. I know I’m the one who chose to move, work and go to Africa, write a book…or was it God? Even during the chaos, I began to see God’s timing, even though I still made many foolish choices which made the transition harder.
Since we are living in a rental with no garage, one of the great things about this move is we got rid of stuff, but we still had to get a storage unit at the last minute. Yesterday Mike wanted to take me and show me where and how to use the storage unit, he made me write down the instructions in my phone with all the entry codes and gave me a key to the lock. As I was standing in the air conditioned hallway looking at our 10 by 10 storage unit my heart and mind went quickly back to Africa. This storage unit, which held mostly my Christmas decorations, memorabilia, washer and dryer , boxes from the move….was much nicer and bigger than the hut where Caroline lives in a village outside a town called Migori in Kenya, East Africa. Caroline was the first widow that Take Heart “helped in her distress.” After returning from Africa in October 2012, I had to do something. While I was there, a widow with 5 children hung herself in the middle of the night. I heard the screams and saw the eyes of her children the following day. I told the local pastor go and find me the most desperate widow you know, because we want to help her so she doesn’t feel the only choice is to kill herself. He found Caroline…who is HIV +, had five children and was 7 months pregnant with number 6. She had been promised provision by men, but they just used her and once she was pregnant they left. She was mistreated by her family.
We started simply by getting Caroline prenatal care, food, and paying for her kids to go to school. Caroline went into labor and the baby was breech – the mid wife could do nothing. Pastor Joshua called me and I told him to take her to the hospital – he said there is no money. Just take her…. I’ll pay for it…please. Even though I had never met her, I loved her deeply and had to help. Pastor Joshua got her a car (there are none in this village) and drove her to closest hospital where they had to wait until morning for a surgeon to come in to do a c-section. During the wait, Caroline hemorrhaged – the surgeon came just in time deliver the baby and do a hysterectomy. However she had lost so much blood that she was unstable.
At this district hospital there was no blood to be given. Pastor Joshua then got another car to take her 2 more hours where she received 12 units of blood and stayed for 2 weeks. The baby boy weighed over 8 pounds and Caroline was weak but alive. The cost for two lives was $550.
One of my reasons for so wanting to return to Africa was to meet Caroline and her family. Foolishly, before leaving, I said out loud that I wanted to spend 24 hours and live Caroline’s life while I was on this trip. I wanted to eat and sleep and work like a widow in Africa. Well, it’s a good thing I set that goal before leaving, because once I got there and saw the “hut” and smelled the odors and with no electricity or bathrooms was wondering if I would make it even 2 hours. All of the women with me told me that they would not think any less of me if I backed out. However, Pastor Joshua asked me every day what day I was going to stay with a widow….and I said “What widow? Did I say I wanted to spend 24 hours in the life of a widow?” Too much reality tv….to be continued.