Vulnerability is an emotion I am not that accustomed to, but I got a fresh taste recently.
It started off as just a wicked bad sore throat and then developed into something way less fun. I had zero energy and could barely function. I spent 6 days total in bed with poor Barry waiting on me and looking after the guesthouse by himself. He is so kind and was so determined not to let me get out of bed that he even gave me a bell at one point so that I could summon him when ever I liked. (now that is love for sure) I was as sick as I can ever remember being (even sicker than when I was in India for those that can remember that fun trip). Now I am recovered, I can see I wasnt at any risk of dying, but that didnt make me feel any less vulnerable at the time.
I guess its because we live in Haiti and I couldn't just pop down to my local doctor and get checked. I guess it made me remember just how far from home we are. But mainly I think I felt vulnerable because God was trying to teach me something valuable, give me a window into how it feels to live in a third world country where health care for the most part doesn't exist.
My lowest point for sure was sitting against the fence of the nearby Doctors Without Borders compound hoping the french of the guest that took me there was good enough to get us in the gate. Hoping that we hadn't arrived too late in the morning and the doctors had all gone for the day. I sat there propped up against the fence as I didn't have the energy to stand anymore, just hoping and praying that they would let us in.
Eventually they let us in and a sweet Belgian girl showed us to a room downstairs where we could wait for someone to come. I don't know why they let us in. Was it because we where white. Or because I looked so bad, I don't know the answer but I was relieved. They checked me over and gave me a malaria test just in case (it was negative). The lady told me that it was probably not going to make any difference which antibiotic that she gave me as it was probably not going to work. Instead she told me that I would probably be sick for 8 - 10 days then get better. Cheery prognosis I thought. She gave me a broad spectrum antibiotic just in case it helped and sent me on my way.
So what did I learn? Well I learnt that being sick in Haiti leaves you vulnerable and afraid. Even though I had caring friends just a phone call away and a husband caring for my every need. I felt alone and I felt I had no options. I learnt that not having choices really sucks.
Even though I knew the blessing that health care is I didn't fully appreciate it till now. I will never ever complain about health care in Australia again and anyone that knows our story knows that's not easy for me to say, because our health system is less than perfect.
It breaks my heart thinking of all of the men, women and children lying in their tents or shacks around Haiti tonight that have no one they can call. They are gravely sick and they have been turned away at the gate and nobody is taking care of their needs. No health system, No medicine, No choices. There loved ones can only look at them and pray they make it through the night.
I got a glimpse into this reality but I know I don't have the ability to fully appreciate it. It was a dark feeling knowing there is nothing I can do to fix the heath system here, I am not a doctor, I am not medical in any way. What was this lesson for?
Then a glimmer of HOPE was cast in my direction. One of the ladies that worked for us at the guesthouse told me yesterday she dreams of finishing high school and going to college to become a doctor. How cool is that. She has been trying to get in to a national school as she doesn't have the money to pay to go to school but she hasn't got a place yet. Barry and I talked about it tonight and we are going to use some of the money raised before we left to help her go to school. Help her become the doctor she wants to be and help her, help her people. So excited for her.
I know its just a drop in a very large ocean but its a drop none the less.