Most my week was spent with Christine, and it worked. We got her into a special school, and she’s going to be funded by the school itself. We got it done.
The actual process itself was tedious. Government hospitals in Zambia are a lot like those back home – least amount of facilities, lazy staff, crazy levels of bureaucracy. This particular Doctor named Gongo absolutely refused to work, no matter how much I tried to explain to him the desperate situation we were in. The psychiatric department had no facilities, the doctors there had no electricity in their cabins. There is little understanding of mental health within the medical community, so much so that they don’t even have a psychologist.
Nevertheless, we got it done. Some kind beings did help us, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I used my mzungu privilege to get some things moving faster than they would have. We didn’t have lunch and went around the entire place around half a dozen times, but we got it done. And now, Christine is going to be in a place where she will learn to sustain herself.
What we did find out in the hospital, though, shocked me. Her father died of HIV/ AIDS, her mother is suffering from HIV, and so is Christine. Her mother doesn’t look in a good shape, which made this intervention even more important than before. Without her mother or siblings, she wouldn’t be able to survive. Also, another doctor added that he suspected child abuse in her case. Her mother had sent her away to some relatives, who may have forced her into child labour and neglected her upbringing. Just the (unfortunately) usual story that millions of children share. But her fate is not going to be the same. She is going to have a life of dignity, I need to make sure of that.
The entire thing made me content. I didn’t waste my time here, and I did manage to make a small change in someone’s life. But at the same time, it makes me very sad. That she didn’t get help when she should have, and all of this wouldn’t be necessary. If she had gotten intervention, if there had been proper medical help during birth, if she wasn’t abused as a young girl. There’s so many things to fix in this world, and so little time. Christine is just one human I could reach out to, but I see ten more little kids who are in desperate need of a helping hand.
This post isn’t to brag (although I am proud I got it done, it’s not something that should be bragged about). This is just post where I think out loud. The entire ordeal made me think and stay awake on nights, wondering about a lot of things. It made me think about fate and faith, about healthcare systems and human rights. This is just a short insight into what went about in my head.