SwaziCompanions of Iowa

Saturday, October 15, 2011

How far would you walk?

Throughout our clinic on Wednesday, October 5th, we saw a constant stream of patients. Mainly adults from the community and teachers from the school where the clinic was set. But October 5th will always remain in my mind.....Sabusiswa (Stevie Shively) SiSwati for "blessed"

Each time I peeked out the door of our operatory (head-mistresses office) to the "waiting room," which was a line of about a dozen chairs set outdoors down to the next classroom, there were people patiently waiting. The last couple of hours of the afternoon, I checked to see that we were almost through the line, then I would look again and the chairs would be full! As we finished what we thought would be our very last patient, there appeared a little girl, eleven years old whom I will NEVER forget. Fr. Gregory (priest in charge of several churches in his parish in the south) had announced a week or so ago to those in the congregation that our oral health clinic was coming. The gogo (grannie) of a young girl learned this through a friend and shared with her granddaughter. Nolwazi arrived at the mission clinic site early that Wednesday morning. She checked in with our nurse, Kendra and interpreter Manla. She learned that the "Minister of Health" of Swaziland required all children to have signed permission forms to be seen in the mission clinic. This may have discouraged some, especially a child, but not Nolwazi! Fr. Carl and Fr. Gregory heared her story and gave her a ride to a bus stop where she caught a bus to get closer to her home. She walked the rest of the way to her home where her gogo signed her permission form, then she walked back to the bus stop to patiently wait for Fr. Carl and Gregory to return from their other mission they were completing. They returned to the Mpandesane Anglican School where Dr. Terry removed decay, restored several teeth, and she was then referred to the Swazi hygienists (from the government clinic) who extracted several teeth for her. She planned to walk back to the bus stop, but we gave her a ride at the end of our day. We pray for Nolwazi, that she will have many opprtunities to develop her strong will and indomitable spirit! Nkulunkulu agubusise, Nolwazi...(God bless you, Nolwazi)


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