I hesitate to write. Or post pictures. (If you haven't seen @barbiesavior, you should look; it's hard not to feel ashamed.) Because I don't know much. I haven't lived here long. There are no easy answers, and I am not the answer.
One day last week we woke to another morning with no water. We were coming off a stomach bug, so the lack of water was irritating. We had to leave the kids behind and head off to the hospital for a visit.
Along with a missionary who has been here for years and a paediatrician, we went to the Labor and Maternity Ward, the NICU, and a step-down unit for NICU babies. It was beyond what I could have imagined. I have worked in hospitals, I have seen and handled death, but the bodies piled on a table were heart-breaking. I stood between my husband (the nurse) and the doctor as we looked at 6 babies right in front of us with rows and rows of cribs behind them, full of premature babies. One baby did not appear to be alive, the doctor was sure three were septic, and all were dehydrated. The doctor estimated that maybe 5 or 6 of the 60-some babies we were looking at might survive.
It would have been easy to walk away disgusted. But there were nurses there, trying their best. There were doctors there who cared despite the overwhelming task in front of them. The utter lack of equipment and sanitation did not make me feel superior but devastated. There is no easy way to fix this problem. I can't fix it. I am not the answer.
Our day continued to be hard. We had a car accident (nobody was injured, but since we were the foreigners, we paid after three hours of wrangling and being rescued by a friend who picked up our children while we were not allowed to leave the site), the police pulled us over (we were innocent, and when I pointed that out and refused to comply with their demand to pay a fine without a written ticket and receipt, they finally just told us to drive away), and we returned home to make a quick supper before bed to find we had no water...still.
I was tired. I could have felt guilty for missing running water while I had watched children suffer. But I didn't. It is ALL hard. But Andy and I looked at each other and said, "This is home. This is where we want to be."
The whole week we also had sewage seeping out of a manhole in our yard. The stench pervaded everything. But one morning, as I left for a run, I noticed the smell was gone. Instead, I could smell only the burning trash from the other side of the road.
Burning trash stinks (and is technically illegal in city limits). But it stinks less than sewage.
And, the smoke made the sunlight beautiful.
I still don't understand it all. Or exactly what we are doing here. It is easy to look at the problems around us, but there is no easy solution. Navigating the balance between helping where we can, meeting needs we see, and walking in humility and grace is more challenging than I ever imagined.
And it is too simplistic to just say, "people need Jesus." Because it is true. But those babies will die lonely, painful deaths before they get Jesus.
And injustice will continue to pursue me every time I get in the vehicle.
And our broken bodies will be filthy with disease and dirt.
And the sewage of man will spill over.
Yet. "Yet I am confident I will see the Lord's goodness while I am here in the land of the living." (Psalm 27:13)
His kingdom will come!
Bodies will be healed, justice will rain down, Jesus will redeem. Even the ugly things can be beautiful.
On earth as it is in heaven. For this I pray. For this I wait. For this I work.