I spent quite a bit of time today in Post-Op. It's the most beautiful thing to experience. Jo spoke to us a few days ago about how in the DRC it's mostly the mothers who bring their children to screening. Here, the people arrive in big families. -The dad's as interested and heartfelt as the mothers. Both parents stay, play, console. And today, after the first day of surgery, there was a huge bunch of people coming to visit the patients from yesterday. Three, four, five family members per patient! When we walked into the hospital this morning, there were crowds outside the hospital, queues outside the rooms, behind the doors..
People here seem to understand the need for order, and trust in the instructions from the team. Besides the occasional crying baby, things here seem to be calm. (I didn't realise how much the panic and distress affected me until I was in pre-op mixing antibiotics and I felt relieved by the quiet. It's exhausting, if only subsconciously, wanting to be a source of calm amongst the chaos during the long days we have.)
I've seen some of the most beautiful women here. They were bright colours, and interesting textures. They smile and almost exude friendliness.
Nadia and I have discussed how amazing it would be to follow families home, and see as they go back to their villages. It would be even more amazing to travel to the mission site with the family, and go through screening and the operation experience with them.. Maybe someday! -If I'm ever fluent in French..
This is Florence and her daughter, Valimbatavaka, who is three years old. Whenever I saw them during screening, she would smile at me. With grateful, friendly eyes, completely trusting of me. -That I would return with her bottle refilled, that I wouldn't keep my flash too close to her daughter's face, that we would do our best to help their family; as I was completely trusting of her. With my belongings, and my heart. She laughed as I attempted to compliment her in Malagasy. "Tsara enao" -You are beautiful. Our smiple conversations confirmed with my broken french, -the few phrasses I remember from highschool lessons.
I would have loved to have a translator to myself. To communicate.. not necessarily more easily, but more deeply. To understand their fears, their excitement, their background, their seemingly boundless love.
Some things you can't express in words, though. Some things only your eyes sing, only your heart shines. And those are the things I've been blessed enough to experience here. -A capacity for love I never knew possible. Love for their children, love shown towards me, the kindness in their being.