Monday, March 19, 2007
Let me tell you about Petra.
I first met Petra when we arrived in the village. I did not speak her language and she does not speak spanish. At the time, we were living in a borrowed Indian house while we built our own house. My youngest was not yet walking, I had a 3 year old, a 7 year old and a 10 year old. We still had our Indian daughter with us at the time. She was 16.
Clint was busy from sun up till sundown. Getting poles from the jungle, making adobe bricks, getting leaves for the roof. I was busy teaching all the children and carrying water, doing laundry in the river, washing dishes in the river, cooking over an open fire.
All was going well, until one day, Indians began to get sick. We had over 80 cases of malaria in one month. We had no radio to call for outside help, so we were doing all the medical work ourselves.
One morning, I taught my 7 year old son his math lesson and left him to do his work sheet as I went to begin cooking . After a few minutes I went to check on how he was doing...I saw my son passed out at the table! He had been fine just 30 minutes earlier! I felt him and he was burning with fever.
He had contracted falcipurum malaria. This is a cerebral malaria which comes on fast and strong. We had a microscope to do the blood work and we had the quinine to treat it. So we began his treatment. On the third day when he was finally able to talk and walk with our help, the 3 year old also came down with malaria. Her's was vivax, though not as dangerous ,she was still very feverish and in a lot of pain. Next was our Indian daughter, she also contracted falcipurum malaria. Then...the baby! She came down with vivax.
Quinine is the most bitter pill you can imagine! Trying to get it down a one year old is a real struggle, but we managed.
We had so many sick, we began to run short of medication. We still had quinine , but no analgesics for pain and fever. I began to crush up Tylenol for babies. I remember giving my last dose to one poor toddler.
That night, I began to feel achy! Then the fever. And a terrible head ache! Sure enough, I also had malaria. I developed a bad case of strept throat as well, from working with the sick children. We had no more antibiotics and no pain reliever.
At one point I began to hallucinate. I don't remember much. I remember worrying about my children. They were still sick.
Praise the Lord, my husband and Jackie somehow were spared malaria that time. We had to wait for the scheduled flight day to go out for help and the antibiotics I needed. I sort of remember the flight, but the fever was very high.
But...what I wanted to tell you is how Petra would come everyday and hold my sick baby. I was to weak to care for the little one, and Petra took it upon herself to come each day and stay most of the day. She was the one to make sure Jayde got all of the quinine down and kept it down. She made sure we had water in the house.
I couldn't speak to her much at the time, but later, she told me how she felt that she was led to care for us and the baby. Even when we returned, all healthy, she would come and sit in on our home school classes and entertain the baby for me.
She said she wanted to help me, so that after I taught my kids, I would have the time and energy to learn her language.
WHY? So I could teach her the Bible! She did all in her power to help me to learn the language so that I could begin a ladies Bible study.
It took a few years but I did begin a ladies bible study twice a week...and I know Petra will be rewarded by God for her ministry to me and my family when we most needed it. She may not look beautiful to you, but to me....she is an angel!