I continue to be drawn to the blog site paradoxuganda written by Doctors Scott and Jennifer Myhre. Here are two entries that compel me to see the news of an epidemic as more than cold abstract statistics. When I read her words, this story of ebola is no longer vague and distant–I am drawn in to pray and be involved in heart and mind–the words become flesh. I am struck again by the power of the word–they communicate more than information– behind and underneath what is written you can sense love and compassion–pain and sorrow–weeping and persevering. It is a Christmas story.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
“Scott was speaking today to one of the World Health Organization visitors who related information from the MSF doctors who cared for Jonah at the end. It was spine-tingling to hear Jonah speak from beyond the veil….
Tuesday afternoon, he was still walking and talking, and said to them “I have seen these patients die, and I know that I am dying”. I don’t think they believed him, and I wonder now if that is why he was determined to call us though his efforts were not successful. Moments before he died he said “I am going to die now. And I pray that no one should ever have to die of this disease again.”
Right to his last moment he was thinking like the compassionate doctor he was, looking beyond himself to others.
Tomorrow his body will arrive, having been carefully decontaminated (as far as possible) and enclosed. His family was still en route when I last talked to them a couple of hours ago. Whenever we speak of him again to someone who cared about him, the tears come freely. We have seen some men here cry like we never saw men cry before. I think Jonah was perceived as a resource, a gift, to the whole district, everyone feels bereaved and robbed of their man, their doctor, the one they could trust and count on. When we see his family, we will have the complication that they are now contacts too like we are, and we should not be touching each other. So we have to go to the burial of our dear friend without any hugging, comfort his wife and children without touch. That feels harsh.
My mind keeps reaching back to some words of the Psalms which I can’t place, though a thousand have fallen at my side, yet I will trust.
We feel the falling of Jonah so acutely, we were both on the same front line of the same battle fighting side by side, yet he went down and we have not.
I know I can’t trust in anything other than God . . . Certainly not in not dying, which is not guaranteed, as Jonah shows. If we make it through this then what about the next tragedy?
Safety is not the basis of trust. Instead our trust needs to be in God, inexplicable God, dangerous God, other-than-us God, who does not order this world according to our will, but knows more than we do and loves more deeply.”
Posted by DrsMyhre at 11:08 AM
Monday, December 03, 2007
“This afternoon seven of the eight boys who are my kids’ close friends hung out playing cards. I tried to explain ebola, most of these boys are CSB students whom we sponsor. They asked good questions, but one got me thinking: Is this disease only in Africa, or is it in other parts of the world? I felt disloyal, or sad, to admit that all the major outbreaks had occurred relatively close (on a global scale) to where we now sit, in eastern Congo, southern Sudan, northern Uganda. Almost the only time the filovirus has been found elsewhere was when it was inadvertently transported out in monkeys from Uganda. I could see the world-wide image of Africa, the continent of disease, being reinforced once again. And it is not just a matter of how uninformed or prejudiced westerners view Africa, the assumptions are so powerful they trickle down into the minds of these boys. It seems unfair that Bundibugyo only gets the five minutes of world attention because of yet another disease.”
Posted by DrsMyhre at 7:54 AM