This is a photo of the people who were baptized on Sat., the 15th. The sister missionaries are the book-ends, and the priesthood holders who performed the baptisms are also in the picture.
As we were leaving the baptismal service feeling very happy about what had just taken place, President Dieudonne approached us to tell us he had bad news. He had received a call from our new gate guard, Dieudonne, saying his little 3 yr old daughter had just died, so he needed to leave our house and go home. His wife, the children's mom, had taken 2 of their children to the hospital that morning with probable malaria. When they gave the 3 year old girl an injection of some sort, she fell dead. The other child, an 18 month old boy, still remains hospitalized in a facility 30 km from Bujumbura. We are headed there this morning (Monday) to give the little boy a blessing.
No one knows what killed the little girl. And it seems the people don't ask questions about medical issues, possibly intimidated by educated doctors, possibly not even knowing what questions to ask. The little girl died on Saturday and was buried on Sunday. No explanations, no "this is what happened."
We picked up President Dieudonne this morning and headed to the "hospital" to give our guard's son a blessing. On the way, while we were still in Bujumbura, a man wearing a military uniform and driving a truck, started following us. He finally pulled around us and stopped in front of us, motioning out the window that he wanted us to stop. We pulled along side of him, and he was very unhappy, accusing us of hitting his truck and not stopping. Luckily we had President Dieudonne in the back seat who told the man that he had not seen that happen. We then continued on our way. We were grateful to have a local resident with us who could vouch for the fact that we had never hit the man's truck. Dieudonne told us that the man had pulled us over because we were white, and he wanted us to pay him some money to make the accusation go away.
We drove through some beautiful country to get to where the child lay in the hospital bed.
We headed up into the hills to the small village where the guard's family lives. This is a picture of the "hospital" where we went to give the blessing:
This concrete house has very little that resembles a hospital inside. It is dark and grungy, no modern equipment or sterile anything. The floors and walls were dirty, discolored concrete, there was one pathetic light hanging high up on the ceiling. We found the little 18 month old boy we were seeking in a small poorly lit room. There were 3 low to the ground twin beds with a sick child in each. Five adult women were sitting on the beds in the room, holding vigil over their sick children or grandchildren. Two of the three kids were lying unusually still and motionless, including our guard's child. They had IVs in their arms. Gary anointed the boy with oil, and then President Dieudonne blessed him. After the blessing, the other 2 mothers in the room requested a blessing for their children, so Gary anointed the 2 other children and Dieudonne gave 2 more blessings. I felt such despair there, I felt so sad for mothers who had no choice but to bring their sick children here to this place, hoping against hope that their children would be healed.
When we left the hospital, our guard asked if we wanted to come see where he lived. We said we would love to visit his house, so he led us to his home. Top picture shows our guard and one of his kids on the right. Bottom picture is his house.