Tuesday, December 9, 2014
The night before Thanksgiving, our tall, elegant friend, Aloys, called and asked us to come to the hospital to give his sister a blessing. She had had a stroke earlier that day and was in intensive care at a local hospital. We got there after dark, and Gary helped Aloys give his sister the blessing. She was very ill, shaking. After the blessing she seemed to recognize Aloys, which she hadn't earlier. On Friday, however, she died. She was 53 years old. It seemed to me that people don't live very long in Burundi. In fact, going to a hospital here is hazardous to the health. I looked up some facts concerning life and death in Burundi and this is what I found:
Burundi is ranked 167 out of 177 countries in life expectancy.
Life expectancy at birth for females is 51.3 years. For males, it is 48.5 years.
Infant and maternal mortality rates are among the worst in Africa.
Maternal mortality rate in 2010 was 970 deaths out of 100,000 live births.
If the baby is a boy, 70.22 of boys out of 1000 live births die.
For girl babies, there are 63.44 deaths out of every 1000 live births. For comparison sake, the number of deaths per 1000 births in the U.S. is 6. In the Scandinavian countries and Japan, it is 2.
If you are a female, the percentage of your surviving to age 65 is 47,9%.
Before I leave this topic, I wanted to mention something I found quite unusual at the morgue viewing for Aloys' sister. As we all filed past the open casket, each of us in turn was handed an aerosol can of room deodorizer and expected to squirt her on her forehead before we moved on. It was quite bizarre. It did't feel right doing it, but when in Rome….
Time to lighten the subject matter, don't you think?
Here is a picture of our newest addition to the wall of masks. The top one is our latest model:
Remember the 4 orphans? The youngest one, Anna, was baptized last week! We had contacted the older sister in Australia who is a member of the Church to get her permission to teach the gospel to her siblings. She agreed, and Anna is the first to be baptized. Anna is the little one on the front row.
Our cute sister missionaries are the "Four Amigos." When we got word that one of them was leaving to go home, the girls went out and had matching dresses made. They cried at the drop of a hat for the week prior to her departure, and the airport was awash in tears. Serving here in Bujumbura was the first time they had been out of the familiar Lubumbashi and away from the watchful eye of the mission home. First time out of the Congo or Madagascar for them all, too.