Monday afternoon I went with two caregivers to visit a mother and daughter and give them BGR buckets. As soon as we got to the house I recognized the young girl from a previous visit last July(see blog story on July 20th, 2012 if interested). I remembered this young girl because even a year ago I felt so bad for her and the family situation. This young girl had a stroke and is now paralyzed on the right side and can no longer talk. This also make it hard on her to care for her 3 children and do simple tasks like cook and clean. On top of all these problems she is HIV positive. She has a beautiful smile even though things seem grim.
The caregiver picked her up and carried her into the house so we could give her a BGR bucket. As we entered the small house it was very dark so it took my eyes a bit of time to adjust. I turned to talk to the caregiver and noticed a very frail woman lying on the bed. It was Regina the young girls mother who has been taking care of this girl and her kids since the stroke. Now, she lay in the bed, HIV positive, dehydrated, obviously hungry, and non responsive. Who was cooking for this family? Who was caring for them? The answer I discovered was that this caregiver would come from time to time to help them and bring a little food if she had it but that was it. There was no other family. The neighbors didn't help either. "Why Lord?" I asked myself. How can you know someone who is suffering like this and do nothing? They told me the neighbors don't have much either so they are not able to help. This is their reality!
Regina and her caregiver
Itai explained the things in the bucket to the daughter while I brought out the other things from the other bucket for Regina. I held them out for her to see but there was no response. She just layed there staring out into space. I felt so helpless! What could I do? When we finished giving the BGR buckets I asked if I could pray for them. I got on my knees between the mother and daughter and held their hands and prayed for them. Regina's hand was so cold and lifeless when I held it and I even thought she may have died but when I started to pray she closed her eyes.
We walked outside and I immediately started tearing up. What could we do? I felt so helpless. Realistically, I knew I couldn't go there every day and feed them but I knew I had to do something. I gave the caregiver enough money to feed them for a week. As we were leaving I couldn't help but think about these two women. Even into the night I couldn't get them out of mind and I just continued to pray. I had the hardest time trying to go to sleep because all I kept seeing in my mind was the look on Regina's face and the feel of her cold hand.
The next morning the caregiver called and told me that she had bad news. Regina had passed away during the night.