What is the meaning of life to you? When you feel hopeless, lost, insecure, what do you cling to?
I see so many brand new lives start, and I see so many little lives fighting to survive.
My heart is heavy, but my life is full. My tears are many, but my joy always comes in the morning.
My fight is for life, and I will always, always fight.
A Maasai grandmother came to me at an airstrip with her grandchild, this beautiful baby, severely malnourished, fighting to live. This little one is three-years old, and looks like she is one and a half. She cannot keep her head up on her own for very long, and does not cry.
Why, why doesn't she cry?? I stood there looking at this little one and wanted to cry for her--I stood there thinking, she will die, we have to do something. We give her food and medicine and she starts to eat...why then does the grandmother say the child won't eat? We give instructions on how to care for this baby girl, and say we will be back soon.
A few weeks later, I'm standing by the airplane when the doctor calls me over and says, "Elsa, look at the child, she is bad."
I look at this baby, legs so swollen, stomach so extended, Lord, what do I do? The doctor tells me to look closer at the legs--they have cut the baby. The grandmother decided to use tribal medicine, twice on each knee and ankle, she cut the little one to, "let the water out". This precious baby girl, starving and so weak stares at me with bleak eyes.
I try to hold myself together...why have they not taken the baby to the hospital? Why are they not feeding her?
I'm angry, frustrated, and overwhelmed by the responsibility of what to do next--I tell them that I need to take her to the hospital. I will fly her to get help. They say, "no, we don't have money." That's ok, I tell them, I will take care of it. They tell me, "no, she cannot go unless the father agrees, and the father is away." The aunt says, "I am afraid of the airplane, and I will not go." I stand there feeling completely hopeless, and confused as to why this baby girls life is of no value to them.
Once more I say to them, the child will die if you do not go in the airplane.
The Maasai women stand under the wing talking, finally, an elder woman from the tribe says to the aunt of the child, “if she dies, you die as well. Go with the plane.”
Just like that, the child has a chance at life.
See, baby Mary, is a twin. She was probably the weaker of the two, and the mother decided to keep one and give Mary to her grandmother. She has been holding on to life when they were all just waiting for her to die.
Later that day we gave Mary lunch, a little bit of pasta salad and a carrot. As I watched, she ate, and ate, and sitting there with a carrot in her tiny hand--I thought, she will be ok. We will win this battle.
Mary is currently at the hospital, the doctor’s tell me that the swelling in her legs is down, and that she is doing well. I get to visit her on Sunday morning, and continue to pray for her little life. I don’t know her future, but I will do my best to give her one.
I cling to the fact that there is a future and hope. There are so many “why’s” in life, and sometimes I think that by the time I die my heart will have been broken so many times God will have to patch it all back together again to make me new.
We all fight..we fight for something, for someone, for ourselves.
We fight for the future, and the next generations...
We fight for life.