Ubuntu

Angel is having another surgery on Friday the 20th at 7:30 am. Her left eyelid is still not doing what it is suppose to do and there is a 1″ spot on her skull that has not accepted the newest graft. Head and eyelids continue to be the major concern. Everything else is on hold until those areas are successfully completed.

There is some other news that is fun to think about. The doctors have told Pamela that once the skull has skin in place, they will attempt to graft in some of Angel’s own hair. For Pamela that is very exciting. She has worried about how a child would feel about not having hair and it seems that Angel may in fact be able to grow her own.

There is however a growing reality for Pamela that this process is long and complicated and life in the Burn Center is not easy. For example, Pamela is a very social person and she comes from a culture that values being community far more than it values being an individual. So to wait for a surgery to be over by herself or to face a day alone with all of its twists and turns is agonizing for Pamela. She is, like most Kenyasn, relationally based and very unsure of herself when she feels alone. This means that she is very grateful for each and every friend that has embraced her on this journey because she is simply out of sync without people sharing the experience with her.

There is a Swahili word that encompasses this feeling for Africans and it is “ubuntu”. It means “I am because we are.” There is no life for Kenyans without the “we”. Thank you for being Pamela’s and Angel’s ‘we’.

All of this became very clear to me when Pamela was given two new roommates who could not speak Eanglish and who did not seem willing to try to communicate with Pamela in any way. Pamela became most upset. She did not understand how she could share a room with women who did not want to talk to her. She agonized for days about it and finally relied on prayer to solve the problem. After two days and many attempts by Pamela, the wall cracked and there was some exchanges. Now I am told they laughed a lot last night as Pamela took their photos with the camera Scott Brown gave her. Thank you, Scott, for the gift that allowed for these fragile friendships to grow.

The other comment that Pamela made today was that Angel is acting like a “real” baby now. She is sitting up more and more on her own, she is grasping things with her hand, she is making many noises, and is even attempting to roll over (far more difficult with only one hand). This is largely due to the daily attentive care from the occupational therapist, Christine. Pamela is very grateful for all that she is learning from Christine about child development and growth. Learning about being a parent is a very real blessing for Pamela and Pamela loves learning.

Most importantly, Angel is thriving here inspite of the traumas that come with this process. She weighs 14 lbs and looks ‘chubby’ (she has finally stopped biting her mother when she nurses). The areas where skin has been removed for grafting purposes (thighs and neck) has healed but will tomorrow be removed again. There are constant tubes and monitors and tub days where skin is examined and wounds are probed. The days are often long and tedious. Pamela is living in unfamiliar territory, yet her commitment to provide Angel with a full life is unwavering. The bond between this mother and this child is deeply interwoven into their souls and God blesses them every day with the joys of love and hope.

May each of us know those same joys in the living of our days, and may we continue to pray for this child and her mother.

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2 thoughts on “Ubuntu

  1. Jordie Chalupnik

    I have been blessed today while sitting with Pamela during Angel’s surgery this morning. We visited the entire 2 1/2 hours then saw Angel in ICU. Angel was tired and I am sure hurting some and she was letting us know this! Once Pamela was able to pick her up and hold her, Angel was so peaceful. The voice and touch of a Mom can not be replaced. Praise God for a good outcome.
    Jordie

    Reply

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