© 2015 Kilimanjaro Children's Fund. All rights reserved.
Love in the Time of Covid
America's response to the current pandemic will be one of many that will need to undergo a difficult post mortem analysis when this is all over. I do not anticipate that our country will be in the ''bottom billion'' of countries, but we certainly will not score so high that we will make the grade of more successful countries like New Zealand. At least we have responded! In Africa, Tanzania continues its game of ''there is nothing to see here''. The president does not espouse taking any measures although he himself has hidden away in his village while things are falling apart. He continues to insist that the virus is made by Satan and cannot survive in churches hence he still wants everybody to go to churches together to pray for the country since they are safe there. From what I can gather from the news, this orientation leaves the substantial Muslim population in a quandary. Does the mosque count as a church? I have seen no good answer to this question. All of this drama on the international stage would be like watching a bad movie except for the fact that the 60+ children we take care of are all trapped in this macabre scene.
Schools were all closed last month and our children attending schools in Kenya have joined all of our students in private schools in Tanzania and returned home to the Moshi area. To handle this crisis we are working with relatives of many of the children and helping them care for them during this time of difficulty. In many cases it is actually our ''children'' who are caring for these relatives since we provide food and assistance to the children which helps their families many of whom have no steady source of income. How ironic that the ''children that no relatives wanted'' when they were young have become ''valuable commodities'' for survival. We also rent several places where children stay and these are being managed by Lucy and the older children many of whom are now young adults.
The school year ended abruptly and Tanzania is still struggling with how to proceed. We suspect that all of the money we paid for the school semester that never completed is lost. The government recently told everyone to prepare to return to school next week. This seems an overly optimistic event given the rising sickness and death rate that is gradually overwhelming a medical system absolutely incapable of dealing with what is currently happening. The problems in their health care system are monstrous. They do not have the ability to provide oxygen supplementation to those who might need it. Ventilator care is only a concept. And isolation is presently an impossibility. To receive food each day while you are hospitalized you must rely on having your family members purchase it and bring it to you.
Hospitals and clinics have become places to contract the virus. We have advised our children to stay home and avoid them unless they have some life threatening event happening. Our 3rd year Ob-Gyn resident confirms this approach and he has become the primary contact for all of our children if they have a medical problem. We have them call him and if he thinks they need to be seen he makes arrangements with doctor friends of his to do so quietly and away from the danger zones.
To date all of our children are well and have had no problems. We hope to keep it that way while we wait for the dust to settle on this unprecedented global event. We hope this ''holding pattern'' will become forward progress again by the end of the summer. That might be overly optimistic, but what else is one to do in this time of uncertainty?
Shannon has given me some photographs from her most recent visit to Africa in January and I will post some of those.