By Elisa Morgan
I remember receiving the scratch on my hip sometime around third grade (can’t remember exactly.) My mother wouldn’t allow the test to be done on my arm as it might cause a scar and she wanted my precious skin that would be visible to others to be pure and unmarked. (What would she have done in today’s era of tattoos and piercings? OH MY!) I was mortified. The BIG deal was comparing TB test scars with classmates as to how big, where and how puffy or not. I couldn’t show mine and I resented my mother’s decision.
Today in the United States such tests are a thing of the past as the disease has basically been eliminated. But not elsewhere.
Around the world, nearly 2 million people die of Tuberculosis every year. That’s 200 an hour. TB is the most common cause of death for people with HIV and is among the leading causes of death in women and children and Kenya is one of the countries hardest hit.
Our ONEMom trip today took us to the Nyanza province where there is more TB than anywhere else in the country. We visited patients who were part of a program providing a 6 month regiment of daily treatment provided by an in-home visiting TB coordinator.
My visit specifically took me to see Baby Hope who had been so sick that one of the community had told her mother, Loviance to take the baby home to her village to die. Loviance was sick as well and lived in a slum community. Assigned to a TB coordinator, Baby Hope was diagnosed with TB, as was Loviance, and the coordinator arranged to provide the daily treatment. When we entered their hut, mother and child presented as a beautiful, healthy, glowing family. We listened to her story and marveled at the change and the journey of such discipline that had taken them away from Loviance’s work but had brought about healing.
Unconsciously, I fingered the necklace on my neck, I’d chosen carefully to wear on the trip. My daughter had made it for me after the death of her new baby – a heart and the simple word HOPE. On the plane to Kenya I sensed God prompting me to be ready to give it away once there. Really? But I sensed a peace that it would continue its hope-giving journey there and I’d asked him to show me who. That thought had left my mind when a ONE worker with me suddenly remarked, “Doesn’t your necklace say HOPE?” It wasn’t until that moment that I made the connection. I laughed and realized the necklace was for Baby Hope and I pulled it off my neck and presented it to Loviance.
Hmmm. I’m grateful for the ONE worker – a faithful partner with so many efforts to relieve the suffering of preventable disease. I’m full of HOPE knowing that Hope and Loviance are alive and well. And I don’t give a rip about the TB scar on my hip.
Daily Action: Today the bloggers are meeting with women entrepreneurs in Karen, Kenya who are leading in building their communities' economies and providing opportunities to others. Check out ONE's report "Africa's Future is Female" to learn more about how women are leading a revolution on the continent: http://one.org/c/international/hottopic/3806/?rc=onemompartner. Then, using hashtag #ONEMoms tell us (@ONECampaign) one thing that surprised you. Or leave a comment on our Facebook page (http://facebook.com/ONE)