Bakers Posted by Paul and Tania Baker on Tue, 18 Sep 2012 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

As previous readers of our blog know, I (Tania) meet with the craft ladies every Wednesday; but occasionally I bump into them on other days as well. This might be at the Tuesday clinic where our HIV clients collect their drugs and get the opportunity to talk to a counsellor or a Doctor. Or maybe in the queue outside the lab waiting to get a test to see how their CD4 count is doing. Or sometimes out in the community. When I am out for a run and hear an enthusiastic ‘Tania Gyebale’ I can be sure it is one of the ladies.

But there is one particular lady who I see nearly every day around the hospital. She is called Samyana Betty. Unlike all the other ladies, Betty has no children and was never married so she has no family to take care of or to take care of her. But if anyone in Betty’s village gets sick and ends up in Kiwoko Hospital, she is the first to volunteer to ‘attend’ them. As a result I believe Betty lives in the hospital more than she lives at home.

In all hospitals in Uganda there is no such thing as auxiliary staff, nurses only perform medical care. So when a patient is admitted to hospital they must come with someone who will look after them while they are there. This is usually a family member. That person, called an ‘attendant’, will cook the patient’s meals, wash their clothes and bed sheets, assist them on trips to the bathroom etc. If the attendant does not live near the hospital then they will sleep on the floor beside the patient sometimes on a roll up mattress or sometimes merely on a floor mat.

Every day I see Betty here, cooking food for someone, or washing someone’s bed sheets, or chatting to a weak patient. Betty just loves to look after people. In the strange world that is ‘Ugandan humour’ some of the other ladies joke that Betty is cursed because many of the patients that she looks after die in the hospital. But the truth behind this is that the reason these patients need Betty to look after them is because everyone else has given up on them. Their family and friends know they are going to die and so they stop caring, they stop wasting their time and money on a lost cause. But Betty never stops. She is Kiwoko’s answer to Hospice care ensuring that no-one she knows dies alone. I hope and pray that one day when her HIV status claims her life that those who know her will care for her the way she has for others.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
[1 John 3 v16-18]

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