Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cathy Buckle's Weekly Letter from Zimbabwe !

BABY IN A BOX !

25th July 2009.

Dear Family and Friends,

Late in the afternoon a friend got a call on his mobile phone. The
words were garbled and broken up, the call lasting just a few seconds
before cutting off. The musukuru (grandson) is serious, come now. You
have to be a Zimbabwean perhaps to know that the word 'serious'
usually means very sick. What would be a problem, even an emergency
in the "normal" world was destined to be a nightmare in our broken
country.

Again and again my friend tried to phone for more information about
his grandson but after numerous attempts gave up. He was wasting
time. His grandson is in a rural village, it was almost dusk and he
knew he must go. A fifteen kilometre bicycle ride got him to the
village. It was completely dark when he arrived. By the light of a
candle he looked at his precious little musukuru. Teeth clenched,
face in a grimace, body curled in taut foetal position, the two year
old boy obviously needed help. He had been vomiting copiously,
shaking and arching his back and now the slightest movement caused
him to scream in pain.

The nearest clinic is 3 kilometres away. There is no transport,
private or public. No telephones. No electricity, not even any
running water to wash away the vomit. An ambulance will not come from
the nearest town, not unless you can pay cash, in advance, up front:
50 US dollars.

As gently as possible the musukuru was laid in a box which was lifted
onto the back of the bicycle and tied securely with strips of old
car-tyre inner tubing. Blankets underneath and on top of the musukuru
in the freezing cold winter darkness, the journey from hell began.
Every stone, bump and gully on the disintegrating gravel road caused
a scream of agony from the child. Words of comfort were measured
against the urgency of the journey. At the clinic at last, there was
no sign of attendance. Calling, shouting, knocking finally produced a
youngster: No nurses here, he said.

The next clinic is another 7 kilometres away. The grandparents
finally arrived, pushing their grandson in the box on the bicycle at
2 in the morning. Shivering and with frozen fingers their lifted
their precious musukuru into the hands of the nurse. They knew what
to expect and had bought a small sheet for the bed, their own
blankets, a towel and even maize meal and a small pot to make
porridge for the child. A drip went in, that's 14 US dollars, payable
immediately. An intravenous antibiotic was given, that's 12 US
dollars, payable immediately.

Two days later my friend was back in town and stone broke. The
musukuru is still in the clinic, still on a drip and still has a
problem. There are no doctors there. The nurses say that sekuru must
pay for more drugs. His cell phone is flat. He has no money, no
airtime left and back there, down the dusty pot-holed road the life
of his little grandson is in his hands.

Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Q.E. librarian said...

could you not have helped this "friend".........did you? you post this devastating story on the web, but offer the readers no hope. I dont want to read your blogs anymore.

11:27 pm  
Blogger jackaranda said...

Q.E. Librarian - I have been posting Cathy's letter now for nine years. She has been one of the few voices of Zimbabwe all this time. She is pleased I am helping her to get the news out to as many people as possible as to what has/is happening in Zimbabwe. I have over the years posted let letter to Prime Ministers, Politicains of all parties, the Pope, the Queen and Bush in America. No-one seems to want to help.
It is a truly tragic situation that has befallen this once wondefful country and its peoples
I understand how you feel and I am sorry that you no long wish to continue to read the articles I post.

12:41 pm  

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