The second visit was to the home of a boy we will call Peter. Peter is primary school at New Life. His home is in a village close to Abby’s and his home is of similar structure. His family’s story, however is heartbreaking.
When we were piling into the van to go to Peter’s, I asked the boy how many siblings he had. He said four, “two twins, they died but I still love them. Now it is me and my sister.” His simple, poignant words left me speechless.
We arrived at his house to find two ladies making arrangements for us to sit. One was healthy, but the other was clearly suffering. She could not stop coughing. “My mother is sick.” Peter explained to us.
“For how long?”
“My goodness, what is she sick with?”
Peter relayed the question to his mother, something that struck me as odd because I would assume he’d know the answer.
“A cough…chest pains.”
A murmur erupted in the group as we all tried to diagnose a seven years of chest pains.
The visit was short because the sun made Peter’s mother weak. We learned that her husband had died in 2005, and her sister had lived with her since then to offer her support and company. Peter’s younger sister was at school during our visit.
|Peter, his aunt, and his mother receive gifts|
On the ride home, I hypothesized out loud to the New Life administrator who sat beside me. I suggested that she had developed a strain of TB that had become resistant to the medicine she was taking. I had read about cases like this in Chile and Haiti. She politely rejected my hypothesis by saying, “She is infected.” When I didn’t understand, she clarified, “HIV positive.”
|Prayer over Peter's Mama|
“Many times people feel uncomfortable sharing this information, so they will instead say that they are sick with whichever symptoms they are suffering from at the moment.” That was why Peter asked his mother what to say, he didn't know how much she wanted to share.
The twins, she believed, died from “infection” and the younger sister was exposed as well. Peter is the only family member who is not a ticking time bomb.