Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Some divine intervention

I think I have begun every blog entry recently with “It’s been another difficult week”. I wonder if you are getting bored with my constant tales of misery and despair.
The abdominal pain has settled somewhat but I am still unable to eat certain foods. Of most concern is my inability to tolerate coffee. I tried it on Monday and found myself rolling around in agony. I know I initially complained about the coffee here, but thanks to Courtney and my step-Dad sending me copious amounts it, I have been able to enjoy my only real “vice”. Up until now that is.
I spent all weekend in bed and had plenty of time to reflect on my time in Swaziland and what the experience has done for me. Unfortunately at the moment, I am consumed by the daily despair I pay witness to and it has taken a huge toll on my mental health. I can’t remember feeling this depressed before. I know that once I get home to my familiar surroundings and support, I will look back on this experience as being one of the greatest of my life. It has challenged me and no doubt enriched me as a person. I just can’t really appreciate that at the moment. The truth is, some of my despair comes from the fact that I had such high expectations of Swaziland. I thought that by coming to a third world country and serving the poor, I would find my purpose in life. I would be able to justify why at 30 I’m single and childless. I truly believed that I was in this situation because there were “big plans” for me and these plans required me to be footloose and fancy free.
The reality is that I don’t think I can do this job long term. I feel like some of my soul has been destroyed whilst being here. My innocence and enduring optimism has been eroded somewhat. It’s ironic that last week Susan described me as “Chicken soup for the soul” and yet all I could think about was how I had lost mine.
Nevertheless, within 24 hours of emailing a friend and having a major catharsis of emotions that I think made me look like a raving lunatic, I find that an opportunity has opened up that will allow me to leave the despair of the female ward a little earlier.
Bulembu is hosting a massive project called “Swazi 1000”. I’m not entirely sure of the exact details but I do know that about 1000 college students are going to descend on Bulembu to devote two weeks to reconstruction of houses that will eventually house orphans. With such an enormous undertaking and some of the projects potentially dangerous, they require a doctor and the Board members have asked me to be there for the two weeks. I am delighted to help out. I will step back into my role as an “emergency doctor” and I will be on hand to manage anything that happens to the group of people who will be aged 16-24. This means I will be treating healthy people who don’t have AIDS. I will also get to see this massive project unfold which will be exciting and give me further hope for this project that I am passionate about. I will also be able to go and cuddle an orphan everyday and I think this will be the best therapy for me at this time.
I now have two weeks left at Good Shepherd and hopefully I can make the most of my short time left here.