Tuesday, April 01, 2008

35,000 people die each day from poverty

I wrote about him here.

And today, I learned he died.

He was a sweet boy, just one year older than my son. His dad was too poor to take him to the doctor, so hope leapt from his eyes when he learned we would take his son and cover the fees.

The barefoot boy traveled bravely, and sat stiffly in the back of the old pickup truck. I was a tall, pale woman he'd never seen before that day, and I smiled as I sat next to him. He jostled against me over the rutted roads, and when the busy "city" sites came into view, he allowed himself to lean on me a bit. I put my arm around him, mentally promising his father I would care for him while they were apart.

Each day we visited. His broad smile when I entered the room lit my days. When he was better, I carried his IV bag as we took short walks down the hall and onto the flowered sidewalks. Before I left Ethiopia, he was well enough to go back to his village.

A few months later, I got a note from Dr. Ruth, saying he was back in the hospital. I'm not sure exactly what happened next, but I believe some people spoke to his father and it was decided that, since the father had no means to care for him, and since the hospital was limited in it's facilities, that he would go up for adoption in the hopes that a family abroad might give him what we rich Westerners have in order to share . . . hope.

But, the process it did not happen quickly enough for this young man and he spent his last days far from home. I bet he was brave. I can see him smiling at the other kids, and smiling at his nanny, and when he no longer had the strength to smile, I bet his eyes said, "don't worry." I picture that because it was the kind of boy he was.

And today, I hope Tadesse is looking down at his daddy in the Bombay village of Ethiopia and telling him he doesn't have to cry because he feels much better now. His little chest no longer hurts, and he can run and play with the other kids.

For me, I want to gather all my photos of this brave young man and go find his dad to pay my respects.


Owlhaven said...

Oh, I'm so sorry..


Anonymous said...

Heidi, what a sweet face. That made me cry this morning and seems so unfair. Love ya.


Heidi Mehltretter said...

Thanks friends. The thing that is beautiful about your comments is that Jen is in a developing country working to help disadvanted people and Mary is here, using her time every day to promote what she lives, adopting children in need and experiencing all the blessings that come with that loving gift.

My hat is off to both of you. Thank you for the part you play.

nosmallfeat said...

... and I sob because I haven't figured out yet what else I can do. I must though... I must.

Sophie said...

What a beautiful tribute to a precious little boy. Thanks!

the ewings said...

Praying for his family and Father in particular. I'm so touched by his life and pray that he and his Father can unite someday in heaven. Thanks for this wonderful tribute. -Chris

Anonymous said...

Hi Heidi:
Thank you so much for sharing the face of unfathomable pain and suffering that Dr. Mary and other like her live with and deal with every day of their lives.

I was wondering if this Dr. Mary is Dr. Mary van Derkooi. I might misspelt her last name. If Dr. Mary is Dr. Gary's wife please let me know. I know Dr. Gary personally and had a chance to meet Dr. Mary several years ago in their home in Woliata.

I'd like to write Dr. Mary to thank her for her ministy among the people that I know so well. I'm originally from there though I'm in the US for grad studies and will be back home some time in the future when I finish school.

Thank you so much for sharing this graphic description of suffering that I know that prevails all of the country.

Ted, from Michigan.

Heidi Mehltretter said...

Yes, Ted, you are correct. Please email me for more info. You can see photos on the link in the first line of this post.
hmcine at yahoo dot com

Raskell Party of 8 said...

Sweet Heidi, I love your heart so much. I love your words and visual of him in Heaven. His family and all the kids there are in my thoughts and prayers constantly. LOVE YOU!

Joy Portis said...

Thank you Heidi for sharing this reality! It brings tears to my eyes as I think of his pain and that of his family. I am thankful he is with his Heavenly Father now and suffers no more. Once again I am on my knees because I feel so helpless and aching inside because my eyes have been open to the great needs of the world. I am so thankful that I have forever been changed... but man it hurts! You are so gifted and I love experience things through your eyes! Thank you for the reminder and tears tonight!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Honey, today I visited with your Grandma and Grandpa. While there I needed to see the nurse practioner. I walked down the hall and saw her walking to the med room. As I approached I could see she was crying. I left and went to see another nurse. Something must have happened to one of her charges to have affected her so. That's the heart I see in you, dear. I, too, am in tears over the precious little boy you wrote about. He looks so sweet and your words of him reveal that sweetness. I will pray for his daddy as Tadesse is at peace enjoying the beauty and joy of heaven.

Lisa W. said...

Thank you for sharing this boy's courage with us. At first glance of the picture I thought it was so sweet. Then as I continued to read, the tears fell and my heart breaks. God bless these children. I know about Dr. Mary and she is amazing. I am waiting for my agency to find me my little girl (from ET age about 3 or 4) and it's hard to believe that it is taking so long when I know they are all out there. I know Mary comes across many children, but my agency said I can't necessarily "tell" them about children who are out there, rather my facilitator has to find them. I am adopting 2 toddlers and one is already found...waiting on the 2nd. It is hard waiting when I know they are dying as I wait!!!!!!
Denver, CO

Lisa W. said...

Yes, I know Emily and the group. They have been a lifesaver for many of us Moms here and I will be a part of this group for a very long time. I'm also connected to a fantastic Ethiopian Church in Aurora where I volunteer with the toddlers and so does my husband. We want our girls to be very connected to their culture and I have fallen in love with these people.

I love your writing and your heart. Thank you for sharing and posting on my blog. What a privilege. I will tell Emily that we "spoke".

Tymm said...

I am praying for this boy's father and for you - and for me to know God's will on what else I can do.


Mariah said...

This story is so touching. Thanks for all your work, you are inspirational.