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.