Shorts for a boy.
Out here, every week as its adventure…usually many! Here is one event that unfolded last week.
We were at the school just over a week ago and I noticed one student walk past me, his shorts soaked with urine. I wondered what had happened but he seemed nonplused by it. The image faded through the hours with the busyness of doing Grade 5 assessments, following up on library resource needs, health post priorities and so on.
At the end of our day when we were preparing to head back to the mission base, our school’s health worker mentioned to me that there was a boy with no bladder control that I needed to see. I knew immediately whom he was referring to. We called the boy in and discovered he has something called “spina bifida”. In short, and specific to his case, spina bifida means that the nerves that should serve his bladder and bowel got redirected into a skin pouch at the lower end of the vertebral column as he was developing in the womb. That explained why his shorts were wet with urine and he seemed unconcerned about it. He had always been that way and had simply learned to live with it.
This boy is about 10 years old. There isn’t much that can be done for him at this point, but it would be nice to help restore his dignity especially before he hits puberty. We can take measures that will keep him drier and cleaner, and we want him to have clean changes of shorts. In all likelihood, he probably presently only owns one or two pairs.
Fast forward a week. We were on a home visit to an orphan family in our program. There was a young man selling homemade tshirts and shorts to the widowed granny and grandkids when we arrived. I was immediately interested because we needed some shorts for this boy! The young salesman quoted me on the cost of 5 pairs of shorts. I didn’t have any cash on me but one of our Canadian visitors helped me out (…need to remember to pay him back). While this whole exchanged transpired, I was asking our young salesman where he was from, etc. and asked if he knew who I was (since I had no cash wondered how I’d go about gaining favour to “owe” until I could organize payment). He said he definitely knew who I was.
“You’re pastor Eduardo (Dwight)’s wife!”
“Yes,” I said, “you’re right.”
“I used to attend your school.” He continued. “I’m now in living in the town of Vanduzi but am here today in this community selling homemade clothing”.
I smiled and told him it was good to see him and that these shorts were for another boy at that same school who had no bladder control.
“Well, sometimes little kids are like that. They have accidents.” he said.
When I told him it was due to a defect in the boy’s spine he said, “I will give you a discount on your purchase because of the work you do and because I know that boy will be blessed by it!”
I accepted his offer with a heart full of joy and wonder at how such moments come together so unpredictably. These are God moments.
When we finished our little business deal he shook my hand with a big smile and said, “Thank you for all you do for our people. It has been good to see you. God bless you.” I was touched more deeply than you can imagine. Here was a young man whose life had been touched by God’s goodness, extending help to his fellow man. This is the learning and love in action that I love to see!
I believe this is a good example of a heart Jesus referred to as ‘good soil’ where a seed is planted and it grows and bears good fruit. I trust this plays forward for the incontinent boy too who has suffered innumerable challenges due to his birth defect We know that God can use any circumstance to his honour and glory. The best we can do is be on the sidelines doing our small part in the bigger picture that God is unfolding through his love.
PS: I hope the shorts fit! But if not, we can make a plan. We do have 5 women sewing full time in the Simukai craft room after all!