Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Pumpkin Curse~

A woman brought her 2 year old girl in because of malaria yesterday. She was very sick... but it wasn’t just the malaria. Something was very different about this girl. Her head was outrageously large.

While taking this young girl’s medical history, I kept expecting her mother to mention the size of her head. She didn’t. I had to ask her about it directly.

I asked her if she had noticed her child’s head was larger than normal. She smiled sadly and explained that her girl had been cursed. Cursed? What do you mean cursed? 

This is what she said...
“When my girl was born, her head was normal. But not long afterward, one of my relatives was worshipping a pumpkin. However, someone then ate it and caused a curse to fall on my little girl and her head grew large -- like a pumpkin. That is why her head is so big.”

She added that her girl used to be able to walk and talk, but recently she grew too weak. Her head was just too big. Now she had to be carried everywhere.

My heart broke hearing her story -- for the girl, for her family, for the ignorance.

Placing myself in her shoes, a “pumpkin curse” would make as much sense as “water on the brain” -- even more so, really. Who has ever heard of “water on the brain” in Sudan?

But that is what she has. “Water on the brain” is a condition (congenital or acquired) in which there is an excessive accumulation of cerebral spinal fluid in the brain. It is known medically as hydrocephalus. (Hydro = water, Cephalus = head)

It’s treated by putting a shunt in the brain to draw the excess fluid off. And if done in time, the prognosis it good. However, if left untreated a person can die within a matter of years. Newborns with this condition rarely live longer than a year. If they do, there are always consequences -- neurological, physical, intellectual.

Looking at her, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was too late. Would her family value her life enough to sell a cow, take her to Wau and get the shunt? I’m not sure. But I told her mom that she wasn’t cursed (I know, bold of me!) but had a condition that could be fixed if they acted quickly.

With surgery, she might be able to recover completely. But without it, she would most likely never get old to marry. She would die before she could ever have children. Only then did she start paying attention.

She looked me square in the eye and said she’d speak to the men in the family. They were all in town for some reason. They would have a meeting.

I saw resolve in her eyes. It gave me hope. Please pray for her. And pray for the health teaching outreach I’m doing once a week. I have SO much I want to share with these women -- about health, about life and especially about Jesus!