Carlos (pronounced Kar-lo-sh in Portuguese) is a highly trained Mozambican nurse who was raised at Maforga’s boy’s home when he was a kid.
I had the privilege of going on a few house calls with them last week to learn what kind of obstacles this country faces in terms of HIV/AIDS.
It’s a nation of widows and orphans.
The next patient we visited was in her seventies. Her eyes clouded with cataracts allowed only the shape of our faces to shine through --not the details. So naturally, she did not bother to turn her face toward ours in greeting. Instead she lifted her calloused hands upward to shake our hands one by one.
She complained of an ulcerated infection on her foot that was refusing to heal, but was otherwise in good health. I suggested she make a garlic compress for it, but she worried out loud that she did not have any garlic... nor did she know how to get some.
-- Lord... is she so poor as to not to be able to afford the pennies needed for garlic?
-- Yes, my child.
-- Lord... can I give her the money?
-- No, my child. I am doing a work here.
-- Oh, Lord. First they need a front door. Now they need simple medicines.
-- Yes. I know. But you are not their Provider, nor are you their Healer. I am. Trust me and pray.
-- Yes, Lord. I will trust... and I will obey.
So we prayed for her, then walked on.
The next house we visited had a small garden attached. It is cared for by two sisters living together. They have both been widowed due to AIDS. And they too are infected with the virus.
One is much worse off than the other and struggled to stand long enough to greet us. Her thin frame jarred out at knobby angles underneath yards of printed fabrics. Her head hung low. Her eyes down cast.
So we prayed, then moved on.
The next family we met was muslim. The patient we went to visit is not only HIV positive, she is blind. Her medicines are working, and as a result she was vigorous and strong despite her HIV status.
Thrilled to have so many visitors, she had her family gather all the stools in the house and we sat down in a circle around her. As we spoke, children and chickens milled about.
She was told that if she wanted to attend the Assembly of God church near her house, she would have to pay the pastor 500 meticais a month (roughly $20.00 USD). This is a fortune!