When he approached, we realized that the man pushing was blind! Together they had crossed a huge distance through the heavy traffic of the busy streets. The disabled man was guiding his blind brother, hoping in the mercy of God

CC BY-NC Medici con l'Africa Cuamm
CC BY-NC Medici con l’Africa Cuamm

—“Father, if she doesn’t have lab tests, nobody can tell what’s wrong … Pay no attention to her mother’s words… Shortly, for tests to be done, they must be paid in advance. The mother said she had no money, therefore we cannot do anything….”

We talked for a while, I paid the fee, and they immediately got blood from the patient and sent the sample for analysis… I stuck around for an hour and a half. The nurse came and apathetically announced:

—The patient has AIDS! She is in urgent need of blood transfusion….

Another shock! She shortly moved to her post but she turned back again…

—Her blood group is not available in the blood bank of our hospital. You should look for it at another hospital, or wait until tomorrow morning, when we may find donors willing to give blood. Only If you pay them, of course…

God helped and while I was looking for someone to tell me where I should go, I came across a trainee doctor, who greeted me with a “Bless Father”. I was surprised, but he explained that he had studied in Moscow and so he figured out that I was an Orthodox cleric. I explained my problem to him and he offered toc ome with me, so that we could find the blood unit we needed…

We went from hospital to hospital, waking up the guards to let us in, finding the person in charge to learn if there was a unit of this blood group… In the fourth hospital in a row, the Lord allowed us to find one! An additional delay to find the cashier didn’t look like a hardship, because we had the joy of achieving our goal…

Ιατρείο της Ιεραποστολής στο βόρειο Καμερούν
Mission doctors in Northern Cameroon

At daybreak, we returned to the hospital. The transfusion started and instantly the patient opened her eyes. When she saw me, she clutched my clothes and started crying:

—Don’t let me die, don’t let me… Once I get well, I will be in church everyday… Pray for me… Don’t let me die…

I tried to reassure her…. But what can you say to a 20 -year-old girl when you know she has little chance of survival?

I left troubled by dark thoughts and in deep pain for the reality which had unwrapped in front of me the night before. I had certainly seen tougher situations, but this one hurt me in its own way…

The girl’s agony lasted for 12 days with constant transfusions… Then she passed away in tears and grievance…

—I wanna live. Why don’t I get better?

Who could possibly answer these questions? Or who would dare turn these questions of a young human being into self-criticism?

I think what matters more than anything else is to hold the hand of the perishing person till the end, so that they feel they are not alone… I have wondered time and again how many people must have left and how many leave daily, just because there was nobody to pay for their medication!

How small is the value of human life in the Africa of poverty and deprivation…!

†Gregory of Cameroon

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