Shammah Health Center is a special place. A place where our community is beginning to feel like they belong. A place of laughter, of joy, of hope, of sadness sometimes, of peace, and of healing. As we have almost seen 2000 patients, many of them returning, we are developing beautiful relationships within our community.
Irakoze is a woman who came to Shammah Health Center with a breast infection after visiting many other clinics and hospitals and finding no cure. She doesn’t just have a breast infection, her entire breast is a tumour and it is still spreading. We had to tell her that she has end-stage cancer. She doesn’t have long to live. She is a muslim woman, but knowing Shammah Health Center is a christian clinic, she still came. On her initial visit, we asked her if we could pray with her. She said no. When she returned for a follow-up appointment, we asked her again, and she said yes. During the next visit, she not only said yes to prayer but she asked if we could pray for her whenever we think of her. I don’t know how long she has to live, but I know she was lead to Shammah for a reason.
Shakuru. This tiny baby is the smallest person I have ever laid eyes on. He was extremely premature, but had been born 2 weeks prior and had survived that long in his little, under-developed body. His mama brought him in as he was having difficulty breathing. We stabilized him and after keeping him under observation for the day, he was about to be transferred to Kibuye hospital when he stopped breathing. We did CPR for 20 minutes and then he passed away. After closer inspection, we could see that this baby had severe disabilities and deformities that would have made his life very difficult. He is now with Jesus. This is the sixth baby his mother has lost as for some reason she is not able to bear children to full-term. This is devastating for the family. They named him Shakuru, which means “thankful.” We prayed with the family and comforted them however we could. I only pray that God used us to be a comfort to her in this time of extreme loss.
Mattias is a man with a parasite in his foot that got so infected, he lost his baby toe and developed wounds so serious we thought he may need a partial amputation of his foot. We wanted to transfer him to Kibuye hospital for surgery but he kept saying: “No, you guys can fix it!” We thought that was a sweet thing to say but it wouldn’t ever happen. However, with regular dressing changes at Shammah Health Center his foot is almost completely healed. He no longer needs to be transferred for surgery. Seeing Mattias has been one of the many joys of our work weeks.
Little Deborah – The baby who choked on the orange seed and we revived… Her mother came back to pay her debt and brought Deborah for a visit. She is a thriving, happy, beautiful baby! A little miracle. Seeing her again was special for the whole Shammah team! Her mother said to me: “I had lost all hope. You saved my baby’s life.” Those are words that will stick with me the rest of my life. God is so good.
Shalissa – Baby Shammah as we like to call her….The first baby born at Shammah Health Center. Her mother, Pascalia, has been using our medical services for her family and is paying off her debts through our work program. She is such a hard worker and does it with such joy. She has been a huge asset in contributing to land clearing for our malnutrition program. And it is a treat to be able to see this family throughout the week and watch baby Shammah grow!
The first mama that joined our debt work program walked almost 2 hours one way just to pay us a visit and thank us for the time that we allowed her to be treated and pay her debt off by working later. This was a really moving experience for her, enough that she made this long journey just to thank us and bring us a basket of green bananas from her garden.
These are a few of the most memorable stories I have to share from the last couple of months. It has been incredible to watch Shammah Health Center grow into the vision that God gave me for it much faster than I had expected. It has been the most beautiful story to be a part of.
Thank you for all your support and prayers.