October 22, 2007


This little girl’s name is Siphisihle (that’s Xhosa for “beautiful gift”). She has tuberculosis and needs to take drugs every day. We keep them at the clinic so in an ideal world she would stop at the clinic every morning on the way to pre-school, I’d mash up the pills for her, mix them with a multi-vitamin syrup, watch her drink it, and then give her a little candy and send her on her way. But for several weeks her attendance was sporadic at best and she was missing several days of her pills.

So I found out where she lives and tramped through the mud and the garbage to get her and bring her to the clinic. Her home is pitiful and the conditions exceed description. Her mother spends her time in town doing who knows what and her 12-year old sister is in charge of the household. Siphisihle and her three siblings need a lot more than a couple of pills a day. But on the theory that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” I returned every day for a week and we walked hand-in-hand through the huts to the clinic.

One day last week I was shocked to see Siphisihle show up in the clinic all by herself. And the next day she did the same. And the day after that. And the day after that. It doesn’t solve all her problems but it’s a start.


Anonymous said...

That is sooooooooooooooo sweet.

Ish said...


You're doing some great work. The people of Mthatha are blessed to have you in their lives.

I'm sure you've kept up on all the Alaska goings on....

Take care,