JULIA FROM TANZANIA
In the last ward of the hospital was a girl from Tanzania. Her name was Julia and she was only fifteen years old. She had been in the hospital for about three months and was too weak to move or to speak more than a few words. Her mother and her cousin stayed to help her through the hard times. She had a little brother named John who was also admitted for cancer. He lay two beds away from her. When he slept, he was so still that only the slightest movement of his chest showed that he was still breathing.
They shared a plate of food and rationed their water in a small plastic container. The family had depleted their meager resources, selling their livestock and source of income so that they could come to receive treatment. Yet they remained together, fighting the cancer as a family, with love and hope for the future.
A Boy from the congo
The twelve-year old boy from the Congo had traveled over 1,000 miles with his father to get to the hospital. His mother and three siblings were left behind. His father was an elementary school principal and a teacher's salary could hardly afford anything after the travel costs. They had come by bicycle, bus, and taxi during the several day-long trip. When they arrived at the hospital, the father did not even have a blanket for himself so we provided him with one. His profuse thanks brought tears to our eyes.
The high school student from mbarara, uganda
She broke out in a big smile when she saw us. Her swollen stomach could have easily been mistaken for the abdomen of a pregnant girl in her third trimester. Her parents and doctors in her village had all thought this, hence her late diagnosis. She had cancer in her abdomen and it was only properly identified when she was in the fourth stage. Although she was combating such a terrible disease, her main concern was not cancer, but the upcoming exams she didn't feel prepared for. He mother lay asleep on a mat on the floor beside her.