Well it is exactly two weeks out from the day I depart in Malawi. Until now, I would say that my job is very easy and does not have an excessive amount of emotional effect on me. Well now I change that opinion.
When the 2nd Milk team was still here, we went to the Ntcheu village that first started 2nd Milk and there was a baby there that changed my life. His name is Roderick. He was a week old when I saw him, his mom had malaria and HIV, and we were entering him into our feeding program. I did not want to let go of him. I held him for hours. During the hours that I held him, I realized how small and fragile our human life is. We are not even a speck of dust in the span of the universe that God created. Holding the tiny, beautiful one week old in my arms was the happiest and saddest moment in my life. He taught me all the things that I take for granted, while he has nothing and is starving, how if I am sick I can get in my car and drive five minutes down the road to the Target Minute Clinic and get treated while he has to be carried for hours to be taken to a clinic that might not have the resources to treat him, and that when I have so much and he has so little that God still loves him and he has a purpose in his one week old life.
In a way he has affected me more than anything on this trip so far. He started the giant bonfire of me wanting to fix all the babies here, so they can have wonderful happy lives playing with their friends while God watches over them. I think and thank God for the four hours I had with that precious boy because God showed through him to me in a way I would have never experienced if I would have given up and not come to Malawi. But now he’s gone.
He died on July 12, 2016. That means he was right around a month old. I do not know why he died, but he either died of starvation or sickness, which kills me. This is the first death I have experienced here, but in this moment I question why God would let a one month old suffer that much pain, but then I remember that even though he suffered, his short, beautiful life, changed mine. God never promised us an easy life, and trust me I know that for a fact. At multiple points in my life, I hit rock bottom, did not want life anymore, all while God was walking right next to me offering his hand to me, and all I had to do was grab it. Roderick’s life was not easy. His life was hard. When I met him, he had not eaten in two days, and that was basically half of his life. He is the picture of not being guaranteed the next day in our life.
Life sucks, especially now with a dead baby that I love and only held for few hours that changed my life. I want to scream at God and ask why he would take that precious life away from the horrible planet, but that would just answer my question to Him. This planet is horrible and He took Roderick home, away from the suffering and pain that he was feeling. It sounds awful when I say it, but I am so glad he doesn’t have to live in hunger and pain anymore, but I can’t imagine losing a child.
I was really hoping I would not have to deal with a death while I was here, but I knew I wouldn’t be avoidable. I wish it wasn’t one of my babies though. But God is teaching me something through it all.
Malawi is not for the faint of heart, but I would not change my decision to come. I do not regret it, even with all the tears I hold back, all the frustrations which follow living here, and the lack of being able to talk to my loved ones. But dang it’s rough.
Roderick’s life was the most beautiful thing I have witnessed on this planet. But beautiful things are fleeting.
So just remember, as my econ teacher and assistant headmaster told us and had us repeat, Tempus Fugit. Momeno Mori. Carpe Diem. Which means, “Time is Fleeting. Remember Death. Seize the Day.” And Roderick’s life is a symbol of that.
Two weeks left. And during these next two weeks God will be my crutch.
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.