Tanzania, Africa 1997

by Bill Staggs

Thanks Mt. Juliet for my spiritual feast. There are lots of stories but my first report is to tell you how I spent the money that was given.

There are three stories I want to relate to you; one about failure, one of success and one of hope.

Tito, is a young boy of 3 years, born of parents, not Christians, Poor, young and they love their son just like we love our children, very much. Tito has malaria; he is a +4 on the blood screen, low hematocrit, weak. He is admitted to the hospital the day before we arrive because he is having seizures. On the first day of rounds, Janice tells me he needs blood. He is 0 +, they give him the blood. He does not respond to the treatment or the drugs he was given. His mother is by his side everyday, hurting as we would. On the third day, Janice asked if I would give blood

for Tito because my blood would be better than what they have because of its iron content and I have been taking lariam for malaria prevention and they were out of 0 +. O.K. I gave the first half unit of blood and they immediately took it to him. After the second half unit, I laid there for about 15 minutes and then got up. I walked about 15 yards toward the pediatric ward to see how he was doing, before I got there I fainted, turning over a table and some chairs. After 15 more minutes of laying there, I got up again, walked about 10 feet and fainted again. I spent the next 2 hours on a bed in the pediatric ward. Am I a wimp or what?

Tito did not respond to my blood much better than the first unit. The cerebral malaria he had was getting worse. His mother still by his side; he grew weaker. We all were praying and doing all we could medically. Finally after a few more days his seizures were gone but he was very weak and non responsive to stimuli. His mother still by his side feeding him now and she learned how to pray. She loved her son and wanted him to live. After two weeks, he was still alive but I don’t think Tito will be any good. He had a lot of brain damage from the cerebral malaria. He will have seizures the rest of his life. They can be controlled by some drugs which you purchased and we’ll give to his mother for the next three years.

This story is about failure. I dowt know if we really helped Tito. He will have to live with the brain damage and seizures. His,parents are still not Christians. I pray that both things wfll change someday.

Next time I will tell you about success.

Thanks so much for the prayers, help and money for this trip.

By Bill Staggs

The above article appeared in the Mt. Juliet Messenger, May 4, 1997

Part 2

by Bill Staggs

Continuing my report on the African trip … On my last report I told you about failure with my friend Tito. This time … success…

Epilepsy is a problem in Africa. In America we control it with several drugs that are not widely available in Africa because of the cost.

A young girl of 15 has a seizure and walks through the fire she is cooking on. Her et are burned badly. She is taken to the clinic in Mbeya where she stays for about 30 days. Her parents leave her never to return. They think she will die. They cannot afford the hospital treatment. She is all alone.

The infection, the pain is getting bad. There is no hope to save the 15 year olds feet. There must be a better way. She makes the decision ‘I would rather die than lose my feet,” she says.

She is brought to the hospital at Chimala where the latest in 1940’s medical equipment is available. Then in walks Dr. George Robertson from the U.S. A good Christian surgeon. ‘We can fix her feet,’ he said.

Going into surgery she did not know or understand if she would lose her feet. After George and others prayed with and for her, George began the operation.

It was successful. She did lose one small toe; her feet were not beautiful but then neither is George. But both their spirits are so beautiful. She was so excited when she awoke. The prayer, the concern, the hope and because George was there, with God’s help she will be fine.

She is, I pray, a Christian now. We left before we knew if she was baptized. She was exposed to love, hope and the Gospel. She was left alone in pain not knowing her future. Now she has hope, a future, and two feet. I will see her in heaven someday.