You must be this tall to ride the ride. Sound familiar. Those of you that have attended an amusement park would know these were the qualifications to get on a roller coaster. Well we must have met the criteria because today we defiantly went for a ride. It was a ride of emotions starting with quite sad lows and obnoxious highs. 
Today was our first day hospice visits. The first stop was a lady of 33. She was blind from having a advanced stage of HIV and was living with her mother. This is a rough current situation but the waters were much shakier in her past when her husband was shot and killed along with having a premature baby that didn't survive. With having this as your history no one would blame you for acquiring a chip on your shoulder. But this lady did not allow this into her life. She welcomed us with a great smile and saying Karibu with an even sweeter voice. Her out look should be admired by many. 
Next was a lady of 47 years. She has HIV and due to her advanced stage she too was blind and slowly going deaf. Walking into this home was not like the last. She was in a room of about 4×6 and the door could barely open all the way. Then the state of the room was a whole other situation. Being blind was almost a gift in this situation because the room was so dark that the team needed flashlights to be able to read our papers. This woman was living with her sister that was in the hospital and has 2 kids and sadly the first died. This story was just about as melancholy as the last. 
Third stop was another lady of about 40's. If at all possible this story gets harder to swallow. She has a quite sweet face but eyes that have known sorrow. The lady gets diagnosed in 2010, shortly after her husband leaves her. The mom then takes her 5 children to live at her mother's in Arusha. The youngest is disabled as well. The mother has a large wound on her foot that looks to be infected causing her limited mobility and a fungal infection on her arms. There is a question about whether she is going to treatment for her disease or not but we adamantly told her that she needs to do this for her children because they deserve her mom to stick around. Listing that as a reason to somebody is never an easy message to carry out but we pray that it reached her ears. 
Then finally we came to our last patient who was a lady of her upper fifties or sixties. She lives in a stick and mud hut but has manners suited for a mansion. You can tell by looking at this lady that the harshness of time has taken quite a bit from her. She was diagnosed with HIV in 2008 and has been on medicine since. At this moment her situation doesn't look quite morbid. But then she goes into another section of the hut covered by a cloth to reveal her very handicapped daughter that could be around 20 years of age. We could start to see the amount of crosses this mother must carry. After showing a growth that is on her shoulder we here about how her husband most certainly has aids but will not get tested for it. The amount of work this lady takes on is more physical and emotional than most of us will deal with in our life time. And just to remind you again, she was just the sweetest thing. To say the least it broke our hearts.
After this very draining experience we hopped back into the van where we proceeded to express our confusion, frustration, pain, and empathy towards these lives through little water droplets from our eyes. It truly was a van of emotion. But after the water works stopped our day wasn't finished yet. We are about to leave this great land so there is plenty of work to be done. So we wrap up the whole curtains/mattress saga, exchange money, pick up any jewelry (feel conflicted about the amount of money we spend in comparison to the people we just helped.) Come back to Ahadi, go out to eat some Devine Chinese, and wrap up the night with a little dance party in the parking lot of Ahadi. After reading this I hope you get an idea of the ride that we just took part of. 
Tomorrow we are off on more hospice visits and could use all the prayers you can muster. We thank you for being oh so loyal readers, we can't do this without you! 
Jaclyn

Roller Coaster Ride

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