The other day the hospital received a kindly give us request for some supplies. Some people were going to be travelling to the border. Due to who was travelling and where they were travelling, there was a reasonable likelihood of casualties.
Kindly give us. Hmm. For the sake of diplomacy (and I suppose the lives of the people) we should give something.
Gauze? Nope, we have only got a few packets, and that needs to be rationed for our C-sections. Morphine? It is not available in the country, as far as I am aware. Fluids? Okay, maybe we can spare a box. And, I suppose, I better throw in some IV lines and tape for securing as well. What else? First Aid Kits!
Ok, I know that first aid kits are not what are normally stocked in a hospital. But sitting in the back of our blue metal shipping container (which is our dumping ground for all the things people have generously donated to us but for which I have not yet had the time to stare at with squinted eyes and a head at just the right angle until I can work out what use I could possibly have for them) is some boxes of first aid kits. Perfect!
I pulled them out. The cardboard boxes were a little termite eaten, but the shiny red kits themselves were still safely ensconced in their protective plastic wrapping.
On peaking inside I was pleasantly surprised. They were pretty decent kits. They had bandages, scissors, gauze, bandaids and even some antiseptic wipes. Definitely fancier do-dads than anything you can get around here. I could not even find any obvious expiry dates. (Because, you know, expired things are very dangerous).
And, so we answered the request with a couple of boxes of first aid kits, along with the IV fluids and a couple of doses of pain medicine.
The likelihood of a first aid kit that you normally have in your car in case your kid falls over and scratches his knee actually being much use for bullet wounds is not particularly high. There are also bad roads, limited supplies in the government hospital, which is the official trauma centre, and the pharmacies are now shut or out of stock. So, if someone gets badly injured their chances are not particularly good.
But, at least the vehicles will have first aid kits.
Sometimes I feel like one of those shiny red first aid kits. I am donated from the West, with fancier do-dads than anything around here and not obviously expired on the outside (though I currently do not have much of a mirror to tell otherwise). But, in reality, how useful am I when the country is falling to pieces, when hospitals have no staff or equipment, when people are starving because they are hiding in the bush and there is no food in the market because it is too dangerous to bring in supplies.
But does it matter how useful I am? Is it simply more important that I am present?
Yet, there are varying degrees of being present. For the first month after fighting broke out I did not leave the compound that contains my house and hospital, and since then I have only left a couple of times. So though I have heard some of the rumours that are swirling around, the main things I hear are the sounds of the insects and the chickens and the children playing. Although the food is a bit plainer I have never gone hungry. Although I see the fear in the huddled staff conversations and in the patients begging for early discharge so they can escape somewhere, I have felt safe. And, in the evening after work, I can download a book and get lost in someone else’s adventure.
I live in a bubble. A red first aid kit with a plastic bag covering it bubble. Does that count as being with?
Yet, it is because of this bubble that I am able to continue serving. Because I have known security, I can listen to staff member’s fears and worries without being overwhelmed by them. Because I am able to eat and sleep in my own bed, rather than the bush, I have the energy to deal with the demands each day. Because I can still know the joy of curling up with a book, the despair and darkness does not consume my soul.
Is this bubble what I dreamed of when I thought of incarnational mission? No. Is being a first aid kit how I envisioned changing the world, or at least my little corner of it? Surely, I could be upgraded to a decent trauma kit. But, is this bubble a gift from the Father? Most definitely! Is this opportunity to serve in his strength and grace a privilege and joy? Yep.
So here’s to being a red first aid kit and life in a bubble.
Article by http://lifedowntheruttedredroad.com