Aldo

It’s been almost a month since we last had access to tap water. We miss the sound of running tap water. Usually water would be gone for 2 or 3 days…then would be back and we fill every thing that can hold water before it goes again. But now, we’ve been waiting for the water like Christians are waiting for the second coming. 

Washing clothes, mopping the house, watering the flowers and vegetables are all luxuries we can’t even think of now. 

Dear Tap Water, 

We terribly miss you. Please come back soon.

Sincerely, 

Some desperate users.

To get clean water, we send a boda-boda guy to fetch for us. There’s always a queue of jerrycans waiting to be filled. And only the strongest get to fetch first (survival for the fittest). For others, unless they go at 2 AM (when the fittest are resting. Haha) they can’t even get a drop of water. 

So, some people (abadafite agatuza k’imigeri) opt to use swamp water. Just because they see that the water is clear (and not muddy), they think it’s clean and safe to use. 

Anyways, have you ever found yourself in a bus or taxi seated next to or standing in a line behind a woman with a very cute scented  baby that you can’t help staring at? And it’s not like she’s going to ask you to hold the baby as she looks for its feeding bottle in the bag. Rather, it’ll be the other way round. She’ll lift the bag and ask you to get the bottle for her. Hehe. And why is it that it’s those women with crying babies or babies stinking of urine who always ask you to hold their babies for them?

As she feeds her baby, you be there trying to resist looking at it. Because if you look at it, you’ll end up staring and that would be awkward. So, you look the other way and pretend not to have seen that angelic face. But you soon give in and turn to look at it. You notice the biggest smile and 2 tiny upper teeth which are coming out. 

Has that ever happened to you?

Now that is the precise feeling I got when I first saw Aldo. A cute boy with the most beautiful eyes.

Though I never held him in my arms or carried him on my back, but I ached to do so. The moment I saw him, he caught my heart.

What’s cruel is that he never had the chance to experience life. If he was meant to die so soon why did he even come into the world?

It all started with diarrhoea and throwing up. They took him to umujyanama w’ubuzima who gave him some pills. He didn’t improve and the next day they went back and umunyabuzima wrote them a transfer to the health center. No one thought of rehydrating him because he had diarrhoea and was vomiting. Instead, at the HC he was given the exact same pills and they went back home. But his condition got worse. By time they took him to the hospital, his condition had really worsened. He was put on oxygen. 

The poor baby had gastroenteritis. They may have used the swamp (untreated) water and he must have got it from there. But his life could have been saved if during those two days they spent going to and fro the HC, they’d given him an oral rehydration solution. His condition was treatable and the death preventable.

However, he had his last gasp last Thursday night. His death seems meaningless. It should never have happened. There were many moments where his life could have been saved.

Their lives, which had been so happy and so full of promises 11 months earlier now seemed bleak and grey. Where there once was joy and happiness, is now sadness and pain. They will never watch him sleeping soundly, all snuggled in his bed, again. They will never see him on his first day at school. They will never hear him recite his first poem. All they have are dreams of him. Dreams which will never come true. Because the Lord took him away so soon.

His mother will wake up every morning and think “my baby died”. She will weep and weep until she feels no more tears will come. But they will.

She’ll ache to hold him, to hear his voice, to see his face. She won’t look at a baby without her eyes filling with tears. Tears for the loss of her baby, Aldo. All she’ll feel will be emptiness and an ache that she has never felt before. 

Knowing that she won’t ever get the chance to watch her son grow is the most pain of all. No parent should ever have to lose their child, not this way or any other way.

Though he lived only 11 months, he was loved so very much.

Sleep in peace, Aldo.

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