Friday, May 27, 2005

Claudine and bedtime prayers

Claudine is a sick child but she is a blessed child. Claudine is a 12 year old orphan at the Imbabazi Orphanage in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

When I visited the orphanage in March, Claudine was in a hospital across the border in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Previously she had developed a tumor on her knee. It was removed and tested benign at a lab in Rwanda. Just before I was there the tumor redeveloped and she was put in the Goma hospital. Subsequent to my trip they had to amputate most of her leg as it was learned that she actually did have cancer. Claudine has a disease attacking her body that was unfortunately misdiagnosed and she is now behind in the game of fighting this cancer.

The good news..... Partners in Health, The Clinton Foundation, and Massachussets General Hospital have learned of Claudine's plight and those three working with the Imbabazi Foundation have made a way for Claudine to receive free chemo treatment in Boston. She has just received a 10 year visa and should be making the flight over within a week or two. She is going from one of the worst medical care locations in the world to one of the best.

Claudine has already lived a terrible life. She was just an infant when nearly a million people were murdered all around her. Somehow she survived but her parents did not. I wish I knew her whole story but Claudine probably doesn't even know her whole story. What I know, Claudine's life has just been given a new and bright outlook.

I was thinking about Claudine when my two little boys and I were saying our bedtime prayers earlier this week. As usual they thanked God for their family, their friends, and their many toys. I decided to make a habit to also be thankful for things that so many African children don't have. We now thank God every night for clean water to drink, many sets of clothes, free school, the police who protect us, a doctor to visit when we get all of our ear infections, and medicine when we're sick.


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