Zizwe is dead.
My niece Zizwe died last week in Lusaka, Zambia, and I cannot get the anger out of my mind. It consumes me.
She was a good kid who developed … what? What did she develop?
Money was spent for diagnosis and a lot of money was spent to treat the symptoms but we never heard from the doctors whether there was a definitive diagnosis. We didn’t have the money to fly her down to South Africa where “modern” treatment can be found on the continent and certainly not to the UK where folks with real money go.
The hospital where she was treated was a “public” hospital. I know all about that kind of facility. All my kids were born in public hospitals in the Third World and we had to bring hot water, sheets, pillowcases, food … the list goes on. The people there were competent but limited in access to resources. And everyone is very very nice and apologetic for the limitations of the facility. The skill levels of the staff are pretty good but anyone who could get out of the country and move to the West has done so. Certainly many Western hospitals actively recruit doctors, nurses and other medical staff from Africa on a regular basis. As for my kids, we had one normal birth and two C-sections. I sit thinking about how very blessed we were that there were no complications.
But Zizwe is dead. I know (believe) that Zizwe got reasonable treatment for what they could see and identify with their limited access to testing but I have no confidence that she was treated for what was actually wrong with her. I am consumed with the frustration that she is dead but probably needn’t be. I am so very angry.
But I also understand. She suffered greatly in those last months and I thank god that at 16 she had an active faith and is now in paradise.
But what about everyone left behind. I hate funerals. How can I go back home to Lusaka and abide their stares about me, the Lucky One, who doesn’t have to suffer and die from this terrible place. Only its not a terrible place. The country is full of laughter, music, dance, joy and happy, happy hardworking people. And then someone gets sick……
(sigh) I may never stop being angry.Published in