By Danita Beachy
Danita led the 2015-16 REACH Team to South Africa. Here she shares about an experience she had during her time there.
It was a Friday night in mid-February. My team and I were about halfway through our time in Johannesburg, South Africa, serving at a home for abandoned babies. In a pinch, I was asked to cover night shift at the hospital. One of our babies, sweet 11-month-old Sybil,* had a major surgery on her skull (i.e. cranial release and reconstruction) the previous Tuesday. She had just gotten out of ICU and was stable, but they didn't want her to be alone. I felt way out of my comfort zone, surrounded by medical terminology and burdened with the fragility of this precious baby’s life.
It was a long night, yet I clearly remember the peace I felt. What I experienced in that hospital has forever changed me. I've never felt more like a mom than I did that night, sitting by Sybil's bed, comforting her and praying fiercely for her little life. I'm thankful for surgeons, technology, and medical care, whatever sort it is. The Johannesburg hospital was one of the nicer ones, but it's definitely not up to Western standards. There were three other children in beds in the same dingy gray room, I counted more than a couple of cockroaches in the hallways, and I spent the night on a hard chair next to the hospital bed. I dozed there until around 3 a.m. and a nice nurse brought me hot tea from the employee room (probably because she felt sorry for me).
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