Saturday, October 02, 2010

Kalomo Hospital

After Plan A, B, and C, I was hoping Friday night would be a bit calmer. It wasn't.

I was visiting Sheri Sears when Rajiv knocked on the door, distraught and shaken. His aunt had been in a bad accident, and he asked me to take him to Kalomo Hospital to check on her. I agreed, and the Cruiser soon filled with others who were relatives or friends of the accident victims.

At Kalomo Hospital there were 40 or so people milling around outside in the dim courtyard. Our contingent gathered near the window to a treatment room. No HIPAA regulations here--anyone could look in through the broken panes and watch what was going on.

As we waited for word, I was greeted by many friends from the mission and Kalomo town who provided information about the wreck. Little by little I pieced together the story. The vehicle was a mid-sized truck, and the passengers were in the open truck bed. It was overloaded, as bush transport vehicles often are. Most of the passengers were teachers on their way home from a District Education Board session that trained them to administer exams. Some were new teachers on their way to newly assigned schools. The truck was headed to Kabanga on the dreaded Kabanga Road. Apparently the driver fell asleep, and the vehicle veered off the road and rolled three times.

Two passengers died. One died at the hospital, and we watched in silence as his body was rolled out on a gurney. Several others are in serious condition, including Rajiv's aunt. Thankfully, her one-month old baby who was in her arms is fine. The Kabanga headmaster's wife is one of the seriously injured.

An hour or so after we arrived, a nurse came out and read off the names of the patients who were being sent home and those who were being admitted. Eventually, the hospital door was opened and all were allowed to go in to see their loved ones. The bystanders threaded down the hallways and through the wards for brief glimpses of the injured victims.

Our somber group loaded up again for the trip back to Namwianga. Soon we were singing songs of hope and comfort: It Is Well with My Soul, Farther Along, and Wabota Munzi Waba Jesu.

Your prayers for the injured and the grieving are appreciated.

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