How many bottles?
Imagine if you had to gather 340,000 plastic bottles just to pay for your baby’s life-saving surgery… Sometimes we encounter situations that completely change the course of our day and which require rapid decisions to be made. Last month one of our Champions, Ziria was on her way to follow up on a family who had a child recovering from malnutrition. As she was passing a neighbour’s house she heard crying coming from inside and stopped to find out what was the matter.
A lady with tears running down her face opened the door and explained that her name was Samalie* and she was crying over her baby, Pamela, who was suffering with a badly herniated navel. The mother told Ziria that the swelling, around the size of a tennis ball, was discharging fluid and causing the child great pain, she had no appetite, cried all the time and was hardly sleeping. Samalie had taken the child to the hospital, where the doctor had prescribed medication until the child was able to have an operation. Samalie knew she did not have the money to pay for the surgery necessary and when the medication seemed to make little difference, she began to lose hope for her daughter’s survival.
Ziria prayed with Samalie and communicated with the Every Life team. We talked further with Samalie and found out more about her situation. Her husband Michael was the only bread winner in the home and earned money by collecting empty plastic bottles and selling them to the plastic factories for recycling. For each kilogram of plastic bottles (between 20 and 100 bottles depending on size) he receives 500 shillings which is about 10p. Pamela needed another consultation, new medication and daily wound dressings and finally the operation itself. Altogether, this would cost around 1,700,000 shillings (around £300). This equates to between 68,000 and 340,000 bottles at Michael’s rate of pay – a frankly impossible task when most of the money he earns goes to simply feeding his family.
It is such a blessing to be able to step in with help in emergencies like this and bring hope and joy to a family in desperate need. Pamela is due to have her operation in April!
*names have been changed to protect those featured.