This Saturday I woke to the news that a little boy named Alex had passed away in the early hours of Friday morning at Wellspring clinic in Uganda. He was just three years old, underweight, suffering from pneumonia and malaria and at 4am he died from AIDS.
Some of our team in Uganda went home with his family on Friday morning and stayed with them for a couple of hours. Just being family to them and showing them love in the midst of one of the hardest situations they will ever have to face.
When I first met Alex he was a very quiet little guy. Not shy – but I guess he lacked the energy he needed to be truly enthusiastic about playing games with us. He was struggling with mal-nutrition and sickness and in my time in Uganda I saw very little improvement in his condition. But since September the team at Revelation Life saw dramatic changes in Alex. He was started on a feeding programme and the longer he spent on it, the better he got… slowly gaining strength and re-finding his personality. Unfortunately in the end though Alex couldn’t win this battle.
As I sat on Saturday afternoon with Becky, one of our team from Uganda, having coffee it was strange to chat about Alex and him losing his battle against sickness. Here I was sitting in a nice coffee shop in Bath, trying to make sense of the death of a little guy I had met a handful of times, who was just 3 years old. Feeling very far removed from the whole situation and yet knowing the pain that is all too real in everyday life in Africa.
Catherine writes, “I have learnt this week that you can’t win every fight. Sometimes you are defeated. This week one child lost his battle. This weekend a three year old child will be put into the ground. Each day 30,000 children under 5 years old die in Africa. On Friday one of the 30,000 had a face; one of the 30,000 was one of our loved ones.”
There are days, living in England, when it is hard to remember that each of the 30,000 has a face. Saturday was a day when it was all too easy to understand.
And so we trudge on, our feet hardly leaving the ground some days. Broken but knowing that we have to keep loving. For the sake of all the little ones we meet each day, who without the love of a stranger who will one day become family, may not have the chance to win their battle. I guess that some will lose their battles along the way but we commit to standing beside them during the journey regardless.
Rest easy Alex, we love you and miss you little buddy. Rest easy.