a true story written by a doctor who worked in Africa .
One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in
spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature
baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty
keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity
to run an incubator).
We also had no special
Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with
treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for
such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in.
went to stoke up
the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress
to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes
easily in tropical climates)..
'And it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed. As in the West,
it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central
Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst
water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores
down forest pathways.
' I said, 'put
the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby
and the door to keep it free from drafts Your job is to keep the baby
following noon, as I
did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage
children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various
suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby.
I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning
the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got
chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her
mother had died.