And all of this heartache and sadness will end ...

And all of this heartache and sadness will end ...

The whole drama surrounding little Scola's life, and her death, has both deeply saddened and angered me. I first met Scola three years ago when I helped the family reunite a group of orphans in a distant village with relatives here in our village. Scola was just two-years old, recently orphaned when both her parents died of AIDS. She was already on the AIDS medications herself and so when she came to live with her aunt we got her enrolled in the program at the Lugoda Hospital and arranged for her to get on the bus every month to get to the hospital to continue getting her medicines. A couple of months ago I saw in the reports that Scola didn't get on the bus and went to see her and her Aunt Sarafina. The conversation was awkward -- Sarafina claimed that her faith in God would heal her niece.

I wanted to cry.

I went to see her pastor who advised and advised over and again that she take the child for treatment, but she would have none of it.

Was it not truly a miracle that God had provided free medication at the hospital? Was it not beyond a miracle that God had provided a bus for free transport to even get to the hospital? What more could anyone want of God who had provided in so many ways for dear Scola to stay alive? And yet somewhere her aunt got the idea that God wanted Sarafina to just have the faith that Scola would be healed and that the girl would be.

Poor Scola started to swell from the affects of AIDS. The government got involved and Sarafina ended up in court, defiantly writing a letter stating that she would be responsible for Scola's death in the event the little girl died. And poor Scola continued to bloat up more and more with fluid as she tried to play with the other children.

It was two days before she died that we saw her last. Her Aunt Sarafina will have to appear in court, and we will go there that day, not because in any way it will bring Scola back, but because there are other children in these villages who aren't getting the treatment mostly because their own parents have died and those who are left to take care of them are either too lazy or too overwhelmed to make the effort to take them to the hospital, and in a few cases because they too have been infected with a crazy idea that if they only have enough faith that the children will be healed. As a Christian it's hard to watch God's love and care for us be misrepresented and misinterpreted and end in the death of an innocent young child. Anger over Scola could consume me, but I have to pick up and move on. There are many other children in these villages and we have to scoop up and save as many of them as we possibly can.

As we get closer and closer to the opening day of our AIDS clinic (it is so lovely!), I look forward to the day when it will be serving all of my friends in these villages. I long for its "opening day", but I also long for its "closing day" -- as we pray hard for a cure and for the day when there won't even be a need for a special AIDS clinic because a cure will have been found and all of this heartache and sadness will end ....

Many thanks for your partnership with us. You can't see little Scola and all of these other kids here and not want very much for a cure to be found soon ...

Susan