We just got married and had 50 boys
When malaria hit, we all got sick
No money, no know-how to cope with this
It was algebra for us country hicks!
Walking up Nigam Road that day
Was a flute-playing-hippy coming our way
He wore a loin cloth, thongs and beard
Was this help an answer to prayer?
On our own we’re weak, but God even fights for Selaqui!
The story goes like this:
“Turn off the fan, guys, it’s cold.”
Every eye stared at me. We were sitting on the floor in August, and it was hot. Turning off the fan was just not done, neither in the day or in the night. In August? Never.
“Guys, it’s cold. Turn off the fan.”
Reluctantly, but respectfully, the fan was turned off. Looking at one another with questioned-marked faces, the boys shrugged their shoulders. I was intensely cold and got up from the floor. I went into the bedroom to put on a sweater.
The boys surely had an inkling of what was happening, for every one of them had just recovered from malaria. I was a hotbed of sickness. Wearing a sweater wasn’t enough. I lay down on the bed and asked for a blanket, then another blanket, then a heavy quilt, until the weight of all the bedding was too much. I shivered violently. I wasn’t thinking clearly, but after caring for all the boys, Yip knew how to proceed without asking a doctor. Yip dosed me up with chloroquine. In time, I recovered.
Much to my horror, our 1-year-old daughter was next. She also recovered normally. Finally, Yip, the last, became sick. He out-did everyone by getting chloroquine resistant malaria. His was harder to diagnose and required a smart doctor. He ended up in the hospital. His recovery took over a month.
It was during that time that we spotted the happy Canadian hippy rambling up the road. In those days, foreigners were rare. We were the only ones. Any foreigner who got off the bus in Selaqui, had only to look around with confusion on his face and a villager would point up the 4 km road toward our house and he’d be on his way.
That was the day we met Sammy. He’d been told we were all down with malaria and may need some help. This uniquely attired angel came at the right time.
Sammy was searching for meaning and truth. He’d never known a “living” Jesus. He thought Jesus was just a super-hero out of a Marvel comic. As he stayed with us and spent time with our boys, Sammy’s life changed. He met a living Jesus.
He asked, “What can I do to serve Jesus?”
We couldn’t provide the answer. It was between him and God. And the answer came immediately.
“I should become a doctor!”
It seemed a bit of a joke. A flute-playing-loin-cloth-wearing-happy-hippy decides to become a doctor? Sounded a little unlikely. But Sammy had given his heart to Jesus, and that is exactly what he did.
He became a doctor and served all over the world, in the most terrible conditions. In the Rwanda genocide, in the Canadian northern territories where suicide and depression pervaded. He served in places where no other doctors would go. He was dedicated and utterly stalwart in serving Jesus. Sammy never forgot us. As he earned his money, most of it was sent to us.
It’s worth taking in the stranger—no matter how strange. It may save your life, or the stranger’s life, and gently ripple—or joyously explode—into other people’s lives.
We are all beloved.
*The background rhythm from a song by Charity Gayle, My God Fights for Me, was the inspiration for creating this song/poem. Her song, should be the tale in our lives.