Suwaju is the name of a boy at The Covering, in Sierra Leone. I met him when I travelled there in May. The first day we arrived and were introduced to him, he had a huge, swollen jaw. Really huge....softball size, at least. He was very conscious of it and turned his face when he was spoken to, trying to hide it as best he could.
Thinking that he had a nasty abcess, his sponsor who was with us, worked to try to get him an appointment with a dentist. That took a few days, but by the middle of the week, he had been seen. They said his tooth was so badly infected that they couldn't do anything with it until the infection got better. So, he was put on some antibiotics and told to come back in a few days.
I can't remember exactly the order of events that took place, but needless to say that when we left, the issue was still a concern. After we returned home, we received word that after more trips to the dentist and then being referred to a doctor, he had a broken jaw. Amazing. This sweet boy had been living with a broken jaw and not even complaining about it!
It hurt. No doubt about that. But, rather than cry or complain about it (because, honestly, he probably knew they couldn't do anything for him, anyway) he just went on about his day.
Well, we've been home over a month now, and we just got news that Suwaju has been diagnosed with cancer. In the States, it's treatable. In Sierra Leone, it's a death sentence. My heart is broken.....again.
The Raining Season has been in contact with St. Jude's. They have agreed to treat him for free if we can get him here. A family has already come forward and volunteered to keep him and see him through his treatment. TRS is trying to get a medical visa for him to be able to come, but the government officials are suspicious of anyone trying to take children out of the country. They are afraid he'll be sold or that someone intends to keep him here, apparently.
My heart is broken for him. He is sick, needs help and will die if he doesn't get it. We have what he needs and yet, it's not a "done deal" that we can give it to him, even though we are willing. He's a beautiful boy who has strength and resolve that many adults do not possess. Still, he is a young boy with cancer....without a mommy to hold him and reassure him.
What he does have are 79 brothers and sisters who do love him, but will lose him if he doesn't get help. He has a staff of workers and caregivers that love him, also. He came from a village called Shenge, where one or both of his parents died in a ferry accident. The village lost around 200 adults that day, which left them with too many children to feed and not enough adults to provide. More than 30 kids from Shenge live at The Covering now.
I have no idea how this situation will end, but I'm praying that God's would move the hearts of the government officials and the people at the embassy so that Suwaju at least has a chance at life. If not, he will die in an orphanage....with 80 other precious kids watching.