Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Hideous Vulnerability of Slum-dwelling Children

I had a very fitful night's sleep last night because my mind was taken up with thinking about a little girl from one of the other classes at my afternoon school. She died suddenly on Monday night after vomiting 60% of her blood.

We don't yet know exactly what caused her illness, which came upon her only on Friday or Saturday. But apparently she went to an unqualified doctor in her neighborhood and only when things became dire did they take her to the hospital.

I know children die everyday and that these freak illnesses happen even among privileged children. But I know the children I teach are just more vulnerable to such things. They are poor, live in rather unsanitary surroundings, don't have clean water to drink, don't seem to have a huge amount of adult supervision, live very close to a lot of people, etc., etc., etc. And I guess I couldn't sleep because I have come to absolutely adore so many of these children and the thought of some of them falling victim to illnesses that really ought to be curable is really too much to stand.

I didn't know the little girl who died. I'd probably met her on the school bus at some point, but she was in another class and there isn't a lot of interclass interaction here. Apparently she was very bright and responsible.

There are horrible things at work in this world. Yes, I'm going to start a diatribe. People are greedy; they think the invisible hand will somehow take care of everything while they live the high life. People condemn poor people without attempting to understand them. Too many traditions and societies circumscribe too heavily women's activities and then ridicule and devalue these "approved" activities. And it is imperative that women and their roles be valued. It should come as no surprise that infant and child mortality rates are almost always directly tied to female literacy rates. The higher the literacy rates, the lower the child mortality rates.

I am ending the diatribe because I don't like them. They always sound self-righteous.

I love the children I work with. I was just sitting in the corner watching my afternoon class work today and they were so dilligent and interested in what they were doing and working well together and not fighting and are just so over the top beautiful.

At any rate, I am uncomfortable with all of the public display of emotion. And I'm late to meet my friends for a dance concert. I shall leave you with my afternoon kids' vocabulary word list of the day:



At July 19, 2006 9:42 PM, Blogger lily said...

Oh Lolly...
Now I am not going to be able to sleep tonight. I can't believe that poor girl...That is so very sad. You sure are seeing a lot of the world in that there city...

I am so glad you like your class and the children. I bet they just love you... you are sure doing a lot of good there, and they will miss you when you are gone.

See you in aug...

At July 21, 2006 10:39 PM, Blogger Terri said...

How hideous. This is the kind of thing that makes me question God.
I am so sad for that family that lost their little girl... I would just die-
Keep posting. I love everything, however dreadfully scary it is, that you are sharing with us all.
Love you ***


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