As If I Never Left

After a short visit to Canada I am now back in Guayaquil. It’s like I was never gone. Everything is familiar and feels like home. My phone started to ring right away. “Ñana” (a short form for sister) said a weary voice “you are home”. Maxima is a new friend who I was privileged to meet a couple months ago. She has sickle cell anaemia. Maxima is from Onzole but made the arduous trek to a Guayaquil hospital and she was hoping I could come see her.

When I first met her, I heard of her family’s history plagued by death due to this rare blood disease. Her parents had sold all their cows and plots of their land to pay for Maxima’s treatments. Treatments which her other sisters had received but hadn’t helped; they had all passed away. I sat on her bedside in the dark wooden house, trying to focus my eyes on the skeletal figure that lay motionless in front of me. Death loomed in the shadows, I could feel it coming, pressing down on us.

Maxima needs blood to continue living, blood to replace the cells in her body that were twisted and damaged, blood to flow through her thirsty veins and bring life back to her emaciated body. The doctors told Maxima she needs a pint of blood every four months or she will die. The family had used all their money, with nothing left Maxima looked death in the face and accepted this would be her fate. Another life in peril because they couldn’t afford basic healthcare.

Before leaving Ecuador, I paid off Maxima’s debts. I bought her new blood and tomorrow I will buy more. This is how money can shine. It’s not my money, when you live in community, you carry one another’s hardships. Maxima will live. Why do we hold onto our things so tightly when letting go of our things could mean life for somebody else? Life through medical intervention, life through getting to go to school, life through literacy, life through relationships. The colossal divide between those who have and those who have not is growing at an alarming rate. I choose to stand in the in between and offer my hands as part of the bridge.