Shanksteps #78- Greg
We are now in the cooler season (85-90 deg during the day).Â There was a case of Polio (a disease that paralyses extremities) here in the north of Cameroon.Â So the last three days have been designated by the government for vaccination of all children 0-5 yrs.Â That means that vaccinators go from house to house vaccinating all the children.Â As doctors of the hospital we are included in the supervision of the vaccination in our area.
When they are vaccinated they are given the oral polio vaccine and then marked on their finger with a mark to show they were vaccinated.Â Then we can tell who has been vaccinated or not.Â Also the house is marked in a way to know how many of the children were vaccinated.
So I go to houses and check and make sure they were vaccinated.Â Some houses are done well; others have missed some children because they were out with their mothers in the fields or at school or elsewhere.Â So they get vaccinated the next day.
In walking around I get to see more of the community.Â Â I greet many people sitting under trees shelling out peanuts, grinding up food on a hollow rock, or threshing millet.Â Other old men or women are watching small children at home.Â This consists of letting the children wander all over while the grandpa sleeps under a tree or shade of the hanger (a “roof” on posts that is there to store millet and other things out of reach of the goats and other animals).
I decided to go up the hill and check some houses that were out of the way.Â One group of huts was perched on a large rock.Â An old man lay sleeping on a “bed” of sticks with a rock as his pillow.Â A small boy was playing with a scrap of cloth a few inches in length.Â After waking the grandpa we found out that there were three children in the age range.Â They hadn’t been vaccinated.
Walking further we came upon two huts with one dirty old woman who walked with a stick as a cane.Â She lived there by herself.Â She had one relative in the valley but didn’t want to live in the valley.Â When asked where she got water, she said that she would go down to the valley and about a mile away pull up water from the well.Â Then she would carry it back to her house.Â I can see why many of these people don’t bathe very often.Â Life for her looked very hard, but she preferred it to the valley.
Moving on to the last house.Â It was also half way up the mountain and perched on a large rock.Â Â After scrambling up the rock path we arrived at the group of huts.Â Two old men sat face to face with a chicken on one’s lap.Â A little boy of about 7 couldn’t decide to run and hide or stay and watch the strangers.Â His mother was near by nursing a little newborn.Â She had a torn shirt and skirt that didn’t cover much.Â But then again, women’s chests are not private here.Â They greeted us warmly with
the usual shaking of hands.Â They had been to the valley and were vaccinated.Â I saw the man pulling something off the chickens’ legs as it lay on his lap.Â I asked him if he was preparing it to eat.Â Then the other old man of the house decided it was time for us to go.Â The guy translating for me said he was a “fettisher” traditional witchdoctor that was getting ready to do a sacrifice.Â He is the one people come to see to cast spells on people, find out how a journey will go, or foretell the future.
My translator asked him what he saw for the coming year as far as disease was concerned.Â He said it would be a very difficult year and more disease than last year, with many deaths.Â Shaking his hand I agreed with him that the Bible says times would get worse and worse until Jesus comes.Â The “fettisher” asked me to pray to my God and he would pray to his gods about this.Â I said I would pray to my God and also hope that someday he would know my God that loves him and sacrificed for him.Â He smiled
and we parted ways.Â After scrambling down the rock we prayed for him and his family that they would come to know Jesus that died for them.Â It is a strange feeling to know that you were in the presence of someone that communicates with the devil in a direct way.Â Please remember us as we try to reach people like this that do not know God and haven’t had a chance to yet.
In His Service, Shanks