Tales from the Bush: Jesse McKenna

Over the last two months at FAME, I have learned and experienced much more than I could have expected. There is one day, though, that stands out from the rest and it involves a little girl and her family. Renata is an eight-year-old FAME patient, who is currently in congestive heart failure due to rheumatic heart disease. During one of her follow-up visits, her weight, which had dropped since her last visit, became a major concern, so we all pulled together to determine how best to put some weight back on this frail little girl. Armed with a shopping list and some pocket money, Jacob (FAME's translator), and I headed into Karatu town to purchase some food items for Renata and her family. After getting all the items on our list, Jacob and I visited the family in their house, and we explained exactly how we wanted Renata to eat in order to gain weight. We bought very simple items: eggs, peanut butter, honey, bread, bananas, biscuits, and chocolate. Had anyone been there to observe the thanks we received, they would have thought we had bought them a new house. Everyone in the family individually thanked Jacob and I, and then they prayed for several minutes. I asked Jacob afterward what the prayers were, and he told me that they were thanking the director of the hospital and the people who were helping Renata to have a better life. This day is one of those days that makes me realize I am doing exactly what I want and need to do. Renata and her family inspire me to continue the work I am doing with those that need it most.