By Melina Perkins
Inspired By Geoffrey Kalebbo
“Will it ever change? Illness, death, devastation, mourning. Are we even making a difference?” All of these thoughts were racing through my head, as I clambered out of the flimsy stretcher bed and pushed back the grubby mosquito nets. It was the beginning of my third month in Bangladesh, working as a translator with a group of missionaries. So far, it felt like we weren’t making much progress.
I pushed open the flaps of the tent and I was hit with the noise and poignant smell of people already lining up for medical care. There were skeletal mothers holding onto babies with oversized heads and bloated stomachs, whilst grubby toddlers covered in sores, clung to their mothers’ legs. There were older children, dressed in rags, trying to comfort restless youngsters, and prevent them from disturbing the elderly, who were crouching in the dust moaning and weeping.
My muscles tensed as I saw this horrific scene. How unfair life is, to leave people living in a state like this, helpless and desperate. Trying to ignore the pleading calls and tugs on my clothes, I pushed through the line of people and entered into the aid workers tent. I picked up some rice, and carried on through into the medical tent. I set up my table, and the patients began filing in. Throughout the day I worked hard translating for the doctors. It seemed that there was just one distraught case after another.
Just before midday closing, I recognized a girl. She was about the age of nine and looked worse than ever. She had a bloated belly, sunken eyes, a skeleton of a body, and sores all over her arms and legs. Yet when she saw me, her eyes lit up and a huge smile spread across her face. I waved and smiled back, but inside I struggled, I struggled to see what she could be happy about.
After the break, I trudged back to the medical tent and was disappointed to see that the line hadn’t got any shorter. Arriving at the tent, I was told...