Yesterday, while I was at the grocery store (Mansa finally peaceful enough for a trip), I received a call that Joshua had take a turn for the worse and the nanny was going to take him to the clinic. A few minutes later they called me back to say that he had already died.
This was sudden but not altogether unexpected. We already knew that Joshua had been exposed to HIV. He was receiving medicine for this. His appetite was very poor and we had to work very hard just to get him to eat what he did--about half what he should have received.
He also had very poor muscle structure and I saw signs that led me to believe he may have had Cerebral Palsy. I sent his information and pictures to a doctor in Europe. The local clinic officer was also checking on him but Joshua's case was a bit beyond his experience.
Monday night Joshua developed a fever. We continued to treat him for dehydration and gave him his other medications but when he came for Family Time that evening, there was something about the look of him that told me he wasn't going to last long. I prayed it wasn't so, but I've been here too many times. My main thought that night was that I hoped he didn't have to suffer too long. I've seen some of our babies fight so long and hard for every breath and it just breaks your heart when they ultimately lose their battle.
The fact that Joshua passed so quickly was, honestly, a relief. He was a quiet baby and didn't seem to be in pain even right up to the end. His body just wasn't ready to live here on earth. When his grandmother came to collect his body for the funeral, she said that he had struggled from birth and they were surprised he survived as long as he did.
One of our nannies has only been working here for a few weeks. This was the first death she's had to deal with here. I asked her yesterday evening how she was doing and she nearly cried as she told me how Joshua had made her happy and that she liked taking care of him. And that is the gift Joshua brought to this world, in the 6 short months he lived, he brought joy to people's lives. And now he's joyful in Heaven.
Joshua--You were loved!