A group of villagers, one of whom carried a small child with a bloody foot, headed toward me.
A man screamed. “The mother stabbed her daughter in the foot with a butcher knife.”
Some villagers put the child on a log and I sat next to her and lifted the child’s foot onto my lap. “Please bring me a bar of soap and a bucket of water.”
Ten minutes later I took a deep breath and sighed. “What is taking so long?”
“They are looking for firewood to boil the water.”
“I don’t want boiling water.”
Someone handed me a bar of soap and a bucket of water. I scrubbed the foot three times. “Please bring a clean headscarf to dress the wound.”
I pulled out a tissue, folded it in half, ripped it into two pieces
and put one part on top of the foot and the other on the bottom where the knife exited.
Sitting next to the child, I felt her small hand on my thigh and looked down. She looked up at me. I smiled and she stopped crying. Maintaining pressure with my right hand, I used my left to rip another piece from the top tissue. Then I reached over and wiped her tears with it. I knew where I should be.
I should be treating sick African villagers in rural areas. Every village I visited over the past month was in need of health care. No hospitals, clinics or pharmacies existed outside of the cities.