When Sydney left I found myself wanting to go home with her. I worried how I would deal with being here with just Angie and I. I worried that we would not get along or it would be awkward between us. I wondered how the transition would go. These thoughts stirred on Sydney’s last day as her last day turned into the longest day up to that point.
The day started off with a very early morning in order to finish up last minute errands and shopping with Sydney. Shopping and driving around in Guyana takes more energy than you can imagine. The sun had beat us down by lunch but PAL was still ahead of us. We were thankful for the sun because we had planned a day of games to celebrate friendship and build up PAL attendance. Minutes after arriving to PAL a 12 year old girl walked in with gauze loosely wrapped around her toe. We called her to us to ask what happened and as we looked into this deep gash she told us she had ripped the bottom of her toe open. Story one was that she cut it on glass while walking barefoot. Story two was that she was climbing a wooden fence to pick mango’s and caught it on a nail. Either way she needed stitches. Angie called Colin, who is our team driver and involved in the work in Prosperity City, to see if he was available to pick us up and be our ride for the evening. He gave up his family night and Sydney and I got our Guyana hospital experience.
However we had to finish PAL first so at 5:30 we were putting all of us in a Taxi and heading to a private hospital, which at home would be like a clinic for those who cannot afford insurance. There are public hospitals in Guyana, but the long wait would have meant Sydney would have missed her flight and we would have been the star attractions. Angie was with our girl, leaving Sydney and I alone. We had our first test of alertness and observation – and I think we passed! This experience was normal for Angie, but seeing our little tough girl break in tenderness and trust was worth every dollar spent and the changing of our plans for our last night together as a group.
We left the hospital at 9:00 pm, but our girl was shoe-less and had 10 stitches in her toe. To get home she would have to walk through mud and water. So, she got shoes, but where do you go when the city is closed up? You go to the sketchiest market in town. I was the one with the same shoe size so Sydney got to sit in the safe car with the driver while I got to experience “the night life.” So, shoes are bought but our money is low. So, off to the ATM so our Taxi driver who was on the clock can be paid. Finally we are ready for our trek back across the river. Our conversation focuses on how she will take care of her foot and Angie quizzes her on when she is to take her medicine each day. Imagine a twelve year old being responsible for her own care and well-being.
As we drive into Prosperity City Sydney and I are worried. It’s late and dark. Colin turns to us and says he will walk her home. A few hours later we are taking Sydney to the airport for her trip home. The lesson learned that night is how the missionary life is unexpected and situations come up that brings you to a decision about what is more important. ….us watching NCIS together one last time or learning that her toe was infected because we put our own selfish desire ahead of her obvious need.