Coughing in a Storm

This weekend passed by in what seemed to be one massive rain cloud, a cloud that would not pass through town itself, that lingered and dumped much-needed rain on Mokhotlong in torrential bursts and constant drizzles.

An ever-changing pattern of angry dark grays and wispy light grays clouded in around the mountain peaks, obscuring them from view and making the town itself seem like a giant ship cast out and isolated in a raging storm.

Here the rain is a joyful event, it means life, and the people in town seem to hole up away from the pervasive wetness not in dreary acceptance, but in appreciative retreat — retreat from wetness and worry all at once.

Amidst the bubble of rain, though, even in TTL’s warm and dry safe-home, Nthabiseng’s slight cough and congestion progressed to the point where her breathing became worrisome — where we thought she could soon stop breathing all together, and at any moment. We took her to the hospital on Saturday afternoon, and there she was looked over by the doctor and admitted in the children’s ward. A chest X-ray was taken today, but no doctor has reviewed it yet.

So, while the sky has opened up at last and the sun has made its first appearance in days, we are still in the dark as to Nthabiseng’s condition.

Here, what seems like a chest cold can just as easily be TB. It’s a scary thing to wonder about the fate of a child who one day is giggling happily, and the next is laboring to breath, and whose antibiotic prescription doesn’t seem to be working.

“Do you think it’s TB?” you find yourself asking the doctor.

“Could be,” he says.

“Ach,” you say, and you look into the sky and the clouds billow greatly there, and you wonder about it all and the fate of one tiny child in such a big world.


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