Friday, October 14, 2005

Boipelo's Story - continued II

Once she was back at work I have to admit it wasn’t long before I’d forgotten all about her illness. She was back to her usual self; full of the joys of life and living life to the full. In retrospect she probably was a little more subdued at times and she wasn’t going out after work as often as previously but at the time I, like most others in the Salon environment, didn’t think much about it. She had been sick, she had undergone a period of convalescence and she was in the process of regaining her full strength. At least that was the way it seemed. Within a few months of her returning to work though Boipelo was once again taking time off work. In fact she stopped going into work altogether. We heard through the grapevine that she was having a break from work and that she planned to return to work after a few months. I have to admit that I never questioned this scenario. After all Boipelo was a twenty year old girl who wanted a break from work and a time to relax. It didn’t seem that unusual to me. Furthermore, the girls in the Salon had heard that Boipelo had been partying at the Orapa Beer Festival and was back enjoying her social life. Good luck to her I thought.
Nevertheless the reality of the situation was somewhat different. By November 2002 Boipelo was admitted to Nyambgabwe Hospital in Francistown. Nyambgabwe Hospital isn’t like any other hospital I’d ever visited before. Having been born and raised in the UK I think of hospitals as places where sick people go by and large to get better. The situation at Nyambgabwe is somewhat different though. It is a place where many people go to die. Betty has bitter memories of her time in Nyambgabwe from the time when she gave birth to our son Bongani in June 2000. Bongani, whose name means Thank you God, was born by Caesarean. Millions of women every year have Caesareans without complication in the North but in the developing world the situation couldn’t be more different. Betty lost so much blood that she nearly died. It was only by the grace of God that she lived to raise her son. Thus understandably a visit to Nyambgabwe was never a pleasant experience for Betty.

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