Few things disgust mankind like rats and fleas. Now, diseased rats and fleas takes it to another level. If the two would only stick together, like old friends, we would have no problem. But, the fleas have had enough of their nasty hosts and looked for greener pastures. The target, unsuspecting Madagascar inhabitants. With them they carry a bacteria causing the beobonic plague. If left untreated, it goes to the lungs and can then be transferred like the common cold.
As usual, the government tried to minimize the issue. Then suddenly the plague is bummed up to level two after multiple deaths. Panic struck the upper class and everybody clammered for masks and antibiotics. Within a day or two, there are no masks available in any pharmacy in Antananarivo, the capital. So ironical. Madagascar, one of the poorest nations in the world, gets hit by a plague that only the rich is concerned about. If you have to choose between mask or meal – what will you do? It is a no brainer. So it grew.
Our problem is 150 children, packed into 5 houses like sardines. No wiggle room and trapped. Disaster waiting to happen. Then the bomb drops. Eina, one of our teenage girls, gets diagnosed with the plague. She goes to the plague ward of one of the local hospitals. The rest of the center is quarantined. No one to leave their house and everybody on medicine. We also have more than 80 workers, house moms, cleaners, cooks, etc. coming in and out of the center. You can just imagine the implication.
In our small group we pray and Jean Claude gets a scripture – Psalm 91 I will say of the LORD “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” Surely He will save you from the deadly pestilence. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. Thousand may fall around you, but it will not come near you …. How awesome is that.
On a lighter note, I suggested to my neighbor that we should start a business with cats. “We will make a fortune” I say. “No way” he said. “Tana rats are bigger than cats.” That was the end of my brainwave!
Another plague descended on my house this month. I woke up and looked at my watch – 4:20 am it read. With a bladder yelling bloody murder – I make my way to the loo. I finish my business and turn around to flush. In the darkness, I noticed a light going on and off – on and off. My foggy brain did not have but a second to contemplate, when a Malagasy man appeared in full view about 30 cm from my face. Like a geyser erupting – adrenaline squirted into my veins. Next thing my mouth opens and I hear myself bellow like a man with a bullhorn ” Hey!!!!” The head ducked down below the window and I spun around like a ballerina on speed. I ran through my house like a trapped bull and bashed the doors wide open. Like a mad man I ran around my house. I was going to help a Malagasy man with his decision making process. The only problem is that I had long forgotten about Jesus and missionary. I think God had mercy on my soul that morning. If my house exit strategy was better executed, I might have been looking at Madagascar from behind bars.
When the dust had settled, we noticed that the barbed – wire in the back, had been cut. Our privacy had been intruded on. Like a Jack in the box, I am up and out of bed at the slightest of noise. Now, that is a plague of a different color.
Remember, you only have now. Don’t live an illusion. Peace be with you.
Love you guys,