At this point, I am so confused in my mind. How could parents allow their child to become so ill? Why did they wait so long for treatment? But, I also know, to some degree, the way people in this area live and think. Even with funding, travel to Kumasi is a burden on the family, especially if it is during any type of harvest. People don't realize how serious an injury, or an illness could be. They just do their best to keep their loved one comfortable.
When I saw Gurggisberg on November 20, he could not stand or sit. He could not eat. We told his family that he had to go to the regional hospital in Lawra so he could get strong so he could go back to Kumasi to the hospital. So, on the 21, they sandwiched Gurggisberg in between two people on a motorcycle and tied him on so he could make the trip to the hospital. We called a few times during the week. Gurggisberg was eating porridge – a good sign! Razak saw him on Friday and he had asked Zak for some meat. Zak bought him some & he ate two bites. Razak then had to go to Wa for the weekend to attend classes. Sunday evening, Razak received word that Gurggisberg had died at the hospital that day. He was 13 years old.
So, on November 28, Razak and I went to Kunyukuo for the funeral. Here in the north, burial is usually within 24 hours. I am guessing Gurggisberg died later sometime Sunday. As we approached the family home, we could hear the weeping and wailing of the women along with the mournful "song" of the gyil (wooden xylophone.) They had him “staged” – not really laid out, but sitting in a chair - and others were digging a grave in the distance. (On closer look,to me, the grave looked like a small circular hole. I was amazed at how a grave is dug up here.) Anyway, Gurggisberg was buried Monday night. It was thought that Gurggisberg had some type of cancer.
Meanwhile, at times I still struggle. And, I get angry with myself because I can see and understand so many facets of what happened. I can understand why Gurggisberg's parents did not take him for treatment. I also can't understand why they didn't take him. Why didn't they come for the funds to travel to Kumasi to the better hospital? Why did they allow him to get so weak? I know he was a burden to the family. I also know he was loved. Living in the Upper West Region is harsh, for the farmers, for the "professionals", for the families and, for the sick.
Gurggisberg’s father was especially grateful for the care, concern, prayer and provision given to his son by people he had never met. I pray that this experience will draw him closer to the Creator of Life and not away from Him.