I called him Pasaka. Easter sounded like a girl’s name. Pasaka, the Swahili equivalent sounds much more masculine. As a matter of fact, it did not really what I named him. He was a nameless piece of trash, discovered by someone and dropped at one of the orphanages we support. We estimated his age to be about 3 months and his weight to be less than 2 pounds. Pasaka, looked more like a large starving dirty rabbit than a human child. He was dehydrated and malnourished, with each of his cheek bones protruding and his eyes receding into his small face. He responded to pain by withdrawing his limbs, as we searched in vain to find a place to put a needle for rehydrating fluids. I took the alternative route of directly sticking a needle into his foreleg, just below the knee, deep into the marrow. It is a common route for extreme cases of dehydration in infants and worked this time. We estimated Pasaka’s weight and began rapid infusion of balanced salt solutions with boluses of glucose to give energy to his obviously starving frame.
Pasaka was one of five children I admitted this Easter week. Three of them severely sick enough to die, and one severe enough that he did die. Pasaka seemed as though he would live. I was too tired and too busy to check on him a fifth time as the child which followed him came in between three c’sections and I only heard about this fifth child’s death on arrival. He supposedly had pneumonia. It is hard to tell much about a child whom you find in a garbage dump.
This Easter has been memorable for these several admissions for nameless children clinging to life in a world and on a day when all we think about is Easter eggs and bunny rabbits with jelly beans and chocolates.
Pasaka, should he survive, will know different. If he lives, it is because Christ lives, and has inspired people like you, to send people like me to stick needles in his bones, as Christ had nails pierce His hands.