The fate of jungle living, poverty, ignorance, superstition, devil worship, difficult travel, and remote mountain clinics.
Deep in the jungle, nestled between mountain ranges, lies the village of NyaLeeGwee, which consists of about 30 houses made of bamboo, or rough boards with leaf or tin roofs. A young mother, NawBlet, is experiencing difficult labor in her bamboo hut. It is her 4th child, but this one is past her due date and is too large. The women of the village who usually help with deliveries cannot get the baby out. They struggle, they pull, and finally a healthy baby boy is born, April 30, 2023
NawBlet however, is not well. For 2 weeks after the delivery, her condition steadily worsens. She is swollen, has trouble breathing, and cannot eat much of anything. She doesn’t want to go to the hospital because they chose to do it the devil way. The family believes that when someone is sick the spirits leave the person and must be called back. If they go too far away, the person dies. So, this family decides to offer sacrifices, do the special devil prayers and ceremonies to please the spirits and call them back. However, nothing worked and NawBlet only got worse.
Sunday night, May 14, she was so desperately sick they found some transportation to take her the hour and a half drive over dreadful roads to MeDooGlow clinic/hospital. This clinic has been upgraded and now includes X-ray, simple lab procedures, and a little in-patient facility. A doctor is there only one day per week, but NawBlet arrives late Sunday night when there is no doctor. She cannot walk and the family struggles to get her in the entrance. The hospital personnel quickly tell them:
“Go home. Nothing is wrong with her, what she is experiencing is normal!”
Karen people are submissive, don’t ask questions, never fight back, always look up to the educated Thai hospital personnel, and do what they are told without knowing the reasons why. So, they took her all the way back home. By 4 a.m.however, it seemed to them that she was facing death, so they took her back to the clinic, and she was finally taken to Omkoi hospital in a truck, another hour and a half away. This hospital is a small village hospital without specialists and cannot do surgery. So, she is then put in an ambulance to travel 3 hours to Chiang Mia!
In the ambulance, somewhere on the way, NawBlet called weakly to her husband. He came and took her hand, a small tear came from her eye, and she passed away.
(I’m crying as I write this)
NawBlet’s mother had 9 children. Now, counting NawBlet, 4 of her children have already passed away. This lady lost her husband when NawBlet was one year old. She struggled to raise all her children by herself and now she must raise all 4 of her grandchildren: A three-week-old baby boy, 2 year old girl, and 2 more boys I am guessing about 5 and 6 years old.
1. Five years ago, this grandma broke her wrist and we took her to the hospital.
2. That same year the 5-year-old had just been born and did not thrive. He was dehydrated, feverish and not taking milk. We took that baby to the hospital. He had to spend some time in ChiangMai NICU. When they finally came home, we brought them formula, baby bottles, and supplies because they had nothing. Then the baby improved and thrived. His life had been spared!
3. Six years ago, HtuDah was bitten by a green pit viper and we took him to the hospital.
We didn’t know about this tragedy until this week. so, we immediately flew into action, purchasing diapers, formula, and baby bottles. We travelled by motorbike up that jungle mountain. I must tell you that the rainy season has begun already. We have had intermittent storms since May 1. Consequently the pathway to NyaLeeGwee calls for nerves of steel, balancing on a narrow, steep, ruttted pathway with the wheels at times 6 inches from the cliff! on both sides of the pathway. (Give or take a few). No room for error, that’s for sure. We had to cross the water 5 times. I wore a large heavy backpack and was barely able to hang on, my body weight wanting to flip right off the back! While BletJhaw skillfully and energetically maneuvered that motorbike. However, all those struggles paled into insignificance when I held that beautiful little baby in my arms and looked into the eyes of the other 3 children, the precious grandma, and the bereaved father! Best of all we could bring them hope for the future, and the sweet gospel story. We prayed with that houseful of people, bringing them into contact with heaven. They know absolutely nothing about God. Please include HtuDah, the grandma, and 4 children in your prayers because God has brought us into close contact with them under very emotional times. These are the times when God can be seen and felt more deeply. We will be visiting often.
“Never does the gospel put on an aspect of greater loveliness than when it is brought to the most needy and destitute regions.” 7T 226.2
It is most needy and destitute when devil worship is practiced and the people live in bamboo huts deep in the jungle living out the customs of their ancestors 100 years ago!