• May 28, 2014

Because of your friendship, I am still alive

by Jessica Anderson, vol­un­teer in Dakar, Senegal

"F. has been friends with our Heart’s Home for 21 years, since the very begin­ning. She works at Mbeaubeaus - Dakar’s dump- doing extremely dif­fi­cult labor for hardly any salary. F. is prob­ably one of our friends that suf­fers the most for a variety of rea­sons: mar­riage/family-wise, finan­cially wise, and also from lone­li­ness. When she’s sick there’s no one who takes care of her, so we invited her to rest at our house for a week during Holy week and Easter.

She arrived Wednesday night in com­plete phys­ical suf­fering. Her entire body hurting and tired, she couldn’t do much but leave her bed. I started to pray and took charge of giving her all of her numerous medicines throughout the day. Therefore, I spent a lot of time with her and I was really touched by the trust that started to build from this rela­tion. It’s true that the way to build a friend­ship is through fidelity. On Good Friday, the day of the pas­sion of Christ, F. was also suf­fering a sort of pas­sion. There was a par­allel hard to mis­take in F. with the suf­fering Jesus that I didn’t realize until later. Throughout the day I would walk in her room, her body hot with fever and her groaning in pain. In the evening, Charlotte and I gave her a mas­sage with mint leaves to try and help her relax her tired mus­cles a bit. As I was mas­saging her feet and legs and Charlotte her shoul­ders, Charlotte remarked, “You know, I was a bit sad all day because Jesus (in the Eucharist) isn’t in the chapel. But then I real­ized that he’s just out­side the chapel,” ges­turing to F. That’s it! That’s exactly it. In this moment, I real­ized my mis­sion more clearly than ever: tending to the wounded Christ, our wounded humanity.

F. is better now. Keeping in rhythm with Jesus, she was better by Easter Sunday. She was healed on the feast of Jesus: He res­ur­rected and she did too. F. dressed in a beau­tiful BouBou and even danced. "Without Heart’s Home," she said, "I think I would have already died. Because of you and your real friend­ship, I am not alone."

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