• August 22, 2012

Living up to Our Promisses: Bathing Niña Narcisa

Courtney and Fabiane with Nina Narcisa

Courtney P., on mis­sion in El Salvador, brings to us her friend Niña Narcisa, who just passed. Some lines to honor this dear friends’ memory.

“Shortly after I arrived here, my sis­ters of com­mu­nity Ana Laura and Fabiane invited me to help them bathe a woman, an elderly dia­betic friend living in the house. When we entered the small room of their house, I could hear her crying from pain on the other side of the wall, which was a simple piece of wood dividing the room in two small sep­a­rate rooms. Peering around the wall, I caught a glimpse of Niña Narcisa, lying naked on her bed, howling in pain. When asked why he had not taken his wife to the hos­pital, Don José Luis replied through tears, “I can´t afford it and a woman once went to the hos­pital and died”. We helped her into her clothes, put her in the wheelchair we have, and strolled her to the nearby clinic. The doctor gave her medicine for the par­a­sites she had and we began to check on her every few days. For months, we girls bathed her in her bed and Thomas and Faby took her to her doc­tors’ visits. When it came time for the removal of her cast, which kept get­ting post­poned because her foot wasn’t yet healed, we were all as full of joy as she was.

There were moments where I was scrub­bing her soiled laundry and wanted to flee the hot enclosed back­room of her house that was filled with strong unpleasant smells (our friend could not leave her bed and refused to use depends). I prayed hard in these moments for strength and com­pas­sion. One day, I even thought to myself, “Okay. This is enough! Someone else can finish this pro­ject.” I looked over and saw Fabiane gra­ciously tending to Niña Narcisa’s bed­sores and reality hit. NO, we can’t leave. She has no chil­dren. We are her friends. We are her family. We are it! My own words I used to describe my mis­sion before I left for El Salvador started to echo in my head. “We do every­thing a friend would do. We give people back the dig­nity that has been lost.” How easy it had been for me to say those things. To make promises. But, to live it, that is where faith, hope, and love truly come into play. Once I real­ized all of this it became so much easier. It is love. I see Jesus in this woman. Everything I do, I do for Him. And I know she sees Jesus when she sees each one of us. This is evi­dent at the end of every visit, when she looks up at us, asks God to bless us, and gives us a big smile that shows off the gaps of her missing teeth.”

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