Voices that count

A couple of months ago, I started to get irritated with Facebook. {I blame the preggie hormones} About a week ago,I decided to leave Facebook for awhile, just until I am more my usual self. My life is about to change forever and I wanted to spend the last month before David arrives,with Stoffel. I love this man more than life itself. I have to say I am so thankful I did it, we are spending more time together and we talk about all that is on our mind. We also don’t have DSTV, so it is just the two of us in the evenings and our two furry kids. Obviously I am wise and did not close my business pages, so this might be where you found this link. Looking back now, I realised that my irritation with Facebook, might have been a God thing, because since I silenced this online voice, His voice became VERY clear.

Let me explain, and please don’t see this as an anti Facebook post. I still believe that it is a great SOCIAL tool, but for where I am at, I needed a break. I am always honest in my blogposts, people know so much about my life by reading about it. I do not mind, I chose to share. Since I can remember, people prophesied over my life that I will be a voice to the nations. This specific word gets me so excited, because I love words and love nations. I have seen how God has used me in nations already. I have seen how my presence was used by Him to change lives. It blesses my heart and I am standing in awe of Him.Then I got TB and my blog became my voice. I honestly shared my real experiences with you, the reader.

Recently I watched a video clip of Trevor Noah and Jerry Seinfeld. Two comedians having coffee. They made an interesting comment about how you can live your life in only your underwear. Everything is online now. Community, church and even buying food are online. Then Trevor Noah said something that stuck with me. He said that you can even protest online while being in your underwear, which sort of became a contradiction to what protesting is about. To protest, you need to stand actively against something and make your voice known. Today we protest by Facebook statuses or Twitter updates.

When I was just diagnosed with TB, I had to go to a TB hospital {which is a public hospital in South Africa. Medical aid does not cover TB treatment as it is to expensive.} TB is also a epidemic in our country and as a TB patient you are required by Law to register your disease. You then get a number and they track you. If you do not check in at your registered clinic for treatment EVERY week, they have people that will come and look for you. Very serious business as you can see.

Anyway, I was in this hospital to get registered, weighed and get my first week of treatment. As I was sitting in line waiting for my appointment, I sat next to a young mom and her 4 year old. You see, TB has a stigma and there are only a few certain people who further their studies in it. Unfortunately it is not always the people who speak the same language than their patients. In this case the nurse was Afrikaans and the patient’s mother was Xhosa. I then witnessed a very traumatic experience. Due to the language barrier another patient was asked to translate the afrikaans to xhosa.

This is how it works, you get three types of TB. DR which stands for Drug Resistant TB. You get treatment for it and survival rate is high. Then you get MDR TB that stands for Multiple drug resistant TB, treatment is available for it, but it is a minimum of 2 years of treatment that costs about R650 a day and it is excruciating. Survival rate is very low even after treatment.Then there is XDMR TB that stands for extreme drug resistant TB. They are in the process of discovering a treatment for it and survival rate is less than 2%. How it works is if you do not follow your treatment correctly for DR-TB the disease develops a resistance against treatment and becomes either MDR or XDMR. But both MDR and XDMR TB have now become diseases on its own. In other words, you can walk past someone that has MDR TB and you can then become affected by it, if they cough on you. You will then not start at the beginning with DR TB but will have MDR TB. It is a deadly disease that is airborne.

As the nurse was talking to the translator, my heart sank. The mother of the young patient cannot read and due to her not being able to read and understand how treatment works, her daughter’s treatment was at fault which caused MDR TB to become active. I basically watched how a young mother received a death sentence for her daughter.

Today I was reminded of this experience. Over the weekend someone mentioned how we live in a bubble. The truth is, we might think we make a difference by protesting on Facebook, and in a certain cases you do, but the real situations that need a voice of truth to bring a change, is not on Facebook. Again this weekend I watched a documentary about two teenagers who wanted to fight for freedom of speech in a closed of nation. They started a Facebook page to protest against it and soon there were a lot of followers. They mistakenly took this sudden fame as support for their cause and without thinking went to that country to make a difference, not prepared and not at all in the right light. Needless to say they soon got into a lot of trouble.

What is true in your environment, is not necessarily true in other areas. I hear people speak out against Doctors and it breaks my heart. In reality we as South Africans have the best medical trained people in the world. Just because we read a blog that is based on America’s reality does not mean it is the same in South Africa. People complain about the medical aid being to expensive. I have seen with my own eyes how desperate people are, who sit in those long lines at the public hospitals. They will give anything to have the same access to treatment than we do, yet we are not satisfied.The truth is we have become so bold on Facebook with our opinions and soon we have created a world that actually is in minority but we think our reality is the norm.

Back to me, I am called to be a voice to the nations. I do not know what it will look like and in the process I do not want to dish your walk. About 8 months ago I went on a different photography assignment. I went back to a TB centre and photographed their truth. My heart with this post is to encourage you. Yes, share it to bring awareness, but of you have a need to bring a voice to something like illiteracy, poor management of public funds,taking care of the poor or whatever stirs your heart, then I want to encourage you to get dressed and do something about it. Let us be the change that we have been called to be. R&L Troue LFP-2-2 tb1LFP_0020


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