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I Had a Little Buddy

Long ago when our kids were little, I had a little buddy named Karimun.  I'm guessing he was about three years younger than Suzanne, but maybe only two years younger.

His mom cleaned house for me, so I'd take Karimun off her hands and put him on my back until he fell asleep.  Let's face it, I'd rather put the baby to sleep than do the ironing! :)  I would take him to the market with me and on other errands and people would even ask if he was my son.

I missed seeing the President of Niger come to town because of Karimun.  He was a bit big to carry on my back by then, but he was dragging and moaning, so I picked him up to hold him.  I realized he was burning up with a fever, so I took him home.....meanwhile the President came and I missed it.

But I didn't realize how very sick he was.  He'd had malaria off and on, so I took him to the clinic with his mom for more treatment.  When I told the nurse that he'd already had several courses of malaria treatment and wasn't getting better, he got a bit testy.  He told me to put him on the scale and the poor kid couldn't even stand up, but the nurse yelled at him for not standing on the scale.  I took him home without getting any treatment and was I ever mad.  Then John took him directly to the head doctor down at the hospital who took one look at him and immediately admitted him to the hospital where he stayed for 10 days.  He was so anemic his blood was pink.  The story of how they got a transfusion is for another day, but it stands out to us as one of the most difficult days we had in Tera, even though we were glad we had the chance to advocate for my little buddy.  They treated him for malaria, worms, and infections and he eventually got well, but the doctor said another 24 hours and he would have died.

Here's a picture of Suzanne with Karimun (in the green shirt) and two of his siblings.  He has a traditional "cast" on his leg because he fell and broke it.

A few years passed by and he was horribly sick again.  John again took him to the nurse (yeah, the mean one) and asked for tests to be run.  The nurse would only order malaria test, so when John took Karimun to the lab to have the work done, he asked the tech if he could test for typhoid, too.  The lab tech did both:  negative for malaria and positive for typhoid.  Needless to say, the nurse really didn't like us after that.  But then he seemed to not like anybody!  John did go and apologize to the head doctor for shaming the nurse and for not coming to the doctor.  But we didn't apologize for asking for the test!

He and his siblings grew up with our kids almost as brothers and sisters.  His older brother was Daniel's best friend and his older sister was Suzanne's best friend.  He was next in line, so he was always at the pesky, stop-following-us-around age.  So, while I have a lot of pictures of Daniel and Suzanne with Karimun's older brother and sister, I don't seem to have many of him because they had probably told him to go get lost. :) 

Karimun at the bottom in the black shirt.  His big brother in the blue shirt was Daniel's friend, and his sister in this picture was Suzanne's friend.  I think that all the kids except the boy in the white shirt are related to him in some way.

Karimun at kids' club.  He's the one with the toy in his mouth.

He came to kids' club and Sunday School faithfully.  We know he knew about Jesus and that he'd heard the Gospel message, but as far as we know he never made a decision to follow Jesus.  

We'd kind of lost track of him as we moved from Tera and he grew up.  About a year ago John was getting gas and somebody yelled his African name.  John turned around, and there was Karimun.  He was riding on a transport truck, helping to load and unload at both ends of the trip.  He wanted to get a license so he could drive a truck.  We did give a bit of money towards the driving school, but I don't know if he ever got his license or not.

Today we got a call from a family friend who told me that Karimun had been killed in a road accident yesterday.  I don't know details yet and I haven't been able to get through to the family.  

Though I'd lost touch with Karimun, I'm sad to have lost my little buddy.  It's tough grieving with those who have no hope.  Or who think they have hope, but we know they don't.