Burned, but not Abandoned: Busi’s Story
For the past 15 years, longtime CMMB volunteers, the Hartmann’s have dedicated so much of their lives to bringing hope and dignity to the people of Swaziland through home-based healthcare.
Together with a team from the Good Shepherd Mission Hospital, they administer medications, treatments, and huge doses of human kindness and compassion to those too often forgotten. They also dedicate a lot of time advocating for those whose voices are so often unheard.
Here, Kathleen Hartmann shares the story of a woman who is making a brave recovery from a tragic accident.
Busi is a 48-year-old woman who lives in a very remote and poor area of Swaziland. She works hard and raises a few chickens to provide a small income for herself.
A few weeks ago, while working, her Lihiya – known in the U.S. as lye – caught on fire and she sustained 2nd-degree burns over the backs of her legs and buttocks. At first, she was brought to the hospital, but due to lack of resources for treatment, she was sent home to do the best she could to clean and dress the wounds herself.
Upon hearing about the situation a few days later, the Home Based Care team set out to visit her. When we arrived, her wounds were blackened and showed evidence of a traditional medicinal treatment common in Southern Africa known as muti. The team spent more than 2 hours cleaning the area, and counseling both Busi and her caregiver on the dangers of using this local remedy. Because muti is the only remedy available to many people living in Southern Africa, it is imperative that the Home Based Care team comes equipped with the more advanced treatments.
In this case, we were able to clean and dress her severe burns because of a donation of hi-tech dressings provided by Mölnlycke Health Care, a Swedish medical device company. In January we brought these dressings with us on our flight to Swaziland, and they have been indispensable in our healing mission ever since. Since our initial treatment, we have visited Busi every 3 to 4 days to maintain pain control with morphine, ensure proper nutrition, and keep her wounds from getting infected by carefully irrigating and changing the dressings.