Welcome to today’s post.  Today, I am continuing to share the events of last week in the Red Zone.

In the previous post I shared about the drug dealer.  Today I want to share an event that involved some RZ ladies, Jamie, Michelle and the Red Cross.

At Casa Esperanza we have several regular, occasional and rare attenders.  There are always a few first timers and a number of ladies that only visit once.

This past week we had a one-time visitor that only God knows if we’ll see again. 

The event began about thirty minutes after we had opened.  I had already been to the bakery and brought back the nine baguettes, which Jamie was slicing in preparation for serving.

I was at the door letting in women as they arrived.  I looked out and saw a women standing in the street about five feet off the curb.  She looked to be on the verge of crying, and I could tell she was debating whether to come in our not.

I deal with this all the time.  Some are not sure they will be allowed in.  Some are uncomfortable coming close to an old gringo.  Some debating whether they want to come in, and some are obviously in a spiritual battle.  Casa Esperanza is filled with angels; not to mention the very tall, very large one that always stands behind me.

I opened the door and stepped outside and to the right of the fully open door, giving her the full opening.  She limped through the door as quickly as she could, bursting into tears as she sat done on one of the lounge chairs.

I immediately looked into the kitchen way in the back of the building, making eye contact with Jamie.  She’s seen my look many times and hurried out.  Michelle and one of the RZ ladies also saw my look and rushed over to the lady.

The lady is in the last stage of ovarian cancer.  She had paperwork proving she was terminal.  She was in terrible pain because she had no medicine.

Casa Esperanza is not able to provide this type of assistance.  From time to time women (and occasionally men) will show up at our door in a desperate attempt for any kind of help.

One of the other RZ ladies was on the phone to the Red Cross.  Here in Costa Rica, the Red Cross is the ambulance service.  When they learned we were in the Red Zone, they absolutely refused to come and hung up.

A second call was made, the RZ lady pleaded with the Red Cross and told them that Casa Esperanza was a gringo organization.  She gave the phone to Michelle in hopes that Michelle could convince them.  They said okay but did not come.

A third call was made.  Michelle called and was very insistent.  I stepped over and told Michelle she should tell them that if the lady dies, we would lay her in the street and tell everyone the Red Cross left her there.  I would not call myself a compassionate person, but a terminally ill person should be supplied with pain medication with little or no cost.

This time they promised to come.  One of the other RZ ladies (who also has cancer) gave the lady a pill that she had.  After laying hands on and praying for the lady, Jamie stood out in the street to prevent anyone from parking in front of CE, and to flag down the Red Cross when she saw them coming.

Michelle continue to hold the lady’s hand, praying with and for her; and giving her words of encouragement.

Praise God, the Red Cross came.  The medic was very kind and gentle.  After a quick exam (mainly of the paperwork) they loaded her in the ambulance and headed for the public hospital.

Here in Costa Rica the health care system may be painfully slow and limited for street people, but they do provide a fair level of emergency care. 

We may never see this lady again.  Our hope is that she, at the least, is provided something for her physical pain.

One thing I am sure of, all the ladies, and many people outside, witnessed Jesus in the love and compassion that Jamie and Michelle shared that day.

Ronald L. McDonald


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