Living in a Hospital for 3 Years

 Written and Photography by: Whitney Runyon

Written and Photography by: Whitney Runyon

The other day I went to the hospital to visit an 11 year old boy. It wasn’t a normal visit, I was there to photograph him so that a local orphan and vulnerable family organization, Mwana Villages, could advocate for his life. 

You see, Dieuveille’s parents passed away when he was 2 years old. From ages 2-4 Dieuveille was raised by his sisters, however, circumstances led him into an abusive caregiver’s custody and he found himself scared and wounded. At the age of 8 Dieuville took matters into his own hands, sneaked onto a train and tried to escape back to his sisters and grandmother. 

Dieuveille fell asleep on the train and fell off. 

His legs were run over and he was rushed to a local hospital. The doctors operated on him because he was a boy, otherwise, without payment up front he probably would have died. Dieuveille was 8 years old when this happened. Today Dieuveille is 11 and still lives in the same hospital room where the doctor’s took his legs. 

No one came for Dieuveille. No one could pay his hospital bills. The family received news of where he was and what had happened but through heartache, poverty and dire circumstances of their own, they stayed away. 

You see, in developing countries like Congo, hospitals charge you up front for any need. Dieuveille’s family wanted to visit, they wanted to take him home, but because of the hospital bills and their poverty, they were too afraid.

So a double orphan was abandoned again by extended family due to the lack of health care.

Life should not be like this for anyone. 

Dieuveille is kind and gentle. He rarely smiled, but when he did it touched my heart. Everyone in the hospital knew him and spoke as we passed by. We loaded up to hopefully find his grandma for a visit but upon arriving to her house we were informed that she was at the market. I asked if Dieuveille was sad about not seeing his grandmother and his response was that he was happy just to get to go on a car ride. 

If you are reading this and you have a heart for the medical world and orphan care I want to encourage and challenge you today to ask yourself how you can use your talents to help reduce the orphan crisis through health care.