In returning to Burkina, Linda and I took care of some business in Ouagadougou and then headed down to our new little village of Kimini. Just before leaving the paved road for the last leg of our trip, we stopped in Niangoloko to talk with the social worker that we have been working with there.
We had a list of the children from that region that we are trying to help and one by one we went through the list to see how they were doing in school, whether paperwork had moved forward, etc.
But when we reached little Fanta, the social worker stopped and quietly said 'Fanta died'. I thought that I had not understood what he has said and asked him to repeat it and then we learned this sad story.
Fanta was handicapped, probably from polio when she was very young. There were three handicapped children in the family and the mother took the children to school in the morning but because she had no means of transportation, she left them there during the lunch/recess time and then went back to pick them up at 5 PM in the evening.
One day last month some of Fanta's friends had carried her out under a tree where there was shade while they waited for class to resume at 3:00. While out under the tree some of the children started throwing rocks at a bee hive way up in the tree. The hive fell to the ground and the angry bees swarmed out of the hive and started attacking and stinging the children. To get away from the bees, the children all ran away. Fanta could not run away. Her legs do not work.
Things do not move very quickly here but within a few hours, Fanta's mother was found, someone with a car was found, and she was taken to a hospital about 2 hours away.
Fanta died that same evening having never recovered consciousness.
Sometimes the harshness of life here is overwhelming. So many times I find myself second guessing whether we have done all that we could to help a child. This was one of those times.