My mom passed away in November 2021. We planned to travel to South Africa for the funeral and to help my sister with the inherent responsibilities from the passing of a loved one. We had to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours before arrival. I picked up the results, which showed Deon tested positive for COVID-19.
I entered a pharmacy location using a local phone app, and a tuk-tuk driver picked me up. I was so concerned about Deon that I asked the driver to stop at the nearest pharmacy he could find. I asked the pharmacist for all kinds of medicine—zinc, Ivermectin and vitamin C. He looked and asked me softly, “COVID?” I replied, “Yes, my husband. Not me.” I bought a nebulizer, thermometer and oximeter. Before leaving, I asked the pharmacist if I could phone him if I needed anything else, and he said yes.
I rushed back to the hotel to give Deon the news. He had stayed behind as he had awakened with a sore throat. We decided to stay at the hotel for ten days and test again to fly to South Africa. The next morning, we got a call from a government official saying we should get special permission from the hotel owner to stay at the hotel. When I asked the hotel owner for permission, he refused to let us stay. I spoke with the official again, and he said they would pick Deon up that afternoon. I begged to go with Deon, and after three phone calls, the official agreed. They picked us up by ambulance that evening. We did not know where we were going, but at least we were together.
We were dropped off at a large building thirty minutes later. I started sobbing as we walked up the stairs. There were sick people everywhere—more than a hundred beds in one building. I phoned the government official to please move us to another place. I called other hospitals. We could not leave the facility and had to stay for fourteen days. Deon assured me that we would be ok. We received packets containing mosquito nets, blankets and small cushions. Our neighbor hung our nets for us, and we settled in for the night. I waited for them to switch off the bright lights, but this never happened.
The next day I made friends with a young lady that could speak some English. She called a tuk-tuk driver she knew and ordered us two blankets and towels, plus shampoo and tissues.
The next evening, I made a little tent house and was able to sleep at least three hours. Deon now had terrible symptoms, and I was worried. I checked his temperature every hour. It was between 39.5-39.8 C (103.1-103.6 F) all the time. I managed to get a wet cloth to break his fever. The other patients called the doctor, and he checked on us the following day—the only time that he came. Now I had symptoms, and we were both in a bad state.
Dr. Conrad Vine, AFM president, connected me with a doctor who suggested Deon receive antibodies as soon as possible and sent me a text with the name of the medication. I contacted the pharmacist I had met two days before and, without prepayment, received the medication the following day.
When the tuk-tuk driver went to the security guards and announced that he had medicine to deliver, they refused his entry and sent the prescription back to the pharmacy. The pharmacist then wrapped the medicine in a food bag and sent another driver to make the delivery. We were running out of time. We needed to administer the antibodies within eight days of Deon first showing symptoms. An ICU nurse guided me as I injected Deon with the antibodies. Four injections later, we were all relieved. With one dose left, and because the medication was expensive and could not be stored, the doctor said I should take the remainder. After a second delivery, Deon injected me. The following day was a complete blur, but we did start feeling better on the second day after taking the antibodies.
We watched my mom’s funeral two days after coming to the facility. We sat on our beds and sobbed. It was difficult not being there and fighting for our lives simultaneously.
The facilities left much to be desired. Showering consisted of using a toilet hose. Often the food was not very edible, and we typically only ate one meal a day. Every time we retested, we had to wait three days for the results. The facility finally released us after twenty-one days in quarantine and five rounds of testing.
We rejoice and praise God for His never-failing goodness, love and grace. God not only saved our lives, but He also sent many angels to help us on the way. God had kept my young lady friend here for twenty-two days. Her mom had tested positive, yet my friend tested negative the entire time. God knew that I needed an angel to help me with the language, ordering supplies, and checking on us to see if we were eating and trying to order special meals for us. We remain in contact with her. She has returned to her job as an internal auditor at a Canadian bank and continues checking on us. She promised to visit us in our home as soon as possible, and we know God has a mighty plan for her life.
God also directed us to the pharmacist, who we soon learned volunteers part-time at a library. We have already planned to deliver copies of The Great Controversy and The Desire of Ages to him as soon as we can. Many young people also checked up on us randomly throughout the trial.
By God’s grace, most of our symptoms are now gone, though we still have headaches and chest pain and limit our activity. We count our blessings and are thankful for another opportunity to preach the gospel.
Strangers became angels, and angels became friends. May God send you an angel to minister to you in your time of need!