Going for Ride with Friends

Going for Ride with Friends

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

How Are You Spending Your Christmas

"Merry Christmas," or if you're Cameroonian, "Happy Christmas!"
We hope that all of you reading this blog have and are enjoying your Christmas. Our Christmas is unique for us in that we don't have a Christmas tree, it was cool this morning but reached into the 80s, and our present pile was much less this year. Also, we just got back from a horseback ride up in the hills that re-defined finding horses for us. We have been blessed to spend last night and today with Rick Bardin. Christmas Eve started out early as we walked to chapel at 0620 in the morning. On the way we were to stop at the administration office where we were surprised with traditional costumes to where in the chapel and later in the morning at our going away ceremony. We all matched. After chapel, we went to the OR where I was given a nice shirt with hat. We then went home only to come back to the hospital for our going away ceremony at 0930. Everything is more formal than in the US with speeches, food, and pictures. We still are trying to get ready to go, but I must admit that Rebecca has been doing much of the packing while I'm trying to clean the rooms after she has packed. Last night we ate and then went through the Jesse tree that my parents gave us last year. We sang, roasted marshmellows, and had a long lecture from me to the girls about obedience and getting along. Yes, we have our good and bad moments. This morning after breakfast we opened some delightful gifts from "Santa" Bardins, opened our gifts from ourselves that we chose from a pottery "factory." We then found out that the horses that we were told were available weren't as the owner was in a town 9 hours away. Rebecca doesn't give up easily so we drove down the hill asking where another Fulani man lived that she knew had some horses. Up into the hills and some time later after a hike where we had to motivate the girls, we sat down for our picnic. A Fulani who didn't speak much English drove by on a motorbike. Rebecca tried to communicate our desires. Some time later another Fulani man came down invited us to his compound where we sat for ~1.5 hours while he had young boys go rustle up the horses. We originally had hoped for six, but 4 worked. While waiting Rick and I had rice and tripe. I had to concentrate a little to get it down. When we got back from our ride, the family, of course, wanted us all to have another meal with them. The girls escaped sharing some salty rice, and Rick and I had the rice and tripe again. (Rick had a second bowl (total three bowls if you're counting) as he graciously accepted their aggressive hospitality.) We are now back home 6 hours later resting and getting ready for a dessert at our neighbor missionaries tonight. We are very blessed and know that God is at work bringing His Kingdom near. May God bless you all richly, dasen

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Last Day of "Work" in Cameroon

It is now 1153 pm so I guess I have only 7 minutes to write about my last day in the OR here in Cameroon. I wanted to share some thoughts and photos of today as it marks a transition point where we now turn fully towards leaving. Today started as many other days with Elle sleeping next to me. I had already cuddled with Hannah due to bad dreams about snakes at some point in the early morning. I hasn't rained for a few weeks now and the walk to work is getting dryer as there is less and less dew. Rounds went normally without any terrible morbidities to mull over. The only problem facing us was the 9 scheduled cases with the three added on - below knee amputations. The ENT surgeon, Dr Acha, had three tonsils scheduled after a TURP that one of the past residents who now works at a hospital ~4 hours away scheduled. (Mbingo has some endoscopic urology equipment.) That made for ~15 cases scheduled for three rooms. Unlike in the US, we only have two electrocautery units for three OR theaters. Therefore, cases have to be fit in as we do or don't need cautery. I have become much more comfortable not using cautery for such things as hernias or even hysterectomies. Don't get me wrong, I like cautery. Now, I spent all this time explaining one small issue that really isn't a big issue but daily affects the way surgery gets done. The anesthesia time is great if we get to use a spinal but for general cases the wake-up can be quite extended as we don't have some of the fast acting stuff like Propofol. The schedule got all bogged down as the TURP couldn't take a spinal due to his bad back anatomy and went to general. This was even worse when he was ready to be awoken but was noted to have a very distended abdomen and a perforated bladder. I wasn't involved in any of this but it put that room out of condition with a cautery unit until ~3pm. We managed as we could. During this time, Rebecca was back home hosting the Hamms who a nice SIL family. She was up for some medical care, and they stopped by for a goodbye visit. By the way, they haven't had water at their house for a week so they took a shower at our house. We had planned a dessert party for tonight putting some stress on Rebecca who was also trying to pack and homeschool. I spent some time around lunch with the family waiting for a case to turn over. I had talked to the plumbers about a leak in the bathroom that needed attention. We had noticed a flood but had cleaned it up and turned the water off to that bathroom. I got home as Hadiah was making sure there was evidence of a leak by turning the water back on. To our surprise, water started pouring from the ceiling. The plumbers hadn't come by 130 pm (once again in between cases) so I sat in their office and eventually was given the cell phone number for the manager. I went back to the OR and they finally came to fix the problem. I got home around 430 pm. We really got into full gear getting ready around 6pm as people would be coming around 7pm. Yes, we aren't early planners. The desserts were ready and a lady was coming to help serve. Rebecca pulled it off like she usually dose with a nativity play acted with the children, good food, a little talk by me, singing carols, and finally a dance contest with some residents, me and the chief of staff (ophthalmologist Dr Tambe). I helped drive some of them home. Helped clean some stuff, helped get the kids in bed, talked to Rebecca and walked next door where I sit now with a folding chair on their driveway typing away using their fast WiFi. We are very blessed to have this time here, and we hope that you are blessed this Christmas. dasen

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thanksgiving and What's Next?

So I'm a little late with the Thanksgiving thing. Never-the-less, I still want to share what happened to us for our first Cameroonian Thanksgiving. Wednesday night, Thanksgiving Eve, we were hosting a dinner party with the other Westerners here at Mbingo. In attendance was Dr Rick and Debbie Bardin, Dr Christine Manning, Dr Danny Pike, and of course our family of 7. We had just finished a dinner of ham, scalloped potatoes, fresh salad, corn pudding, green been casserole, dried cranberries, and a vegetable medley, when the intercom phone rang. Dasen answered it, and as I passed to the kitchen to clear the dinner table for dessert, I heard Dasen say,"Is this for real?" Then he hung up and said he had to go, but would be back in 5 minutes. As a surgeon's wife, I had heard this before, but something in his demeanor made me suspicious that this wasn't a routine hospital call. I was disappointed thinking it must be an interpersonal problem with the residents and why couldn't this wait?

About 5 or 10 minutes later, the large wooden back door swung open with force and 2 tall people in dark clothes, sunglasses (at night) and hats, barged into our family and dining room. For a moment, I thought we had burglers. It took me a while to focus and realize that I actually knew these people, and for all the compartmentalizing our brains do in instanteous moments, I realized these people aren't part of my African mindset. What's going on here? There before us stood Rob and Heidi Clippard, our dear friends from Cincinnati. As Hadiah said later, "Mom, I almost cried when I realized it was them." It took me quite a while to get over my shock. I actually think it was the greatest surprise of my life. We exchanged hugs and tried to recount how this all came to be.

Rob and Heidi were on a business trip in Europe in Nov, and added on a trip to see us in Cameroon. The great thing though, is that they didn't tell us. The bad thing for them is that they had no help with transportation. Once they flew into Douala they somehow by God's grace made contact with a stranger who turned out to be a national football (soccer) hero who gave them a ride in town and set them in the right direction. After spending the night in Douala in a shady hotel, they took an overcrowded bus for about 7 or 8 hours north, this was after waiting a couple hours for the bus to fill- in the heat. Then they took a public van filled with 17 people another hour or so, until dark, when they reached our little community. They met security, and had them intercom us. That's when Dasen picked them up and they barged into our Thanksgiving meal.

What a joy!! How great to get to share some of these crazy nuainces of African life with dear friends from childhood. I've actually known Rob, by accident he says, for about 23 years. On the "mission field" kids often call adults in close fellowship "aunt and uncle." So Rob and Heidi inherited 4 nieces in their short time here. Heidi, Rob, Miriam and myself hiked about 4 or 5 hours to a gorgeous waterfall the next day. They helped me get ready for a big trip to the beach we had already planned, and we watched stars that night without all the North American light polution.

The following day we drove off with 10 of us in an SUV for 12 hours, with a broken window, tropical heat, a few snacks, pit stops in the bushes, and some crazy sights- like a couple large pigs tied on the back of a motorcycle, a school class with machetes all out cutting grass, and cockroaches found in the car. It was a great drive across part of Africa though as we were all in high spirits, albeit a bit crammed.

There's much more to stay about our trip, but Dasen already wrote about that. All in all, we had a great visit with friends and we're sure that God was smiling on us all. They are the most unconventional missionaries I've met, and I loved how God sent them here to meet our needs and show us and others His love. God used them to work out some major prayer requests, the largest of which was accompanying my mom home to Cincinnati.

Mom is doing fairly well now after getting over the initial fatigue of 36 hours of intercontinental travel. She is staying with my sister, Laura, until we get home. She went home for several reasons... she's been sick with her irritable bowel and in her memory loss I think she kept drinking water from the tap which led to traveler's diarrhea. Also, we had previously changed her ticket to fly straight home Dec 27th when we leave here. Originally we were all scheduled for a 3 week lay-over in Europe. My mom was not able to walk long distances, had her irritable bowel sypmtoms and hates the cold, so via our travel agent her ticket was changed with the idea that the next step was to get "an accompaniment" add-on. After the ticket was changed, we found there was no"accompaniment" ticket possible, and we knew mom couldn't travel and go through customs by herself. After trying all our options, Rob and Heidi came, and graciously took her home. Thank you Rob and Heidi and Thank you God for working out these crazy details of our lives.

Now we have 2 weeks remaining here. So much to do .... so little time. I love being here. I love serving God here. I love sharing His good news with girls over Christmas carols in the Children's Ward, or with the residents' wives as the Holy Spirit moved in us this past week, or with the nurse screener students before I give a lecture, or with a village woman in the local compound through which I pass. God has given us so many opportunities to plant seeds which belong to Him. We are sure God will continue His work here long after we are gone.

After we dropped Rob, Heidi, and my mom off at the Douala airpot we stayed in a mission rest house in town with a thatched veranda and a pool. It was such a quiet, idyllic place after all the busyness of the past few months. I had a wonderful quiet time with God, looking back on my life, over many years, and seeing how often I had been at difficult crossroads, fearing what would come, and even fearing what others would think. Yet at every unknown turn, He had led me. I am slowly learning how very good and yet how unpredictable He is at working out His plans in our lives. After my time with God, smiling on me, and me learning to trust Him yet again, I celebrated by jumping in the pool with my clothes on, to enjoy the refreshing freedom that comes from being His girl and being free to live by His definitions of what's right.

This next stage of our lives will be a tricky one. Dasen is job hunting and we're waiting to see how we will fare as we leave Africa, spend 3 weeks in England and France, and move back into our house in Middletown, OH, only to move somewhere else at an unknown time and place.

"Taste and see that the Lord is good." This is our ongoing prayer and enjoyment of Him.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I feel the shifting weight of His glory,
His face is the Promise I seek.
I strain in the burden He is lifting,
The dappling of light and grey melting into greens.

Verdant life complete yet crusted.
Absorbing hope never enough.
Running wildly, skipping time,
Madness melting into waste-filled pleasantries.

Catching breath, wielding happiness,
Scents of peace wafting on moonbeams.
Azur, golden, blanched in the heat of shadows,
Incorruption climbing, stealy purposes appear.

Answers proverbily blowing breezily,
A sound of trumpet calls.
Pilgrimage pressing, alienation dividing,
The line is drawn, cold and strong.

Wild hearts beating, worldliness relieving,
Where in the hinterland is the song?
Rhythmic beating, ground vibrating,
Is it a storm or a deep anthem singing long?

So much mystery,
Never forsake me.
Truth is told
And He will last.

Blurring fields, hope flies on a dream,
Forever running, forever renewed.
Dangers darkening, confusion sweltering,
Dare the dilemma to propel one home.

Now the fever rising, sickness stifling,
Health born clear, carried sure.
Halleluiah ringing, adoration panting,
Worship is the way.

Time torn asunder, no longer a blunder.
Peace has found her renegade road.
Righteousness rising, inhaling while dividing,
Coming close to mark an inhospitable way.

Why so narrow, defining yet guiding?
Blooms in season, yet not always.
Dryness exclaiming, Choreographer crying,
"Delight yet, for pulsating wings shall rise."


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Blog Unable to Post Previously

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden…Let your light shine before man, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5: 14,16

An American engineer on an evening exploration became enshrouded in a quickly moving, heavy fog. The Cameroonian mud sucked hungrily on his sandal until it was enveloped and lost. The darkness dressed the greens in grays and eventually blacks. The valley dismissed the Creator’s call to hospitality and her revolving entrance/exit door did not budge. Somewhere beyond the elephant grass and cassava leaves heavy with haze, a small light shone high in the distance. With one foot shod and the other bare, the engineer messily fought the hostile overgrowth, slowly making his way toward the enlarging light. Eventually the wayward ground began to ascend until the valley released her lock and the exit door swung open. The light eventually revealed a home on an escarpment overlooking the grand valley decorated with waterfalls as pearls. The weary engineer passed the house and trekked his way back to his group, thankful to have been shown the way, relieved to have escaped the binding darkness.

The mystery of Christ in His redemptive nature is this light on a hill. This mystery is magnified as the lamp does not measure the amps, or recognize the alteration in varying degrees of light. The mystery becomes marvelous as the bearers of the light recognize that the light has a power source beyond this world, not in oneself. The “on switch” is that of obedience but it is turned and powered by another. What sweet redemption comes from His glow through a life of grace-filled obedience.

That night, as the light of our house shown, most likely we were arguing over whose turn it was to do dishes, and wishing for an escape from the monotony of life within a one mile radius. We were probably struggling with contentment and purpose, even while yearning for the internet to work so we could try to get some work done as the family vied for attention. Yet even so, a weary traveler was guided by the light of our home.

Being where God wants us, when He wants us there has far greater implications then we can imagine. Doing great things for God, traveling the globe as medical evangelists, rescuing the sick and defending the poor are all pleasing and good, worthy endeavors, but it is through the strangely eternal incandescence of intimate obedience and relational love with a personal Divinity that any eternal difference can be made. The changes wrought only have clarity and truth in the midst of our Resurrected Savior breathing and moving through us. Within this entwining of grace from God, and a walk of weak obedience through faith, does the world see that the mystery of Christ has a brilliant radiance that shines through even us.

Where did we go?

We've traveled a bit of Cameroonian roads this past week. We had planned a little of our trip, but the rest just comes with being us and having a God with an interesting input into our lives. Let me share a little now, and I'll return a little later for more of the story. On Wednesday last week, our family and fellow Westerners were between our main Thanksgiving meal and dessert when I received a call on the intercom. The security said that some strangers wanted to talk. A familiar yet strange voice asked whether I could go out for a drink. It was followed up with a warning not to act surprised but to come pick-up Rob and Heidi Clippard who had "dropped" in from Cincinnati. They had managed to arrive on the public transportation after flying from Europe. I went and picked them up having them walk in on the crew without warning. Rebecca took a few moments to figure out who was coming in the door but quickly overcame her surprise and enjoyed the shock. The short version of the rest of the story is that they then went with us to Kribi beach traveling 10 in an un air-conditioner SUV with a window that wouldn't go up. We believe that they were the answer to our prayer about someone accompanying Sarah back to Cincinnati so the tickets were changed and we drove to Douala on Sunday. They left; Elle's fever improved. We stayed at a guest house for two days until they didn't have any room. We drove to Limbe beach for two days where the car wouldn't start, but I perfected the art of popping the clutch. We then drove back to Mbingo with the engine kept on so that I wouldn't have to pop the clutch in an inopportune spot. I only made one mistake stopping the car on a slope near a gas station, but I failed to pop it well. The gas attendants helped push and then it started. Please pray for Sarah and family as I hope that we made the right decision, but it seems that things aren't going perfectly. We hope that things settle out and improve. She did travel well and arrived safely, though. dasen

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"The Anne of Green Gables Effect"

I seem to get myself into such odd situations. Take for example Friday. I spent a full day (9AM to 3:30 pm) home schooling. Then I took the girls and mom to play violin in the children's ward of the hospital. (Among other children there is a 9 year old boy there extremely sick with AIDS.) After playing at the hospital I took off in our untrustworthy SUV to pick up some friends to spend the night. (Some Bible translators who vacationed up the hill from us had a 12 yr old girl named Anna. Hadiah and Anna became friends and so they are spending the weekend together. Anna spent the night here Friday, then Saturday Hadiah spent the night with Anna's family in a village about 2 hrs away. Since we already had 1 girl spending the night, I invited 2 other missionary kids to spend the night. These are other girls, ages 6 and 9, who live about an hour away and have become friends with Hannah and Miriam.)
So I had 10 people in my house for the night- which many might think is enough. In addition, as I left to pick up the girls, I said to Dasen,"I don't know what we'll have for dinner but we'll think of something simple." Well, about an hour after I returned from picking up the girls, an African well-dressed family showed up at our house. This is a family we know and love. The father is a surgical resident and the wife is in a prayer/discipleship group with me. They have 2 children, and speak French mostly (but the dad speaks English.) I didn't realize why they were there until about 10 minutes had passed and we had served them tea. Then I remembered that at discipleship group I had set up times to host all the residents before we leave; in my mind I hadn't confirmed this; but they were right to come b/c I had indeed talked about it.
So, thankfully we hadn't eaten yet. I ran into the kitchen and scrounged in the refrigerator. Dasen had been making French toast and I added to it a fruit salad, dried dates and cucumber slices. As I grappled in the refrigerator, I said to Dasen..."I'm so glad I didn't know about this 2 hours ago because I would have been so stressed, as it is now, I just think it's funny." We sat down to dinner, all 14 of us, and I eyed the girls as if to say "Don't you dare let on that French toast and cucumbers aren't normal American fare for dinner." We ended up having a lovely visit and learned a lot about the Congo, geographically, economically, and personally. They left around 9 pm and as Dasen drove them home, the surgical resident said "I sure wish you would stay here."
When Dasen drove the 1 mile back to our house (it is very difficult to walk on uneven muddy ground on a dark night) he brought 3 short-term Westerners with him. They were on their way to our house anyway as I had invited them for dessert at 7 pm to say goodbye as 2 of them were leaving Cameroon the next morning. We enjoyed home made brownies and story telling until midnight when they left. I was so tired by then. As we collapsed into bed after checking on the 7 girls, Dasen said "It's through these encounters that people feel loved." And I agree, the level of hospitality we've been a part of here in Africa has stretched and enriched me, and I can only pray that in our home the Kingdom of God in the fullness of His love can be realized.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Neurosurgery Visit

Today concludes my two days with a visiting neurosurgeon. He goes by Magnum as his Ethiopian name is a little hard for us westerners to pronounce. I have really enjoyed the time that I've had with him as I must admit that neurosurgery is pretty cool. He finished his 12 years of residencies and fellowships and is now a spinal neurosurgeon. He has been in Nottingham, England for many years but continues to use his month long vacation to serve in Ethiopia and Malawi. He is visiting here a fellow Brit who is volunteering through the British Volunteer service. They were nice to think of us in the two days that he is here. I was able to assist him with a VP shunt and learn that that is not the best way to go anymore. The 3rd Ventriculostomy is replacing it in the treatment of hydrocephalus so we hunted down an arthroscopic scope in a dusty box. Today we sterilized the equipment, and I got to see the inside of the brain.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I find it a blessing that in Cameroon after carrying the violins around we now have performance majors in violin come visit us and help give lessons. Two of the visiting residents played violin through college. I also find it interesting that they both have interacted with Gamelan [sic] music which is an Indonesian type of music. Karen the Caucasian took a class in Gamelan from Smith college when she was in high school, and Emily went to Cornell where they have a Gamelan orchestra. It was neat last week to hear Hadiah, Emily, and Karen (who played on Miriam's little violin) play together.

And More

Yesterday, we all went to Bamenda with the three visiting residents (FP, IM, Ped), one PAACS resident (can you tell which one is he), and the Bardins. We took a picture of the obligatory over packed motorcycle. We got in some craft sight seeing and the mandatory visit to the open air market. As we left the market, Mwenymali and Karen each picked up a bag of live grasshoppers for later feasting. Mwenymali grew up eating them, but Karen, the internal medicine resident from Mt Sinai Hospital, NYC, didn't grow up eating them. Later that night the residents showed up at our house after the cook at the hostel had cooked the grasshoppers for them. (recipe is boil them with a little boulion cube until the water is gone and them use their natural oils to stir-fry them in the pan) They had already had a bunch and said that they were good. (they are pretty good tasting like salty corn chips) The best picture was when we got Rebecca to eat one. It is so sad that the picture is blurry, but you can tell the response. Rebecca actually thought they weren't too bad. Hadiah had one leg that she swallowed whole. THEN Hannah tried to swallow a leg. Now a leg isn't that big nor does it have much taste. Well the large amount of vomit in the sink and then the further vomit in another toilet says a lot about what our mind can do to us. We then all settled down to play Quirkle.

So Starts November

We are now into the third week. As can be guessed, the internet continues to be a hit and miss experience. The internet is working tonight so I've tried to get some work done. Last Sunday was the group baptism service in a baptismal outside of church. Now I admit that my picture is not really spiritual, but I really think that you need to play the game similar to "Where is Waldo." This game is find Miriam. I couldn't see anything down in the recessed baptismal, but I could watch Miriam on the edge of the cement keep turning around to tell the little kid behind her to quit pushing. I am so glad that the older three girls are branching out and going on their own to childrens' church. Last week after church, Miriam and Hannah went to a house of a girl that invited them.

The End of Last Month

I thought that I should finish writing about last month before this months ends. Well, I must admit it, we celebrated that famous of American holidays with my girls visiting the missionaries and short-termers to gather in candy. Rebecca finds it a community building exercise, and so I took the kids around. (Alright, I didn't get the logic either.) I did get some of the kids candy though, so all is well. I think the Westerners are already weird to the locals, and we didn't really get that many second looks. I did like the fact that we didn't have to put on coats under our costumes.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sarah's Birthday

Last Friday, we celebrated Sarah's birthday. Don't tell anyone, but she is now the age of perfection from the Old Testament numerology - "77." We celebrated with pizza, brownies, and presents for supper. We then had the local ex-pat community over for doughnuts (they didn't know about the brownies). We are getting better at making fresh doughnuts. Sarah has also been very blessed with several letters from her Sunday school class celebrating her birthday. Thank you! Today the women just went off to play violins on the ward. Rebecca has been fighting a bad cold, and we all have allergies with colds. The season is changing towards the dry season now so it doesn't rain every day. The girls aren't happy as the change seems to have brought out many praying mantis. They find these large insects quite creepy (except Elle who wants to have one). Hadiah wants to own snakes and lizards. She picked up a chameleon the other day on the way back from a walk. The lizard then bit her. She told us about the story and said that the bite didn't really hurt. The Cameroonians watching her then all told her that she shouldn't pick it up as the lizard bites. I got to play volleyball Thursday as the dry season brings the ability to play "dry" games in the late afternoon. Football (soccer) gets played in rain or dry. We are starting to think about what to do when we come back. The girls have many ideas.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Pen Adventure

A week ago, the surgical team was invited to assist an 8 year old girl. She had chewed the end of a pen, and it went down her throat. The family had taken her to a local physician who "pushed it into the stomach." Later thst night, she started having coughing attacks. Three weeks later, the family brought her to Mbingo. We had a problem. We don't have a rigid bronchoscope, and the chest xray didn't show anything initially but then changed to a collapsed left lung. Dr Acha, the ENT surgeon, asked Dr Bardin, the internal medicine, pathologist, endoscopist, to bronch the kid, but the kid couldn't keep her oxygenation up during the bronchoscopy. What were we to do? After putting our heads together, we planned to proceed in the OR on Saturday morning with another attempt. The child had worsened with her left lung collapsed from being plugged by something. (remember that we don't have an ICU/ventilators/or suction on the wards) God was gracious to teach us some new techniques. I had thought that we could intubate carefully, use the flexible bronch with a wire kidney stone retrieval device first. We would then try the cystoscope (yes, what urologist use to look into the bladder). The child didn't tolerate the intubation-bronch attempts well and wouldn't saturate above 81% (normal >94%). We then extubated and changed the electronic towers (from Olympus to Storz) while we bagged (slang for ventilating with a mask over the nose and mouth with squeeze bag) the child. Once again, the oxygenation improved, and we then moved to rigid cystoscopic bronchoscopy. By the grace of God, we were able to grab the jagged edge of the plastic which had plugged the left bronchus. We win. Thank you for praying for us as these situations happen now and then where the instrumentation and situation don't fit our training.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just Some More Pictures

I realize that these pictures don't mean a whole bunch to you, but they stand for many different experiences in our lives these past few weeks. They represent getting earrings in the hospital by hand and needing "daddy" to replace them later. They represent eating at the Mr Ngam's house where the electricity went off during the meal so the rest of the meal was eaten with light from flashlights (the hospital area has a generator that comes on while the village area does not and we live around the hospital). A traditional Com wedding in the rain is interesting with a blessing and talk first by the pastor then the party begins. Most of the "ceremony" takes place in the kitchen (packed with people, of course) where the MC acts like a comedian makings sure all parties are having fun while moving through the rituals. As you can see, the food is less than sterile, but I found it quite good.

Previous Blog from Rebecca

You know you’re in Africa when:

· You go to the kitchen and are surprised to see a large green insect on the kitchen counter. Standing next to the house helper you exclaim in surprise “Oh, what’s this…” She smilingly says, “Oh, that’s mine, I found it on the way here.” “Is it a snack I ask?” “Yes, for my children” she says as she grabs the live grasshopper by the legs and thrusts it under a small pink bowl.

· Every day you kill close to 25 spiders in your house, thousands of ants march on your patio and small flower bed, and at night hundreds of large flying termites swarm the lights, dropping their wings to leave a proliferate mess for the morning.

· Black and white crows wake you in the morning walking with their talons on the tin roof.

· You can stick just a clipping of a rose bush in the ground and it will grow.

· “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls, all Your waves and breakers have swept over me” (Ps 41) means something to you, both figuratively and literally.

· Most of life happens in a 1 mile radius.

· Grocery shopping involves dodging bone fragments being hatched by the butcher on a cement block in an open air market.

· The personal daily gratitude for Western world resources (like available hot water, butter on toast, good books to read) intermingles with a stark realization of inequality as developing world poverty knocks daily on the door of your heart.

· You try to save the fat and grissle form meat to make homemade dog food but the house help keeps wanting it.

· Family is primarily together, not individually pursuing private interests.

· You smell something offensive and walk into the kitchen to find a shocking assortment of termite wings all of the floor and counters, with a house helper stirring a large pot of boiling termites.