Hello everyone!! I am sick so I left the hospital early today and I thought I would come and write just a little bit. I hope this finds everyone doing well and feeling well. I began getting nauseated on Friday and it has just progressed since then. This morning, I was leaning over a young girl trying to examine her and I suddenly was just sure I was about to throw up so I quickly ran down to the surgery office where there is a sort of bathroom. I NEVER EVER want to have to use that especially when I am sick - but I was willing. I felt terrible. So I went home and took a nap for a while and went back to work this afternoon. I feel kind of flu like which is strikingly similar to how malaria feels - although a little more dangerous. It’s not that big of a deal though - you ask any missionary kid how many times they got malaria - and they won’t even know - it will be a lot. You just take meds for it but that sort of maddens me because I have been taking this Malarone that I paid way too much for to try to prevent this very thing. I am going to get a blood film done maybe tomorrow if I still feel bad and that will tell me if I have it or not. Pray I don’t - PLEASE! Going to the lab reminds me of when a lot of us (not me…yet) had to go and give blood. See, the way it works here is that when someone needs a blood transfusion which is often, we have to search for it. So we get the patient’s type and then try to find a family member, volunteer, or someone else to donate. Usually it works, but sometimes we have to wait a while. So far, no one has needed my type and I am hoping to get out of here before I have to give blood. The conditions under which you give here are a little scary but most of the volunteers have done it and they are just fine. ah. Michael got some pictures of Shane when he donated which were pretty priceless. I wish I had that - Michael will you send that to me? So anyway, today has been somewhat of a bummer. OH before I forget. The last patient I saw before I couldn’t take it anymore today was super nice. After she walked out, I had 2 translators in my room and they both said, “you know what?” and I asked ‘what’?, then they said, “that lady you just saw was a witch from Gambaga”. So my obvious first question was “How do you know”? One of the guys said, “Well, she goes to the Presbyterian church in Gambaga and I have seen here there.” Um…ok. I am still confused about this one….so if there are any of you out there that have been here and understand more about the whole witch thing around here - I would love some light to be shed on this whole concept. I knew there were witches but maybe their term means something different than ours. Nonetheless, it was a fabulous stopping point, because I was quite dumbfounded at that.
As always, I keep thinking of things to write about but a lot of times I think I have already written it. I think it’s because I am also emailing Shane and I tell him things and that makes me think I have told everyone for some reason. I just can’t remember what I type where. So forgive me for any repetitiveness or any typos. So - here in Nilerigu there are 2 poisonous snakes - the carpet viper and the cobra. I have seen about 4 carpet vipers - 2 dead, 2 alive and they look so decieving. They are small, and dark and I can totally see how people step on them all the time. They are hard to see. Now the cobra on the other hand…NOT hard to see. Last summer, there was a cobra at the schoolhouse that was eventually killed. Well, just the other night - and I just know I have already typed this - Dr. Hewitt was sitting in the schoolhouse and he heard the nightwatchman knocking on the door. So he went out there and together they had to hunt this cobra. The nightwatchman could hear it and saw it move into the chicken cages. It went into this little hole and wouldn’t come out so they tried a few techniques. First, they poked and he didn’t come out - then, they lit a little fire and stuck it in one hole, hoping it would come out there other hole. After a while, he didn’t come out and so they both thought that it was dead. Right when they put the fire out, the cobra comes out with a vengeance I am sure - and it got beat to death. AH! So that’s a little freaky and I am in the schoolhouse right now! At this point though, after walking alone at night around this compound, down paths, on roads, in the allys with all the trash and pigs, etc. …I am really unaffected by a lot of this. I imagine if I saw a snake I would be scared but right now just thinking about it doesn’t do all that much to me. You get very accustomed to things after a while. SUCH AS: #1- not wearing bug spray. I did for a few days and then i quit for a while and now I started up again. It just stays wet because of the humidity so when you walk outside with bug spray on you come back caked in dirt. So during my sabattical from bugspray I was chewed up to the max. I wish I could send a picture of my ankles. It seriously looks like I have some rare skin disease or something - in fact I do and I think some people call it ignorance. ha. So anyway, I swallowed my pride and now am wearing bug spray again. The mosquitos don’t seem all that bad but I guess they are - especially at this time of day! #2 - the language. My translators in the clinic are starting to pay less and less attention to me. I think it’s because I have learned how to ask a lot of questions and some medical terms but I don’t always know what their responses are. One translator in particular makes the patients repeat what they say slowly so that I get a second chance to hear it. It’s good and I teach her some english too. See, Mampruli people call everyone ’she’. They don’t understand that boys are ‘he’ are girls are ’she’. Oh well. There are a lot of differences. Their english seems broken to me which it is, but they are able to communicate with each other so whatever. It’s just funny when I have to use a translator to get from their english to my english. So all this to say, that I have learned quite a bit of the language and have enjoyed it but the down side is that people think I know more than I do. If I ask a question in Mampruli, they may respond to me in Mampruli and start going off about something - well then I will have to go get someone to tell me what they said - which is kinda dumb - I should just always start off with a translator by my side. #3 - I use the water to brush my teeth - not a big development or a big deal either but I just got so tired of going to get filtered water to brush them so I don’t. It never has caused any problem. #4 - I don’t like warm showers anymore. I am sure I will when I get home but for now, it feels great to take a cool shower. #5 - I took the temperature in my office today with the fan on high and it was 97 degrees farenheit and then I though - hmmm I am feeling very comfortable in here. Granted I wasn’t in the sun, but it was shining in the room - so that’s so strange to me. I will freeze in people’s houses when I get back. Shane told me he has left our thermostat at 80 since he has been home - I think that’s so funny - and yes it will probably stay that way until I readjust. We used to argue that it was too hot in the house and now we will argue bc he is readjusted and I won’t be and I will want it warmer. Maybe…maybe not. We’ll see. So those are a few adjustments I have made among many others -but it is so neat to spend such a long time in a culture and really begin to understand some things about the people!
Ok - off subject but I have to write it before I forget. I haven’t even told Shane this so he wil read this for the first time here. I feel like I have a new passion for medical relief mission work. I don’t really know where this all came from but I was praying the other day about what the Lord is trying to teach me long term for my life and this is where I ended up. A few reasons I think this: 1 - I have been here for 5 weeks now. Shane and I miss each other but we are managing well enough. Although it isn’t fun to be apart, the Lord has taken care of us and is teaching us a lot. 2 - Shane and I have some wierd ability to be flexible in situations. Certainly Shane was out of his comfort zone while he was here but he did so well and one day he even really wanted to see a C-section which was great!!! 3 - Relief missions are shorter term and spur of the moment - less planning - probably more chaos but at least you don’t spend a year preparing for it. 4 - I have a new passion for it and 5 - I am not as passionate about living some place for the rest of my working years away from my friends and family and I thought I was. It took coming here to see that and I will never close that door unless the Lord does first - but I have these feelings for a reason so I am listening to them.
Oh - something funny to end with. I am starting to be able to understand when the people are making fun of me! I love it because they think it’s so funny when I try to talk Mampruli and mess it up! I said good morning the other day to a man when it was clearly after 12 (it was about 12:30) DUH! That’s good afternoon. So I heard him talking about me after I walked by to some other people and so I turned around with a huge smile on my face and walked right up to him and said, “I’m sorry, I meant Good morning” and he just had no expression on his face for a second because he thought I was offended at being made fun of but then we all laughed together! Some of them have learned my name and know that I am trying to learn - and for the most part people are very open to teaching me and being patient with me. I just thought it was funny that I actually knew he was making fun of me!
I want to tell you about the market too but I think I will save that for another day. I have to go now. It’s Dr. Faile’s birthday and I don’t want to be late for dinner. Bad guest manners. :)
I love you all and wish you the best. Quickly, something I read on Sunday that I liked was:
“For judgement will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy, mercy triumphs over judgement.” James 2:1
I really liked that because it encouraged me to love on these people until the very last day here - it gave me a little needed strength. I LOVE YOU ALL!
Oh - I almost forgot - haha this is the neverending blog. The title is “a new friend” because I have made friends with the Faile’s monkey. I have been able to go out in the yard with her and feed her almost every day. She pulls me arm down and looks for scabs on my skin bc she likes to groom and she eats the scabs. Gross. But you pick through her hair and clean her off and she does the same to you. It’s pretty cute. They call her monkey. I love it!
Ok that’s all - I’m sorry!