Heart Beginning's

"My daughter, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways." Proverbs 23:26

"The plan of beginning outside and trying to work inward has always failed and always will fail. God's plan with you is to begin at the seat of all dificulties, the heart, and then from out of the heart will issue the principleso f righteousness; the reformation will be outward as well as inward." EGW

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pastries and Sensory Overload

Date: 4-15-08

Today I realized for the first time to what extent I've forgotten about the civilized culture. Esther, Hans, and I are up here in Ndjamena, waiting for Kevin's plane to land. Last night we went to Anne and Richards because they are up here too and they gave us a gift to go to a pastry restaurant this morning for breakfast. The truck driver picked us up at 9:30 and we bumped along the back roads littered with trash and Arab women selling vegetables. Soon we reached the paved street. Vendor's lined the sides, little girls trying to sell you peanuts, moto's whizzing by you, open sewer, and men sticking watches and cards in front of you. All of these things now so normal to me. Then we opened the door to the pastry shop none of us were prepared for the effect it would have on us.

It was like stepping into a little America. It was clean with air-conditioning, little black tables and chair's, glass show cases with an array of pastries displayed, and more white people all in one place than I've seen combined in the last 8 months. We were seated at a table and a waiter came to take our orders. We had invited the driver Levi to come in with us. For some reason his presence was very reassuring. As the waiter brought us fresh pressed juice on a tray with straws and ice, Esther's eyes started to look on the verge of tears. Finally I understood why the African's stared at us so much. I was having a hard time not staring myself. We sat in silence overwhelmed by absolutely everything. I suppose that I've never really stopped to think about how living in a hut has changed me until I'm in a situation that brings out everything that Africa has changed. Can it really even be put into words? I haven't forgotten what it's like to live at home in the USA, in fact many a day I've daydreamed about it. But why now,when given the opportunity to experience a little bit of those dreams all we wanted to do was leave. Was it sensory overload, or was it the fact that I couldn't stop thinking about how Howaa would react in being in a place like this?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Hallas Fame, Hallas"

Date: 4-1-08

She lay as stiff as a board, toes pointed straight, jaw locked, and stomach muscles tightened. Her eyes blinked with fear as Tetanus took over her little 4 year old body. Her Arab father lifted her from their mat outside and carried her into the pediatric ward where I could start her IV perfusion. As he picked her up not a single limb moved on her body, he could've held her only at her stomach and she would have stayed completely stiff.

Esther and I were giving round the clock medication to her because Dr. Bond didn't trust the nurses to give the correct dosages of the medication he was prescribing. Tonight was my shift on the midnight dose. I pushed the diazepam, Peni. G and gave her an IM injection. "Hallas, Fame, Hallas". I whispered in the darkness of the ward "It's finished, Fame, it's finished". Her whimpers quieted and I patted her rock hard stomach and smoothed her little Arab dress. After 5 days of treatment her feet had started to relax a little bit and this evening her mother had stuck a little pair of Arab shoes on her feet.

The next morning at 6 O'clock I arrived for the next dose but this time armed with just more than medication. Her little brother stood by her bed and a smile broke across his face as I pulled out two balloon's one for him and one for his sister. Soon shouts of gleeful laughter echoed through the ward as he chased the bouncing balloon. Fame held onto her balloon with a little fist that had finally loosened up and looked up at me with wide eyes. Would she ever be able to walk again? Would she ever live a normal life? I suppose that's why I yearn for God to come more than I ever have before.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ketchup Craving

Tonight the Ketchup craving hit the SMs. Esther walked in and sat down next to me, looking at the little bottles of Ketchup that someone had sent Hans. "Those look so good. If I opened a can of hot dogs would you eat them with me?" I looked at her and smiled that's all she needed and she was up to find the recently sent can of Big Franks. Yes, there was rejoicing at the SM house tonight as Esther, Hans, and I sat around of bowl of ketchup and a can of Big Franks.

The funny thing is that this isn't the first time. I wonder if there is some ingredient in Ketchup that we don't get here in Africa. A month ago I came in from work and upon seeing the bottle of Ketchup sitting on the table I just knew I had to have some or else I might go crazy. I searched the house for anything I could have it with. Nothing. That's when it hit me. The chicken coup. I headed out there still in scrubs and with my stethoscope around my neck praying that an egg, just one egg would be there. Nope. Just my luck,just chicken's..and fried chicken wasn't an option. Coming back I almost gave up and then it hit me. Patties. So just for ketchup I made up a whole batch of patties. Mmmmm boy was that ketchup amazing!

Is anybody a little bit warm??

Date: 3-18-08

It was 9:00 at night and I did a double take at the thermometer. Did it really say 95 degrees. Is it possible to find sleep in this temperature?? I looked down at my hands. They were glistening with sweat. Stan and I immediately decided to go wet down our shirts.

I sit in a chair doing consultations across from me an African man has beads of sweat all over his nose. Drip, drip, drip and it's not a runny nose or fever.

I pulled the grass mat out of my hut, put it under the little mango tree, under a full moon, and laid down with my pillow. I had to fall asleep out here it was too hot in there!!! But with a full moon you get one thing and one thing only: a neighborhood party who turned on the lights. For them it's like having electricity all night! And of course my family would have to choose this night to begin pounding rice and having a family meeting.

When you can take off you underclothing and wring them out with sweat..IT'S TOO HOT!!!!