The days do blur together just a bit. It feels like we have already been here for so long and only a week has passed! What a full week. I am enjoying this quick chance to blog and get some thoughts typed out during nap time. This post might ramble on, I’m afraid. Each day has held some new adventures, but despite the newness, we are feeling right at home here on the compound.
The kids run around with more and more courage and have figured out the routines like: shoes come off at the door, hands are washed before we eat, and we walk AROUND the big piles of dried leaves and ashes (Black Mambas and King Cobras are a danger here and like to hide in the piles of leaves). Leaf burning is for snake control as well as standard ground maintenance.
On the subject of snakes, I was walking to the hospital by myself one of our first days here. I had just had a tour and been warned about the ongoing battle to hunt out and kill this cobra who lived between the Perry’s house and the hospital. I don’t have a skirt with a pocket so I just had my cell phone tucked into my waistband. It slipped out without me realizing it and dropped to the ground behind me onto a few leaves. I wish I could have seen how high I jumped! I didn’t scream, to my credit, but I was pretty sure it was that cobra right behind me!
Wednesday was crazy and I want to get more details from Elizabeth and blog about that separately. Power outage, no water, the looming possibility of having to med evac the hospital and emergently flying in an engineer to fix the solar generator only begins to cover it.
Thursday was Olivia Perry’s 11th birthday. We had a grand celebration that started out with a stroller walk (wearing Caleb on my back and pushing Aubrey) with the younger four Perrys as our guides. We walked out of the compound for the first time and our walk turned into a flower picking extravaganza and then bouquet arranging fun.
After lunch, all squished together on one couch at our house, we had a viewing of the newest Cinderella movie, while my kids napped. Oh and we ate homemade doughnuts (the best I have ever eaten. I think I will dream about those doughnuts!) that Olivia had requested instead of cake.
That evening after supper we had an epic story time on their trampoline while the men attached their Christmas present basketball hoop to their roof. Around 8pm, Katharine (a long term missionary nurse here from New Zealand) came to ask if I would be willing to donate blood. When we had first arrived, Jeff and the nurses were excited to hear I had O negative blood (along with one other person here) and had planned on me donating at some point towards the end of our stay. Jeff said, “God sent us two short termers with O neg blood; I’m expecting to need it.” What a great feeling to be so useful!
That night a woman five days out from a home delivery came in very pale and weak with a hgb of 2.9 (if the reading was even accurate with such a low blood volume). Her blood type was A neg. So TJ put the kids to bed that night and I walked with Elizabeth to the hospital to have my type and cross done. Then I donated blood just like I would in America…only on a hot African night with a single light bulb lighting a small concrete room with a fan to cool us off. Then Innocent (the lab tech) carried my blood off and they immediately began infusing it into a dying woman with her five day old infant in her arms.
Elizabeth and I talked without interruption, sitting in that little room, about marriage, parenting and serving God. She shared with me the painful journey they had just two years ago when Jeff lost his vision in one eye (after many corrective surgeries) and they almost lost their then 4 year old daughter Winnie to a rare form of Typhoid. My eyes filled with tears as she told me about the morning when Winnie turned the corner and the meds finally began helping, and as she was holding her little girl she heard the death wail at the hospital of a mother whose child had not recovered. She told me she wondered, why did God spare mine? And what else does the Lord have for me in this sanctification process? These are big thoughts for this mommy’s heart. Death and disease are so real here. And missionaries are not promised to be an exception. I am so thankful for the hard conversations. I am thankful I serve a God who did not spare His own son. It was a beautiful day.