Day 18 - a life full of color
Evangelism: How do you do that when you can't speak the same language? I mean there are the times when we are giving small health care teachings in the clinic where we also share testimonies and pray over the women... but what about the women who are not at the clinic? How can we share the gospel when we are outside of the clinic and without a translator? Well you do the only thing you can do... you ask God for some crazy idea and you go for it!
While praying for the children during intercession nearly a week ago God gave me the idea to go back into the village I had already visited a few times, but instead of going with nothing, going with paper and crayons. What a grand idea God! There are many kids in the village. We had been told by Martha (a teacher that is also my roommate) that the children do not often have the chance to be very creative, even in school they learn only to copy what the teacher is doing. So the next day I teamed up with a few other girls and we set out for the village again. The village is just across the street, but it is rather large so I tend to go to a small area that has pretty much become my favorite stop since I have been able to build a relationship with a few of them. So this area is where we went, I also took a little translator book with us.
-I'm sorry there are not many pictures of everything going on here. Many people here believe that when we take a picture of them that we are also taking their spirits to unknown places. Even if they don't believe that, it temps some to steal and others to look at us only for money.-
It was great! We went over the hill and into the village and were welcomed right away! They brought out their sitting mats and we all sat down with them. Often time the kids are shy but they didn't hid behind their mothers too long once they saw all the colors we had, and we were holding out the colors for them. Their faces lite up and they all came and sat down and started coloring right alongside us. In the meantime I pulled out our translation book to see if I could get a bit of a conversation going, I showed them how the book took English words and told us the meaning in Swahili, and vise-versa. They thought it was amazing! I ended up with a crowd around me looking at the book. They would point at a word and tell me how to pronounce it in Swahili and then I would teach them how to say it in English. We didn't always pronounce things right, but we had fun. When it came time for us to go back to base we were able to tell them that we were going home but we would one day return... in Swahili!
Day 19 - Back with more than a book
We have been working on what we call "community profiling". We talk to as many women who are pregnant or have children as we can in order to find out what the needs of the community are and how we can better meet them. The only challenge we have is the language. We have a few friends from base that help us when they are free. So the very next day I went with another little group back to the village... but this time with someone who could translate more than the book could. We got to sit back down with the women and kids, but this time the focus was on the moms. We got to talk and laugh with them about all kinds of things! It was a true blessing and I can't wait to go back again.
Day 20 - Church without the building.
What are some of the first things that come to your mind when you think of church? Big building? Dressing up? Sitting in pews? Listening to the same man every week? But when God says he loves the church... does he mean a building? Clothes? Pews? One man? No! He thinks of all of his people... together! As one body. Everyone who knows God has a part of God to share. So rather than going to a church, we learned how to "make" a church right where we were. We got into small groups of five and we all offered to bring things like, Praise, prayer, word of God, communion, and "one another’s" (a way to encourage or listen to each other) and we were to simply let the Holy spirit lead it. We Praised God by coloring pictures of things we were thankful for, we prayed out simple prayers of thanks, we took turns reading a small passage out of Matthew and sharing what we learned from it, we ate almost a full meal for communion and wrote out things we liked about each other. It was more than likely one of the best services I had ever been to. We all took part in it and it was so simple that anyone could do it... even the people in the village!
Day 23 - Seeing for myself
Answer to my prayers! I had been falling behind on getting the required amount of community profiles done due to not being able to speak the language. But on this day I was given a translator all to my own as well as two others who could help me write out the answers (as we ask a list of questions). In one morning I was able to completely catch up by interviewing five women. One just next door, two on the other side of the market and two who ran a soda and chips (French-fries) shop. It's so nice to just sit and talk with the locals here. None the less it's hard to listen to the injustice their sometimes given and the hardships they have no way out of. The first lady I talked with had had four children... but only two living. Her 10 year old daughter had passed away just five months before due to a hole in her heart. She had been sick since the age of 2 and was in a long line to receive surgery, just as she was coming close to a date of operation, she passed away. The mom had a video of her on her phone, she was one of the most beautiful little girls I had ever seen, and in the video all she did was smile. It was impossible not to think of my own nieces and what I would have done had that been them. The other child she lost was due simply to a stressful labor. In the womb the child became distressed and ingested its own meconium and passed away just before being delivered. We could see the tears in her eyes as she told us about them, but not a tear fell. The women here have to be strong and accept that it is just life.
I realized that many of us can know the problems in the world; the difference in doing something is knowing the people.
Day 25 - A hard dream
Ah the clinic again! The clinic we are working in -until we get our working visa and go into the hospital- is rather small and there is rarely a woman in labor when we go there. Sometimes there is very little we can do. But we do small teachings when we can get a translator and take turns working in the different rooms. Back when I was only thinking about doing this school I knew would have hard days, but none the less I told myself I would be thankful because I was living my dream!
This day put that thinking to a little test. I was fumbling all over feeling like I was getting everything wrong, not by much, but none the less I was wrong. I know I'm just a student with a small bit of training trying to do what these women have been doing for years, as they watch me. The day was hot and I was sweating far more then I cared to. Information was slipping from my mind and I felt a bit lost wherever I was. I finally went into the injection room where I could simply watch and learn as needles were slipped into veins and muscles. I enjoy watching them do their job as watching one patient after another come in for something. After a half an hour I felt ringing in my ears and a heaviness come over me as the room started to spin. I knew I should not stay in there as I remembered one of the students describing this feeling just before fainting... the day before. So I left and sat in the empty labor room and drank a good amount of water. It was only a minuet before I was back on my feet watching injections. It wasn't much longer before we had to leave. Walking away from the clinic after a hard day... I was still thankful. I know I'm still learning and there will be many mistakes I'm sure, but in the midst I get to be guided by those with much more knowledge, and hopefully a good amount of patience.
I initially started this blog while working overseas to keep my supporters updated, then I did it a time as a required assignment during my midwifery school, but now I write but because I want to. So now I share my current journeys, in hopes that others can learn from them, or at the least have a good laugh.