31 March 2011

Thanksgiving . . . A Little Early

Okay, time to be transparent.

Not going to lie . . . while I manage to find a lot of humor in my everyday life and I share many of those funny and interesting moments with you, in the past six weeks since I've arrived here in Galmi there have been just as many (some days it feels like more) discouraging, frustrating, and perplexing incidents that I often keep to myself.

Despite the Mighty M persona, it's hard to stare death and immense suffering in the face . . . and still want to keep going (I had a team of visiting surgeons to dinner last night, and I asked them to share their highest points and lowest point--since that's what everyone at home will hear about--and for the lows they all had the same response: having so many of [our] patients die).  Spending hours splinting and stretching a limb only for it to be amputated . . . it's exhausting.

Everyday life is simply that, exhausting.  

Since arriving, I've tried to make it a personal practice to find ways to say (and really mean) 'THANK YOU, LORD!'  Using 'the giving of thanks' as way to fight against lies, discouragement, and frustration.  Most of the time it works.  Sometimes it requires extra creativity (In fact, I just found someone else's blog post on this yesterday).

So here goes.  

My new life in Galmi: A Thanksgiving Celebration.
  • I am thankful that I have indoor plumbing.  When at home, my patients must draw water from wells and carry bucketfuls at least a mile, if not further, home.
  • I am thankful that I have electricity.  I cannot imagine life without it.
  • I am thankful that I have a house helper who helps bear some of the load of the weekly life-tasks, like mopping the floor and hanging out my laundry.
  • I am thankful that we have a pool on the compound.  No matter how warm the water, it is still cooler than the air and is incredibly refreshing.
  • I am thankful for the skillful doctors I work with.  I learn so much from them on a daily basis and am encouraged by their service.
  • I am thankful for R., the secretary of the West Wing, who greets me with a big smile and hand shake EVERY TIME I see her.
  • I am thankful for the guys in the workshop and housekeeping who enjoy teaching me new phrases in Hausa and who test me on them later to make sure I haven't forgotten them.
  • I am thankful for the Nigerien love of laughter.  We seem to have very similar senses of humor.
  • I am thankful for insomnia several times a week that gives me time to pray or catch up on correspondence that is difficult when the internet is slow during the day.
  • I am thankful for handwritten letters or emails of encouragement that come at just the right time.
  • I am thankful for my team and our mutual enjoyment of community meals.
  • I am thankful for onions.  I don't know why, but I like that it Galmi is famous for it's onions.
  • I am thankful for the scorpion that got me . . . she could have been a cobra.
  • I am thankful for filtered water and a well working refrigerator that brings it down from the temperature of the ground to a nice refreshing coldness.
  • I am thankful for fans.  I can't imagine life without them.
  • I am thankful for a mosquito net that keeps not only the malaria-breeders away, but also all the other creepy-crawlies that I don't want anywhere near me.
  • I am thankful for visiting doctors and support staff . . . even though they leave.
  • I am thankful for my red curtains that make my house feel 'normal'.
  • I am thankful for a new culture that allows me to learn new ways of doing and thinking and teaches me more about Who God is.
Okay . . . maybe that's enough for now.  I think it helped. 

So how about you?  What are you thankful for . . . it doesn't have to be November for us to make a list!


Deborah Berruti said...

Oh, one more . . . I'm thankful for milk powder that makes really yummy yogurt.

Phyllis Wallin said...

Hey Deb,

I'm thankful for your sense of humor and interesting blogs and positive attitude. I'm also thankful that I don't have to live in Niger but can do it vicariously through you!

Galmi Mom said...

Bon courage, Deb. I am really enjoying your posts, since you are writing about things I know and relate to. Kendrick just gave me a book by Ann Voscamp, One thousand Gifts. It is about gratitude, and I am looking forward to reading more of it. Galmi makes one see that life could be infintely harder. looking forward to being there with you in three months. With love, Alicia