27 April 2012

Even Silly Prayers Get Answered

Yesterday, a suitcase arrived on the bush plane.  There was no tag except 'GALMI' . . . and the pilot didn't know who it belonged to.  One of our doctors opened it and said 'It's for Deb.!'

After schlepping it up to my office (thanks to the willing hands of several passers-by), I unzipped it, only to find the case stuffed with priceless treasures!


I know you're thinking rubies, sapphires, and diamonds . . . but you're not thinking priceless enough!  We're talking knee braces, wrist splints, and pediatric Miami-J Collars!  It was an OT-at-the-edge-of-the-world's dream come true!

But you've got to hear the story behind it!

25 April 2012

In My Wildest Dreams

I had two conversations yesterday about dreams.  Two separate people sat in my living room and shared the vivid dream they had each experienced the night before . . . both about Galmi . . . both very spiritual . . . both about hurting people.

The Bible is full of stories about dreams . . . Jacob and his ladder . . . Joseph and multiple anti-fraternal night visions . . . Daniel and his apocalyptic revelations.  I grew up learning these dreams and believing in the power of the God who gave them.

But I also grew up being told by my religious influencers that dreams are no longer used by God to communicate with His people.  That the canon of the Bible is the final revelation of God to man and to believe that His Spirit would speak to an individual through a dream was an extremist position . . . and besides, all those gifts were for a time, which has ended.

And then I came to Galmi.  And the conservative dream theology I had bought into was slowly being picked apart.

22 April 2012

Confessions from a Closet Hypocrite

I was convicted today about my attitude . . . which is really just a prideful way of saying 'about my ugly sinful heart.'

Today I was impatient and snappy with my Nigerien colleagues in the hospital.  I responded in anger when things didn't happen as quickly or efficiently as I had hoped.  My tone and words were anything but kind to my patients' families when they complained about the heat and long wait for dressing changes.

And I blamed them for my irritability.  I said that today I hated this culture.  And I wanted to leave.  And that my desire to throw my hands in the air and quit was their fault.  And I angrily judged my Christian Nigerien friends and hated the men of this culture for their pride and attitudes toward women . . . and . . . and it was all because I'm tired and cranky and hot and . . . .

NO IT WASN'T!

It was because I'm a hypocrite.

19 April 2012

Butterfly Baby

'I want you to do the wound care for a two-day-old baby I just diagnosed with Eaosivaljvlkajsviwjv Bkcvalkjvalwkj.'

'I'm sorry . . . with what??'

'Eaosivaljvlkajsviwjv Bkcvalkjvalwkj' our visiting pediatrician repeated himself.

'Sure, okay, I guess . . . but you're going to have to write that down for me!'

Epidermolysis Bullosa, Dowling-Meara Type.

It's a rare genetic abnormality.  VERY rare, in fact.  And baby's skin is literally blistering and sloughing off wherever he is touched. 

15 April 2012

Mercy Hurts: A Very Deep Lesson

Thanks to short term nurse practitioner and doctor super-moms, we western women that live in Galmi get together on Saturday afternoons to study the book of James, courtesy of BethMoore and her MercyTriumphs study.  It's all about the practical outpouring of our faith . . . answering the question of 'Okay, sure I believe in Jesus . . . now what?'

We examine what justice, mercy, and love look like when applied to our faith, attitudes, speech, and actions.  And yesterday, words were put to what I've been feeling and struggling through:

MERCY HURTS.

10 April 2012

Niger in the News

The BBC is running a photo essay about the food crisis in Niger and other countries in the Sahel Region. Photos courtesy of Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam.

To view, click here.

Lessons From My Giant Shoe

This afternoon I tried to express a bit of a journey I've been processing for the past six months or so.  In my post, I mentioned washing the face of a four-year-old little girl.  She was admitted to our hospital in the wee hours of the morning today, along with her older brother and her uncle.  She and her brother had been sent, along with two cousins, to a small shop to pick up some seasoning their mom needed to cook.  Their uncle waited outside.

According to the story, there were some bottles of gasoline in side the small shop . . . and somehow, there was an explosion.  With the four kiddos inside.

The uncle ran in and was able to pull the siblings out, catching himself on fire in the process.  The two cousins did not survive.

By the time I got back to the hospital after lunch, this little girl I had cared for only hours before had died.

How Much Longer?

For the last little while, my posts have been sporadic and shallow; they recount funny moments or light-hearted events.  But consider that a coping mechanism.  I am trying to remind myself that there is Life in our hospital.

I want to tell everyone I encounter about my friend Little H. and the cute things he does . . . because he is an island of light in the midst of a turbulent storm.  And while the pounding of the waves smoothes the rocks overtime, they first have to holdfast, remain solid, and not crumble.

07 April 2012

Expanding the Repertoire

When I was learning French, I loved learning idioms and expressions.  You know, those cultural phrases that mean something deeper than just the normal definition of the word.  For example, in the US we say 'Stop beating about the bush' . . . no one is actually out beating bushes . . . what we mean is 'hey, quit avoiding the issue and say it already!'

So now that I'm (as informally as possible) learning (or rather 'picking up as I go') Hausa, it's time to begin expanding the repertoire to include colloquialisms.

04 April 2012

A Newer Assistant

This morning when I arrived at work, I was greeting by a very loud
DAY-BOR-RAH!!  GOOD MORNING!  HOW WAS THE SLEEP?  

Nothing quite says 'Happy Birthday' like the love of a three year old.