28 December 2013

A Year Already

Christmas was just the other day . . . and New Year's is on Wednesday . . . and somehow it just now hit me that 2013 is T-3 days OVER!  How did that happen??

It was this time last year I said goodbye (again) to my family and so many of 'my people' with whom I had spent six months reconnecting in the US.   I'll be honest, it wasn't easy getting on the plane . . . I had no idea what this year was going to bring . . . it had the brand new potential for such great things and also deep heartache.  Being back home had started to feel a little normal, but so did returning to Niger once I stepped foot on the ground. 

I can't believe it's been twelve months . . . it barely feels like twelve weeks!  Where did it go!

But so much has happened!  Our therapy department went from living in a walk-in-closet to being a proper gym!  I nearly died scaling a treacherous waterfall in the jungles of BurkinaFaso (okay, that may be a slight exaggeration . . . but it felt treacherous . . . and everywhere in the world is a jungle compared to Niger!).  I led an improve training session on burn splinting and positioning for doctors and nurses from across the African continent (they were so hungry to learn!!).  I survived a collision with an exploding donkey (thank God the truck's windows were closed!!  YUCK!) . . . and walked amongst giraffes and hunted elephants (simmer down PETA, I was shooting with my camera!).

And then there were these twelve moments:

Remember that time that my assistant B. discovered that eyeballs come equipped with a cornea?  Yeah, that was a GREAT moment! (Missed that one??  Click [here])

Or when I realized that I wasn't going to be just a bridesmaid, but a groomsman too . . . in the same wedding!  Yeah, that was ridiculous! (Don't remember this story??  Check it out [here] and you can catch a glimpse of the final event [here])

And there was that brief connection with a triumphant typhoid patient who defied the odds as she won her own secret victory over a few meters walk!  That was a beautiful! (Didn't read about her feat?  Visit the page [here])

Not to mention the many amazing Nigerien women who teach me about character, endurance and persistence . . . like [this one], [this one], [this one] and [this one].

Oh, and all those times that I said or did the wrong thing . . . whether it was a cultural mistake or the result of a simple mispronunciation?  (Don't remember laughing hard at my expense?  Now you can, by clicking [here] and [here])

And then there was my Favorite F . . . the four year old who stole my heart as she healed physically and emotionally from a tragic burn injury.  I'm always in awe at the magnitude of the lessons we have to learn from such little people . . . and she has certainly been a remarkable teacher!  (Didn't meet F.?  Now you can, right [here] and [here]


Joyful said...

A busy and fulfilling year! May you continue to see, do and learn great thing sin 2014!

BARB said...

OH, Deb! I admire you so much! For what you are doing. For your commitment to the Lord. For sharing your journey with me (and the world) by your creative journaling and optimistic perspective. And for continuing to live with the unknowns in a land and culture of people in their desperate journey to survive. And much more . . Miss you. Love you. :)

Mike Jo Liv Pax said...

This is perfect. I can be absent for an entire year and get the highlights on a post like this!!! Hahaha. Deb it's been a true joy to continue reading. Your perspective and optimism in such a dark place is inspiring!! Keep going friend. And I wish I was on my way over too!! Seniority. We seriously miss you!!